Red Bull KTM Ajo’s Augusto Fernandez claimed Friday’s fastest honours in Moto2 with a 2’04.573 lap of the Silverstone Circuit.
GasGas Aspar’s Jake Dixon had dominated the majority of the action on the opening day in the UK with the Brit heading both free practice sessions as he prepared for his home Grand Prix until Fernandez denied him on unlucky lap 13. CAG Speed Up’s Alonso Lopez completed the fastest three runners half a second adrift.
Moto2 was missing Pedro Acosta as free practice geared up at Silverstone, the KTM rookie, unexpectedly for him, passed unfit due to his left femur fracture but with no replacement in the Ajo team organised. The grid was swelled, however, as Rory Skinner began his intermediate class wildcard in front of the home fans on the American Racing Kalex.
Dixon led the way as FP1 fired up with Sam Lowes sitting third before the Marc VDS rider crashed out heavily at turn six on his next flying lap - the 31-year-old ruled out of the remainder of the weekend after dislocating his shoulder in the fall. Lorenzo Dalla Porta and Zonta van den Goorberg suffering a similar fate on the Italtrans and RW Racing bikes respectively moments later.
Skinner endured his own crash as the final ten minutes kicked up a gear, the Scot sliding out at turn 13 as fellow Brit Dixon continued to dominate the standings. 2’06. the late benchmark with Augusto Fernandez and Aspar teammate Albert Arenas holding the top three from Italtrans’ Joe Roberts before Lopez demoted the American for position on the Boscoscuro.
Fernandez took charge in the final five minutes with the first 2’05 of the day as Bo Bendsneyder arrived to third. Arenas the latest to suffer a the hands of the Silverstone track with a late crash at turn 12 on the GasGas before Flexbox HP40’s Aron Canet dropped him further to fifth.
As the chequered flag flew both Fernandez and Dixon continued to up the pace with the Kent rider coming out on top thanks to his final 2’05.409. His 12th effort saw him 0.066s clear of the KTM with Canet placing the Pons machine in contention from third. Fallen local talents Skinner and Lowes sat 25th and 27th respectively.
The afternoon kicked off with championship leader Celestino Vietti at the top as the opening laps registered after Dixon’s initial effort was deleted. Lopez and VR46 Master Camp’s Manel Gonzalez raise the bar with a 2’05.8 apiece before the Speed Up bettered next time around.
Fernandez was the next to strike, with a 2’05.358 before Dixon arrived on the bubble of 2’05. Canet crashing out in the opening ten minutes.
Honda Team Asia’s Ai Ogura ran third from birthday boy Tony Arbolino with half an hour to go and Marcel Schrotter completed the top five on the Liqui Moly Intact GP. Skinner continuing his World Championship education from 24th, alongside American Racing teammate Sean Dylan Kelly with Cameron Beaubier five places ahead.
Arbolino sat second, and the solitary Marc VDS machine, as the second half counted down, Fernandez a mere 0.007s behind with the top three separated by less than two-tenths in total. Lopez rising to claim the position with six minutes to go as Dixon advanced the outright pace once again, 2’04.760 the new target, over three-tenths clear.
Fernandez was in charge with three minutes left on the clock as the Spaniard found two-tenths on the Brit. Arenas bringing the second Aspar up to fifth from Gresini’s Filip Salac and Ogura with Beaubier finding late-session pace to take eighth. Dixon’s progress coming to an early end with two minutes left to run as the 26-year-old crashed out at turn 13 on another personal best.
Fernandez completed the day in charge from Dixon and Lopez with Arbolino, Arenas and Salac rounding out the top six. Ogura, Beaubier, Vietti and Schrotter heading Bendsneyder, Roberts, Canet and Fermin Aldeguer in the provisional promotion places overnight.