Britain’s Sam Lowes bounced back from two crashes on the opening day of Moto2 free practice to shadow fastest man Jonas Folger on the combined timesheet.
Lowes fell early in free practice one and then lost the front into turn seven in the second session, looking mystified after both, but came back to set a 1’59.657 to trail Folger by 0.091s at the end of the day. The new Isle of Man resident was held up by Simone Corsi on his last lap and wasn’t able to top Folger.
“The track conditions have changed compared to the test, so maybe I should have stayed more relaxed to avoid the crashes: sorry to the team for this, but overall it was still a good first day of practice. We have already forgotten the falls and we take only the good things about today,” said Lowes.
“The team did a fantastic job and today I immediately felt comfortable on the bike and managed to be fast. Tomorrow we will keep working for the race, to further adapt the bike to the track conditions, but I already feel good.”
Spain’s Alex Rins had been in second until Lowes began his final run and slipped back to third on a 1’59.768 but seemed to be concentrating on race pace instead of any kind of time attack laps. Swiss Thomas Luthi couldn’t better his time from session one in second practice but the 1’59.731 was good enough to hold on to fourth.
Reigning champion Johann Zarco ended in fifth place with Franco Morbidelli in sixth and just 0.330s off the pace. Lorenzo Baldassarri was seventh, Taka Nakagami eighth with Corsi and Alex Marquez completing the top ten.
Danny Kent, the reigning Moto3 Champion, finished down in 22nd on the Leopard Kalex. His best lap of 2’00.757 came on his 11th but he couldn’t improve with a time attack lap on the softer-option Dunlop rear.