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MotoGP Austin: Beaubier hits Moto2 top three, Aldeguer fastest on Friday

MB Conveyors’ Fermín Aldeguer continued his strong season with the fastest Moto2 lap at COTA on Friday.

Elf Marc VDS’ Tony Arbolino and home hero Cameron Beaubier completed the top three with Shimoko Aspar’s Jake Dixon just 0.007s adrift as the opening action came to a close.

The intermedia class was first out on track as Friday’s MotoGP schedule got the green light at Circuit of the Americas. A trio of home talent delighting the fans as Sean Dylan Kelly made his world championship debut on US soil alongside American Racing teammate Beaubier and Italtrans’ Joe Roberts.


Barry Baltus started his FP1 in the gravel as Marc VDS’ Sam Lowes then Tony Arbolino took turns at the top of the initial standings. The Red Bull KTM Ajo duo Pedro Acosta and Augusto Fernandez joining the fight second time around with the Flexbox Pons pair Aron Canet and Jorge Navarro doing likewise on lap three.

Arbolino continued to advance the pace as the session bedded in, 2’12.510 the target after ten minutes on track with Marcel Schrotter sitting second on the Liqui Molly Intact GP. Beaubier split the Ajo riders from fourth as looked to prove last season’s top five was far from a one off, with Jake Dixon narrowly adrift in sixth.

Current and former Marc VDS riders Arbolino and Fernandez continued to bicker at the top as the session played out. Acosta consolidating fourth, just half a second adrift as Canet and Navarro dropped Beaubier to seventh. Dixon improved his time to retain his hold on the top eight, one second off the current benchmark with Lowes circulating in 12th at the halfway stage, before the younger Brit lost the front and slid his GasGas Aspar out at the final sector.

Beaubier was back out front as he challenged for position, Fernandez advancing the pace by almost a second thanks to a 2’11.048, with Schrotter, Arbolino Canet and the American answering yet again as the top five remained within six-tenths of each other despite the vast 5.5km layout.

Albert Arenas arrived seventh on the second Aspar as the second half counted down. Bo Bendsneyder, Ai Ogura and Lowes rounding out the top ten with Acosta and Mandalika winner Somkiat Chantra just adrift. Dixon sat in 14th as Roberts rose to eighth and the track fell quiet ahead of the final runs.

Lowes continued to climb as the final ten minutes approached, finding seventh with his tenth lap of the Texas track. The Brit setting multiple personal bests as he fine-tuned his lap with consistent high 2’11 pace.

Fernandez broke the 2’11 barrier with five minutes to go. 2’10.489 the time to beat with Arbolino matching almost instantly, just 0.08s back. Ogura struck for third on the Honda Team Asia until Beaubier bettered the pair with a 2’10.525. Fernandez was on his way to another fastest lap before turn 16 put paid to the red sector effort with two minutes left on the clock.

As the chequered flag dropped Ogura swept through to take the session with a 2’10.407 from Fernandez and Beaubier. Arbolino heading Canet and Lowes as best of the rest with Chantra, Navarro, Dixon and Schrotter competing the top ten.

The afternoon practice began with a crash for Gabriel Rodrigo and a lockout at the top for Marc VDS. Arbolino maintained his dominance with a 2’09.867 as the session upped its ante and the standings shuffled with Ogura, Canet and the KTM’s of Acosta and Fernandez joining the fight.


Kelly was the next to suffer, with a turn 11 highside after ten minutes on track, Celestino Vietti sliding out at turn five next time around as the Mooney VR46 rider found the Texas track a challenge from 17th.

Dixon was back on form at the midway stage, claiming second with a 2’10.163 before Canet shot to the front and Aldeguer arrived in fifth. The Speed Up rider celebrated his recent 17th birthday by continuing his climb as he bettered Dixon for third - rumours circulating that MotoGP offers are already on the table after his impressive start to the season.

The halfway point found a lull of activity as the pack returned to pitlane. Dixon one of the only riders remaining on track as he fine-tuned his pace, a 2’09.771 the result to take the lead overall. Californian Beaubier doing likewise for seventh just four-tenths back.

The final ten minutes found Canet on a charge as he pushed his Pons machine to a 2’09.4 before Fernandez bettered by a mere 0.004s. Arbolino looked to be returning fire but his red sector effort faded in the final sector and Marcos Ramirez crashed out.


Lowes sat in the danger zone as the session neared its conclusion, circulating 12th with just Roberts and Simone Corsi between him and the edge of promotion and three minutes left on the clock. The American saving a rodeo moment over the brow of turn one as Arenas dropped him closer to the edge.

Arbolino returned to the lead over Aldeguer, Fernandez and a rapidly improving Beaubier in the final minute. Lowes improving his pace as he consolidated 12th as the Speed Up youngster took charge overall. The American claiming his place in the top three on home soil ahead of Dixon, Canet and the KTM duo.

Ogura, Navarro and Arenas completed the top ten while a late move from Roberts kept his provisional promotion hopes alive. Chantra, Lowes and Schrotter completed the top 14 from a disappointed Vietti.

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