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MotoGP Portimao: Schrotter heads Friday's Moto2 action

Liqui Moly Intact GP’s Marcel Schrotter made a late move to secure the Moto2 standings on Friday afternoon at Portimao.

The German’s 2’00.678 time sat half a second clear of Jake Dixon on the Autosolar GasGas Aspar with the Stateside duo of Cameron Beaubier and Joe Roberts neatly behind. Sam Lowes completed the top five.

The heavens opened as Moto2’s morning practice got the green light, the pack waiting in the pits for an improvement in the torrential conditions before any action began.


A few tentative riders set out to explore the situation after ten minutes, with Italtrans’ Roberts the only rider to set a time - of 2’09.552. Keminth Kubo and Zonta van den Goorbergh followed suit, albeit one and three seconds slower respectively before the Yamaha VR46 Master Camp rider ended his exploration in the gravel.

The final ten minutes saw a gaggle of riders take to the track as the rains abated. Van den Goorbergh upping the pace with a 2’06.336 and 14 riders in circulation. Manuel Gonzales suffered a major highside at turn eight with five to go, the second Master Camp rider sitting second overall, eight-tenths adrift of the RW Racing time.

The action completed with a slow slide out of turn 13 for Roberts as the chequered flag brought the opening practice to its limping conclusion.

The afternoon began in a similar vein as the rain continued to fall across the day. Barry Baltus set the pace with a 2’05.106 from Roberts and Romano Fenati as van den Goorbergh crashed out in the middle of turn eight. Augusto Fernandez lucky to miss the RW machine as he crested the blind corner on the Red Bull KTM narrowly behind.

Championship leader Celestino Vietti joined the action in fourth before Rookie Pedro Acosta climbed to third. Dixon and Fermín Aldeguer arrived on the edge of the top five as the pace warmed up with Roberts’ 2’04.283 leading the way before Baltus returned the serve half a second clear next time around. The American was quick to join him under the 2’04 barrier with his fifth attempt, Albert Arenas matching as he split the pair on the Autosolar Aspar.

The leading group continued to battle as the midsession played out. Roberts building his confidence as he pushed the pace with a 2’03.004, Tony Arbolino sitting fifth on the Elf Marc VDS, albeit 1.6s shy of the leading Californian.

Countryman Cameron Beaubier was the next to impress as the American Racing rider arrived to claim fourth with a 2’03.946. Dixon bettering moments later just 0.041s ahead as Acosta surfed his spinning KTM out of turn one.

Arbolino advanced again as he made his way into the top three, Beaubier likewise two places behind as Baltus struck with a 2’02.063 to command the standings overall. Arenas crashed out at turn 13 with Aldeguer succumbing to the opening corner and Jeremy Alcoba down at turn four - having just staked his claim on third - as a number of riders lost their personal bests to the yellow flags.

Despite the incidents, Beaubier looked to challenge the outright pace. The former MotoAmerica Champion sat just 0.079s adrift of the best on offer with 12 minutes left on the clock before striking for more next time around to claim the first 2’01 of the day. Roberts joined for second moments later as Sam Lowes arrived in third, 0.022s covering the top three with ten minutes left to run.


Dixon advanced in the closing minutes with a 2’02.155 to sit fifth ahead of Fernandez and Arbolino, Vietti, Alessandro Zaccone and Arenas completing the top ten before Marcel Schrotter and Arbolino improved again to fourth and sixth respectively.

The Brit was far from done, however, as he struck with a 2’01.179 to head the session with seven minutes to go, yellow flags flying once again in sector three as Roberts found the limit on the Italtrans.

Schrotter was the next to challenge as conditions improved. 2’00.678 now the benchmark from the Anglo-American group behind with Fernandez looking certain to improve before the Spaniard crashed out of his personal best at turn 13. The chequered flag securing the fastest six with Arbolino, Aron Canet, Baltus and Somkiat Chantra completing the top ten.

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