Rivacold Snipers’ Andrea Migno set the pace in Moto3 at Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli after a soaking Friday practice.
The local rider’s 1’52.529 from FP1 was only challenged in the final seconds of the afternoon as Pedro Acosta fell just 0.007s shy of the overall target time.
Rain greeted the paddock on its return to the Adriatic as Moto3 kicked off on Friday morning. The overnight downpours tailing off to light showers for morning practice but expected to impact across the full day of riding.
It was a two horse race in the title fight as Sergio Garcia, while still mathematically in with a chance, sits out of the Italian return due to his Austin injuries, leaving Acosta and Dennis Foggia to duel it out. Gabriel Rodrigo was also missing from proceedings due to his ongoing injury with Deniz Öncü suspended from the next two race weekends due to his role in the COTA crash.
John McPhee, set to move to the Sterilgarda Max Racing team for 2022 to partner Ayumu Sasaki, was another missing from Friday action as the Scot, suffering from flu symptoms, chose to sit the opening day out.
Kaito Toba headed the times as the opening session found its feet, 1’55.235 the early benchmark from championship leader Acosta and Migno. The second Rivacold Snipers rider of Alberto Surra starting strongly on his second visit at home, in fourth.
Acosta suffered a turn six highside as the session approached the halfway stage, with the rookie up and remounting almost immediately despite cartwheeling off his Red Bull KTM.
Migno took charge with his eighth lap and the first 1’54 of the day, Lorenzo Fellon joining the fastest four with Yuki Kunii, Honda Asia wildcard Mario Aji, Jaume Masia, Foggia ad Stefano Nepa completing the top 10.
The final 15 minutes saw Surra join his teammate at the top. The Snipers pair the only riders to run 1’54 pace so far, with Migno advancing to a 1’54.153 while Foggia ran best of the rest in third with a 1’55.2.
Surra took over from his teammate as the session would down thanks to a 1’53.101, Niccolò Antonelli splitting the pair in second as Fellon, and Nepa completed the top five. Andi Farid Izdihar entered the fray in sixth ahead of Tatsuki Suzuki, Toba, Filip Salac and soon-to-be MotoGP rider Darryn Binder - the South African’s confirmation of his move to the new RNF Yamaha team for next year having been announced on Thursday.
The final shuffle found Migno in charge with a 1’52.529 from Surra and Salac, Aji and a late effort from recent winner Izan Guevara completing the fastest five in the tricky conditions. A crash at turn three bringing down the session leader in the dying seconds but failing to displace him in the times.
The lunch hour brought more intermittent rain with the track remaining sodden as FP2 began. Max Kofler suffering but saving the first moment of the afternoon at turn three as his CIP Green Power teammate, Toba, headed the tentative times.
Surra and Fellon swapped positions at the top as the session bedded in. The pair repeatedly reducing the times as they crept towards the morning target, with Surra circulating on 1’55.0 pace after 10 minutes of action.
Aji led the way across the mid-session, the Honda Asia rider making the most of his wildcard from the off, despite circulating two seconds down on the morning’s best time and a second off his own fastest effort. Antonelli sat second from Sasaki, Binder and Surra before Ricardo Rossi and Salac slotted into third in quick succession.
Toba took a tumble at turn eight as the final 10 minutes approached, the CIP machine having already set FP2’s fastest time one lap before quickly regrouping and returning to the pits.
Surra was back in charge for the final push, Aji the next to suffer, this time at turn one with eight minutes left to run.
The final five minutes saw a flurry of activity as Acosta, Antonelli and Salac upped the pace. 1’53.109 the session leader, from the championship leader, with six-tenths still to find to match Migno’s morning effort and three minutes left on the clock.
Nepa and stand-in rider Daniel Holgado - in for Öncü at Tech 3 - advanced to third and fourth before Salac and Kunii dropped them almost immediately. Fellon sliding out at turn three, with Salac doing likewise at turn 10 as the chequered flag came out.
Acosta left it late to challenge before his 1’52.536 ended the day just 0.007s adrift of Migno’s overall target and eight-tenths ahead of the afternoon’s next best time. Sasaki and Antonelli the only top eight riders to have improved from FP1, to sit fourth and sixth respectively in the combined times.