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MotoGP Assen: Fernandez tops Moto2 FP3 as Dixon faces Q1

Red Bull KTM’s Raul Fernandez took charge of Moto2’s final Dutch GP practice from the opening minutes, dominating the session throughout, with a 1’36.511 lap.

A late charge from Marco Bezzecchi gifted the Sky rider second, with Jorge Navarro, Somkiat Chantra and Sam Lowes completing the top-five. Jake Dixon dropping out of contention in the closing stages of FP3 to finish 17th.

Final practice kicked off with a rapid pace as Fernandez led the way on his third lap, just one-tenth down on his best from Friday, Lowes already improving on his overall time by advancing to third overall, and second in the session, with just five minutes gone. Dixon joined his fellow Brit for third on his next lap with Fabio Di Giannantonio and Augusto Fernandez completing the top-five.


An inter-team battle began as Fernandez demoted Lowes for second, the 30-year-old hitting back with his seventh attempt to regain the advantage as Xavi Vierge rose to fourth, Di Giannantonio splitting the Petronas pair as Dixon dropped to sixth. Lorenzo Dalla Porta joined the fight, in fourth next time around, as the Gresini rider improved again, with home talent Bo Bendsneyder, Nicolò Bulega and Marcel Schrotter rounding out the top-10.

Mid-session action found Fernandez on the ground after sliding his KTM out of turn three, his teammate having endured a slow start to Saturday as he circulated in 20th before improving to 11th at the halfway stage - the time later being deleted due to track limits. Regrouping, the Australian struck again, this time finding eighth as he bettered his Friday times but once again the time was removed, Bezzecchi facing a similar fate from 18th.

The majority of the pack sat in the pits with 15-minutes left of the final practice, Navarro running alone as he moved into second, just three-tenths off the rapid rookie at the front.

The session resumed in earnest for the final 10-minutes with Gardner improving into the top-10. Tom Luthi initially sitting on the cutoff point to Q2 promotion with a 1’37. 269 before the times began to tumble.

Gardner had finally found his rhythm as he advanced to third, Ai Ogura following suit for fourth as Bezzecchi arrived to seventh with five-minutes to go. Dixon improved his time but found himself precariously close to the drop-zone as the session neared its conclusion, Lowes bettering again as he returned to the top-three.

Bezzecchi was flying as he made his way to second in the penultimate minutes, Celestino Vietti trailing his Sky VR46 colleague to collect his first direct promotion in eighth, as Vierge crashed out, of Q2 and the session, at turn seven moments later. A further crash saw Albert Arenas out at turn eight as the flag prepared to fly with Chantra securing fourth with a late-session charge.

Fernandez maintained his grip on the standings as he headed the session with a 1’36.511 from Bezzecchi, Navarro and Chantra. Lowes sat fifth ahead of title-rival Gardner with Ogura, Marc VDS teammate Fernandez, Vietti and Tony Arbolino completing the top-10. Di Giannantonio, Dalla Porta, Schrotter and Luthi claimed the final Q2 spots with Bendsneyder, Vierge and Dixon the first to face the Q1 battle.

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