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MotoGP Catalunya: Arbolino tops Moto3 FP3 as McPhee faces Q1

Tony Arbolino came back from Friday’s monster crash in fine style to set the fastest time of the Moto3 weekend so far during this morning’s final Catalunya free practice ahead of Misano winner Romano Fenati and FP1 star Raul Fernandez.

Britain's John McPhee maintained his weekend pace but struggled to improve, finishing 19th in the combined standings and failing to secure automatic qualification into Q2.

A very cold Barcelona circuit greeted the riders as air temperatures hovered around 12C for the final practice ahead of Catalan qualifying. Alonso Lopez and Davide Pizzoli the first casualties at left-hander turn two in the opening minutes with Sergio Garcia falling at turn five moments later.


Showing no ill-effects from yesterday’s spill, Arbolino grabbed an early session lead, although times remained a second down on Fernandez’ FP1 best, with Gabriel Rodrigo, Stefano Nepa, McPhee and Fenati staking their claim on the top-five.

The halfway point saw Kaito Toba advance to the top-three before Fernandez reaffirmed his position at the top on his sixth lap, just 0.3 seconds shy of his Friday effort, the Ajo rider disappointed to lose his KTM at turn five on the next revolution but quickly managing to recover the machine to the garage.

A quiet start to the final 10 minutes saw the entire field in the pits with riders returning to action at the six minute mark. The usual chaos of slow bikes mid-track threatened to bring out the penalties yet again as a number of offenders waited for a tow.

The closing minute saw Fenati shoot to the top, a 1’48.778  the quickest of the session so far before Arbolino bettered with a 1’48.635 to finish fastest overall. Fernandez retained his top-three position thanks to yesterday’s performance as Jaume Masia and Garcia rounded out the top-five.

Rodrigo, Dennis Foggia, Andrea Migno, Toba and Darryn Binder hold on to the top-10 with Celestino Vietti, Ayumu Sasaki, Jeremy Alcoba and Filip Salac claiming the final Q2 promotion spots. An unlucky McPhee had his final flying lap cancelled due to track limits, leaving the Scot outside the top-14 and down in 19th, with Albert Arenas and Ai Ogura for company in this afternoon’s Q1 session.

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