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MotoGP Austin: Salac shines in Moto3 Friday showing

Filip Salac completed Friday at the top of the Austin times setting a 2’17.280 in the dying seconds of Moto3’s dry afternoon practice.

The CarXpert Pruestal GP rider held off morning victor Niccolò Antonelli and Misano winner Dennis Foggia in the combined standings after the usual late shuffle.

A wet and foggy Circuit of the Americas greeted the Moto3 class as Friday action began in Austin. The Rivacold Snipers team commenced the weekend by announcing that Andrea Migno will remain with the Italian outfit for 2022, to be joined by fellow VR46 Academy rider Alberto Surra, his current garage mate due to the late-season replacement.


Sergio Garcia headed the early times as the sodden session got underway, the tentative 2’40.404 was quickly bettered as Jaume Masia, Pedro Acosta and Tatsuki Suzuki entered the top three - each almost a second clear of the other.

The KTM headliners remained at the top of the standings as the session bedded in, Acosta taking over with a 2’34.486, Garcia and Suzuki swapping places in the top four at the halfway stage. Salac sat fifth from Romano Fenati before the Silverstone winner rose to third, just three-tenths adrift.

Improving conditions, and confidence, saw the times pick up in the second half with Migno and Surra circulating together in seventh and eighth, Darryn Binder and Kaito Toba completing the top 10 as Salac and Fenati advancing the overall times. The PruestelGP man sitting pretty thanks to a 2’32.990.

The closing 10 minutes saw a turn six crash for Masia while the Snipers duo continued their climb. Migno and Surra finding third and fourth initially before the youngster bettered his more experienced partner for second next time around, on the bubble of a 2’33 lap.

Despite his first touch of the American layout, the rookie seemed to be fully on a role as he continued to impress, claiming the top with a 2’32.871 on his 13th lap of the 5.5km circuit to head Salac, Migno, Suzuki, Antonelli and Fenati with three minutes left on the clock.

The penultimate minute brought improvements from Garcia and Binder, back into the top 10 in seventh and eighth respectively with Izan Guevara and Ricardo Rossi rounding out behind. A late push boosted Garcia to fifth at the flag with Antonelli taking charge overall. Ryusei Yamanaka and Carlos Tatay concluded their morning’s work with crashes at turn nine, Acosta doing likewise at turn 14 moments later before Garcia suffered a big highside at turn 10.

The afternoon saw the GasGas rider suffering from bruised ribs but declared fit to continue, as he made his way out on the now dry track. Migno took the holeshot as the initial laps registered, John McPhee settling in second, after a subdued morning at the back of the field. The pair were back at the top next time around, Binder bettering his Petronas teammate for second as Stefano Nepa claimed third before Salac, Foggia and Fenati joined the fight at the top. Xavi Artigas became the first to set a 2’18 time, the Leopard rider trailed by garage-mate Foggia with Fenati dropped to third as Masia and Suzuki rounded out the top five.

The championship leader entered the fray after 10 minutes of action, McPhee immediately bettering as Toba crashed out at the end of the back straight. Artigas continued shine as he defended challenges from Foggia and Fenati, the rookie’s teammate taking charge with a 2’18.433 before Acosta advanced on them all.

Two-tenths covered first to third at the halfway stage as Antonelli and Fenati hit the top. Binder and Salac circulating on the edge of the promotion zone with 2’19.6 the current gateway to Q2.


KTM Tech3’s Deniz Öncü and Ayumu Sasaki ran sixth and seventh with 15 minutes to go. The pack working on race set up as the afternoon wound down and they made the most of the dry conditions.

Foggia was back in charge as the final 10 minutes approached, a 2’17.844 sitting him four-tenths clear ahead of the usual climactic shootout. The Italian improving again next time around, as third-placed Migno was caught out at turn 12.

Leopard locked out the standings as the clock counted down and Artigas claimed second, Acosta circulating three-tenths off the pair as he was joined by teammate Masia, in third and fourth. The latter’s pace was only improving as Masia moved to second but it was Antonelli on the charge as the Italian struck with a 2’17.366.

A phenomenal save saw Artigas down before bouncing back up to continue his run from turn 11. Suzuki receiving no such luck, as he completed the fall. Salac found the flag from the top with a 2’17.280 from Antonelli and Foggia with Masia, Artigas and Migno completing the fastest six. McPhee secured his provisional place in Saturday’s Q2 session from 10th overall, behind Acosta, Fenati and Öncü with Binder out of contention, in 16th.

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