Leopard’s Dennis Foggia was the man to beat at Misano World Circuit after setting a 1’41.608 in Moto3 Friday practice.
The Italian had maintained his command at the top of the times across both of the opening day’s two free practice sessions with teammate Tatsuki Suzuki narrowly denied by Sterilgarda Husqvarna Max’s Ayumu Sasaki in second.
A cloudy and overcast Adriatic Coast saw the action fire up at Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli on Friday morning. MT Helmets’ Diogo Moreira setting the initial leading pace before man of the moment Sasaki took over. The rookie quick to hit back as he advanced the pace once again with the pair continuing to battle on low 1’43 pace in the opening quarter.
Foggia sat in third at the halfway stage with teammate Suzuki two places behind. Sic58’s Riccardo Rossi putting his local knowledge to use in fourth with title challenger Izan Guevara rounding out the top six on the first of the Gaviota GasGas Aspars.
British riders John McPhee, Scott Ogden and Josh Whatley began their San Marino GP weekend from 15th, 23rd and 30th respectively in the initial FP1 times. Wildcard rider Harrison Voight commencing his Moto3 debut narrowly ahead of the first VisionTrack rider, the Australian showcasing a Simoncelli replica helmet as he got to grips with the world championship for the first time with the late-Italian’s family team.
Red Bull KTM’s Jaume Masia suffered a turn 15 highside as the final 15 minutes prepared. Foggia rising to take command with a 1’43.095 effort moments later. The Italian continued to lead the way as the session counted down, Guevara challenging as the pair circulated into the 1’42’s with Foggia striking for overall control thanks to a 1’42.504. Seconds later saw Sasaki deny the local talent by a mere 0.006s as the penultimate minute began, but the Italian pride was firmly on show as Foggia’s 1’42.442 completed the session at the top.
Late improvements moved Ogden into 14th as the chequered flag came out, the rookie narrowly ahead of championship leader Sergio Garcia before the pair were demoted three places apiece by a last second flurry. Honda Team Asia’s Mario Aji succumbing to turn 15 in the final moments as Sasaki claimed session honours with a 1’43.306 before the leading lap was deleted.
The afternoon saw David Muñoz crash his BOE machine out of turn ten in the opening stages. The rookie having found his way to fifth in the early times and on red sectors for more as he bowed out.
Angeluss MTA’s Stefano Nepa became the first in the top ten to improve on his opening efforts, thanks to a 1’43.096, for second in the session and ninth overall before he continued his improvement to fourth. Foggia remaining in charge with Sasaki continuing the pair’s morning battle across the second practice.
Moreira was the man on the move as the final 15 minutes came into view. The Brazilian claiming second in the session but 0.08s shy of the Japanese rider ahead in the combined times thanks to his morning shot. Guevara holding fast in fourth with his own FP1 lap.
Lorenzo Fellon crashed his Sic58 out as Suzuki once again joined his teammate at the top with 13 minutes left to run. McPhee running down the times, in 23rd, as he struggled to set the Husqvarna up to his liking for the Italian layout.
The frantic final minutes saw a mini qualifying session fire up as forecasts threatened the potential of rain across the rest of the weekend. CIP Green Powers’ Kaito Toba unable to benefit after crashing out at turn 14 with three minutes to go.
Sasaki was the first to strike, with a 1’41.990 as Aspar’s Sergio Garcia found second just over a tenth adrift. Foggia bettering the pair by a dominant four-tenths in the penultimate minute as teammate Suzuki struck for third. McPhee’s improvement was clear to see as the Second Sterilgarda rose to round out the top five. Ryusei Yamanaka, Masia, Guevara, Tech3’s Deniz Öncü and Moreira completing the top ten until the rookie advanced to sixth. Muñoz, Nepa, the second CIP of Joel Kelso and Rivacold Snipers’ Andrea Migno holding the remaining provisional Q2 promotion places overnight.