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MotoGP Portimao: Gardner outruns Marini for new Moto2 record

Remy Gardner secured easy Q2 promotion with a record-breaking 1’42.728 lap-time during Saturday’s Moto2 final practice at Portimão this morning, outpacing Hector Garzo and Marcos Ramirez to take the session, with Luca Marini holding second in the combined times.

Britain’s Sam Lowes put on another pain-defying performance to sit 10th at the end of the 40-minutes with Friday’s effort strong enough for fifth overall.

FP3 began in haste as the entire Moto2 class made the most of their final 40-minutes of practice on the Algarve. Augusto Fernandez returned to the top of the times after impressing throughout Friday’s exploratory sessions, with Marini jumping the times after the opening five minutes of action.


Lowes started his Saturday morning tentatively, his broken right-hand still proving more of a mountain to climb than the technical rollercoaster track itself but the Marc VDS man continued to dig deep as he made progress up the times, rising from 22nd to 15th with 10 minutes gone despite the visible pain.

Garzo led the way on his fifth lap - a 1’43.306 - from Ramirez and Marini, Gardner joining the fray as he battled Fabio Di Giannantonio and Lorenzo Baldassarri with Fernadez demoted to seventh after the first 15 minutes. Enea Bastianini and Marco Bezzecchi circulated together on the edge of the top-10 as title-rival Marini took charge once again, with a time just three-tenths short of his Friday record and 23 to go.

The mid-session lull gave way to the final push as Bastianini progressed to sixth, Kasma Daniel crashing out at turn four to call time on his FP3 nine minutes early. Joe Roberts advanced to fourth, behind his teammate, as the action began to really fire up, Fernandez sliding into second moments later before Ramirez improved again. Gardner hitting the top with four to go with a breathtaking 1’42.728 to head both the session and the standings as the session counted down.

Lowes entered the top-10 on his 15th lap, his Friday time so far enough to keep him safe as the penultimate minute began before the Brit took another bashing at turn 13 on the following revolution.

With the chequered flag flying, Bastianini claimed second from Garzo, Ramirez and Marini as Canet took sixth in the closing stages. Gardner remained safe at the top as the combined times placed Marini second with Lowes sitting sixth overall.

Di Giannantonio, Jorge Navarro, Roberts and Tetsuta Nagashima claimed the final Q2 places with Bezzecchi, Nicolò Bulega and Bo Bendsneyder the first to miss out on the automatic entry. Last-minute drama saw Bastianini’s final time deleted due to a yellow-flag infringement, promoting Lowes to fifth overall but the Italian remained inside the top-14, in ninth.

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