Pons Wegow Los40’s Aron Canet claimed session honours and a new Moto2 Portimao lap record as final practice concluded on Saturday.
The Spaniard’s 1’42.003 lap broke the Algarve International Circuit’s previous intermediate class best by a tenth of a second, holding off advances from Gresini’s Filip Salac and Friday hero Pedro Acosta in the closing stages.
Moto2’s final Saturday practice got underway without Lukas Tulovic as the Liqui Moly Husqvarna Intact GP rider was declared unfit for the rest of the weekend due to pain in his hand from a previous injury. A dramatic start seeing Kohta Nozane and Zonta van den Goorbergh crashing out in the opening minutes.
Early progress found Nozane’s VR46 Master Camp teammate Manuel Gonzalez challenging for the top three with Pons’ Aron Canet narrowly behind. Pertamina SAG’s Bo Bendsneyder the next to improve, to sixth, before Salac swept up to lead the session, just 0.018s behind KTM Ajo’s Pedro Acosta’s overall benchmark.
The number 37 was the next to slide out of contention. Turn three catching the former Moto3 Champion out with a low side as the final ten minutes prepared. Elf Marc VDS’ Sam Lowes on a charge as the yellow flags dispersed with the Brit finding fourth in the session on 1’42.642 pace.
Fieten Olie’s Barry Baltus took charge overall with a 1’42.277 and five minutes remaining. Gonzalez following suit to second as Inde GasGas Aspar’s Jake Dixon consolidated fourth, two tenths behind. The Brit suffering a turn 11 crash next time around to derail a second personal best shot.
A trio of session topping efforts came in as the penultimate minute fired up. Canet beating out CAG SpeedUp’s Alonso Lopez and Fermin Aldeguer with a 1’42.003 new lap record. Salac slotting into second shortly after.
A regrouped Acosta pushed hard with his final effort as the chequered flag waved but it wasn’t enough. The Spaniard losing out in the final sector as he settled for third, 0.125s off the outright best, his Red Bull KTM teammate Albert Arenas the gatekeeper to promotion in 14th overall.
Italtrans’ Joe Roberts, Marc VDS’ Tony Arbolino and Husqvarna’s Darryn Binder the first to miss out and heading for the Q1 fight.