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MotoGP Catalunya: Fernandez leads Friday Moto3 times, McPhee sixth

Raul Fernandez continued his dominant Friday Moto3 form as the action got underway for round nine at Barcelona today, heading the combined times from Jaume Masia and last-week’s winner Romano Fenati while John McPhee conserved his championship challenge inside the top-six.

The Moto3 riders were faced with a fairly green track at Montmeló this morning, thanks to an impressive week of storms, for the opening practice of the Catalan GP.

The usual suspects of Tony Arbolino, Fernandez and Albert Arenas were all fast from the off with McPhee fighting Fenati for fourth after the initial 10 minutes on track.


Continuing his early improvement, the Petronas rider entered the top three at the end of his first run before rising to second after heading back out on new rubber, ultimately finishing the session fifth.

Fernandez took the fastest time, a 1’48.853, ahead of Fenati, Arbolino and Masia, with Arenas in sixth.

The afternoon began in dramatic style with Fernandez and Ryusei Yamanaka saving spectacular moments in quick succession, Celestino Vietti proving not so lucky as he found the gravel at turn three.

The crash-fest continued with Gabriel Rodrigo, Stefano Nepa, Masia and Arbolino all falling foul of the strong winds as the session reached the half-way stage, the latter needing a medical check-up before being allowed back to the action.

Arbolino and McPhee had lost no time in asserting their prowess at the top, the Italian heading the times on his third lap with a 1’49.952 from the Scot, with McPhee eventually sliding out at turn 10 while on yet another personal best as he looked to beat the ’tiger’.

Having recovered from his early fright, Fernandez reasserted his morning dominance before Binder took charge, a 1’49.650 seeming the best available with the interfering winds.

The final minute, however, saw the times threaten to ignite again but Masia was the only rider to fully capitalise, heading the session with a 1’49.134 ahead of an improving Binder, Carlos Tatay, Rodrigo and Fernandez. McPhee concluding the last practice of the day in 10th.

The morning conditions proved to be the most beneficial for the majority of times set, with Masia and Binder the only riders in the top-eight to have improved. Fernandez remained in control of the combined standings with Masia, Fenati, Arbolino and Binder rounding out the top-five ahead of McPhee in sixth.

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