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MotoGP Le Mans: Dixon edges Martin to lead Moto2 practice

Jake Dixon claimed Friday’s fastest Moto2 time as an end-of-session tussle with Jorge Martin left the Briton leading the combined standings after two dramatic and incident-filled free practice sessions at Le Mans, which saw the championship-leader headed for hospital. Marco Bezzecchi concluded the day in third ahead of Sam Lowes and Marc VDS teammate Augusto Fernandez. 

After the carnage of Moto3, Friday’s French crash-fest continued for Dunlop as soon as Moto2 practice got going this morning. Luca Marini went down almost immediately as he left pitlane in the opening seconds with Andi Izdihar, Marcel Schrotter and Lorenzo Dalla Porta all equally early fallers in the gruelling wet session. 

Looking to master the mixed conditions, it was Hafizh Syahrin who took charge early on from Nicolo Bulega and Marco Bezzecchi, with Jake Dixon and Joe Roberts sitting fourth and fifth before Sam Lowes made his presence known in second with 10 minutes gone. 


Half the session down and Dixon was still impressing in the top-three ahead of the SAG duo of Remy Gardner and Kasma Daniel with Lowes a little adrift in sixth and Bulega strongest overall. 

The drama continued with heart-in-mouth moments saved by Aron Canet and Marcos Ramirez while others were not so lucky, a nasty highside took out Fabio Di Giannantonio as the slippery session continued, the Italian sent to a local hospital for further checks as a result. 

His Sky machine finally fixed after his out-lap tumble, Marini headed back to join the action with just 12 minutes remaining as Dixon, utilising his British familiarity with wet weather, stormed to the top, almost half a second clear of Bulega in second. 

The standings shuffled again in the final five minutes as Hector Garzo rose to the top, American Joe Roberts following suit for second, and with Dixon in the pits, Daniel advanced to third. Roberts and Lowes both unfortunately succumbed to the conditions in the closing minute preventing any further improvement, allowing the advantage to pass to those around them as Daniel continued his impressive run to finish first ahead of Garzo and a last-minute effort from Lorenzo Baldassari. Roberts, Dixon and Jorge Martin concluded the top-five with Lowes 19th and Marini 24th. 

A dramatic start to the opening five minutes of the afternoon session saw morning hero Daniel suffer an early turn 11 crash putting paid to his day’s action before a vicious highside at turn five again caught out an increasingly unlucky Marini. The VR46 rider was aided off track to the waiting ambulance - with a suspected broken ankle - as the red-flag came out and the track cleanup began. 

Dixon lost no time in asserting his dominance as the action resumed, battling with Schrotter for the fastest time as the duo repeatedly challenged and bettered each other as the clock ticked down, his teammate Xavi Vierge and Lowes circling on the fringes, in third and fourth. 

22‘ to go saw #22 take charge as Lowes demoted first Martin, then Vierge as the pace improved yet again at the half-way stage, holding fast for the next 15 minutes until Schrotter and Martin struck again. Further down the pack Somkiat Chantra and Bezzecchi entered the top-six as Fernandez improved his performance into fourth ahead of Dixon, Lowes briefly slipping to seventh before boosting back to second in the penultimate minute. 

The final countdown saw the times erupt again as Dixon stormed to head the rapidly changing standings with a 1’37.713, before Martin stole the glory in the final seconds. The Petronas rider was initially demoted to a hard-fought and confident best of the rest before Martin’s time was deleted and the pair flipped, the number 96 finding himself back in charge. Bezzecchi held third at the flag from Lowes and Fernandez with Jorge Navarro, Canet, Thomas Luthi and Schrotter concluding the top-10. Roberts, Vierge, Chantra, Ramirez and Stefano Manzi claimed the final provisional Q2 positions.

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