Romano Fenati denied a dominant Dennis Foggia in the closing seconds of FP2 after the Leopard rider had commanded Friday’s Moto3 action.
Foggia settled for second at the flag, just 0.015s splitting the duelling Italians after the Max Racing rider’s 1’48.026 final lap. Red Bull KTM’s Jaume Masia and Pedro Acosta starting their second trip to Portimao third and fourth respectively.
The Algarve action kicked off under cool but bright conditions as Moto3 wheeled out of pitlane. PruestelGP utilising the morning to announce their plans for 2022 with Xavi Artigas and Carlos Tatay moving across to the squad aboard the CFMoto KTM’s with Tom Luthi joining as Sports Director.
Darryn Binder led the on track activity as FP1 got up to speed, Acosta taking the reins with his third lap ahead of Red Bull Ajo teammate Masia, as Andrea Migno and Foggia slotted in behind the South African.
Tech3 KTM’s Deniz Öncü remained absent due to his second race suspension, replaced once again by Daniel Holgado, while Australian Joel Kelso returned to the paddock in place of Max Kofler at CIP Green Power.
Riccardo Rossi claimed the first fall of the weekend at turn three after 10 minutes on track, Acosta maintaining his lead in the standings from fellow rookie Artigas, Stefano Nepa, Masia and Fenati. John McPhee joined the top nine with his fourth lap of the morning, 1.5 seconds back from the championship leader, before advancing to fifth, seventh-tenths adrift, three laps later.
Acosta continued to improve the pace as the session wound down, the title leader holding fourth with a 1’49.342 as the final 10 minutes approached. Izan Guevara claimed second with his 11th lap to create a trio at the top of impressive rookie talent.
Nepa advanced to spoil the party in the closing six minutes as the BOE Owlride machine sat second, four-tenths down on Acosta. Migno, Tatay and Niccolò Antonelli trailing McPhee as they rounded out the top 10.
Late charges shuffled the standings in the final three minutes as Foggia took the lead from Migno and Acosta. Tatsuki Suzuki rising to fifth before Guevara and Masia demoted him down, Adrian Fernandez doing likewise, for sixth moments later.
Foggia claimed the flag with a 1’48.296 to sit seven-tenths clear of the rest of the field. Nepa holding off Filip Salac in the final moments with Migno, McPhee and Acosta completing the top six. Jeremy Alcoba joined the fray with his last effort, in seventh, to head Binder, Masia and Guevara while Ayumu Sasaki, Fenati, Artigas and Suzuki claimed the very provisional top 14.
The afternoon saw Migno down at turn five in the opening five minutes, the Rivacold Snipers rider remounting on his way to second in the standings shortly after, Masia and Binder either side as the session warmed up.
McPhee was in charge after eight minutes of action, and edging close to his overall best thanks to a 1’49.196, Migno and Foggia trailing the Petronas man before the KTM of Acosta bettered. Artigas and Masia slotting into the top five as they demoted Foggia down alongside Binder.
Yamanaka sat eighth after 10 minutes of FP2, the PruestelGP rider, however, still adrift of promotion in the combined times with 1’49.6 the current gateway to Q2.
A technical issue brought Migno back into the pits at the halfway stage, with the majority of the pack doing likewise for the mid-session lull. Fenati rising to sixth before he too headed to the garage with Gabriel Rodrigo following for seventh on his return to action.
Holgado was the next to suffer from technical gremlins as he retired his Tech3 KTM to the side of the track, Guevara promoting his GasGas to sixth with 15 minutes to go.
Foggia hit the front with a 1’48.5 as the session neared the closing 10 minutes, the Leopard rider still shy of his overall best but with red sectors in play it looked like there wouldn’t be long to wait. His 13th lap of the afternoon coming in just 0.001s short of his morning effort.
Acosta was on a charge as the clock counted down but he was not alone. The Sterilgarda Max Racing team struck in tandem for second and third, Fenati just six-thousandths short of Foggia with Fernandez and Acosta in hot pursuit. Salac sat fifth as the flag prepared with late efforts from Masia, Fenati and Foggia aiming for glory. The Husqvarna claimed the spoils heading into Saturday with a 1’48.026 from Foggia, Masia bettering his teammate for third in the dying seconds.
Fernandez consolidated fifth with his own final effort as Antonelli joined the party late, one place behind. Salac dropped to seventh ahead of Sasaki, Rossi and Yamanaka with Guevara, Binder and Tatay sitting 11th to 13th. McPhee ended the session in 14th but the Scot was denied provisional Q2 entry by Nepa’s morning time, despite the Owlride man circulating 18th in FP2.