Rivacold Snipers’ Andrea Migno claimed Moto3’s FP3 honours with a new all-time circuit record at Jerez in the final minute of Saturday’s morning.
The Italian held off competition from Deniz Öncü and John McPhee to close the session half a second clear of the rest of the field with the top-14 Q2 places separated by 1.2s overall.
Another cool morning greeted the lightweight class as FP3 got going on a 17℃ track surface. Q2 progression was the objective of the day’s opening 40-minute session, 1’46.600 the early cutoff for entry to the final shootout, and McPhee one of the 14 riders with work to do.
Deniz Öncü took charge as the session kicked off, the only rider already under the 1’47 bubble with his initial time of 1’46.943 before continuing to improve on his next attempt. Pedro Acosta became the first rider to suffer from conditions as he crashed his KTM at turn six, Gabriel Rodrigo having already saved a worrying moment on the lap before.
Xavier Artigas and Andrea Migno sat second and third as proceedings warmed up, the pair swapping positions after the opening 12-minutes with Carlos Tatay and Niccolò Antonelli rounding out the early top-five places. McPhee advanced to seventh with his sixth lap, behind Tatsuki Suzuki and ahead of Dennis Foggia, Jaume Masia and team-mate Darryn Binder but with the times still down on the necessary by the midway stage, the riders returned to the pits as second half got serious.
Suzuki was the first rider to make inroads on the standings, his 1’46.215 topping the session and placing him sixth overall as Izan Guevara looked to match him. The rookie slid his GasGas into second just 0.2 adrift of the Sic58 rider before Masia bettered them both to take the lead with a 1’45.962, his Ajo team-mate following to claim fifth shortly after. Continuing to fine-tune his pace, McPhee returned to seventh, now one-tenth shy of the promotion zone, as Migno and Antonelli continued to contest the top-four times.
Lorenzo Fellon became the next to succumb, this time at turn two, having circulated in 25th for the majority of the session, Romano Fenati having an equally troublesome practice as the Italian struggled with his Max Racing Husqvarna from last place.
The closing 10-minutes saw McPhee continue to hunt for time. The Scot setting impressive and Q2-worthy pace in the first three sectors before losing six-tenths behind Ryusei Yamanaka at the end of his 12th lap and retuning to the Petronas garage as the pit activity increased ahead of the final runs.
Six minutes to go and only four riders within the overall top-14 had improved their times during the FP3 so far. Öncü was back on the move as he returned to the lead of the session with a 1’45.566, the timing screens lighting up as the field responded with personal bests across the board. McPhee and Binder claimed second and third on their next attempts, the Petronas riders separated by less than a tenth from the fastest of the morning, with both comfortably inside the overall bests in third and fifth respectively.
Migno was the next to raise the bar with a 1’45.405 as his teammate Filip Salac matched his pace to go fifth but Migno was far from done, the Snipers rider claimed an all-time record in the final minute to take the standings with an 1’44.988 the impressive lap as further late-session drama saw Öncü and Sergio Garcia falling in the final sector.
Migno remained victorious from Öncü, McPhee, Binder and Salac with Masia, Artigas, Suzuki and Rodrigo claiming sixth to ninth respectively. Ayumu Sasaki, Yuki Kunii and Jason Dupasquier sat on the fringes of the top-10 with Antonelli and Yamanaka claiming the final promotion places.