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MotoGP Valencia: Öncü returns to head Moto3 FP3

Tech3 KTM’s Deniz Öncü returned to Moto3 action in strong form at Valencia, taking Saturday’s FP3 session with a 1’3.256.

The Turk held off overall efforts from fellow KTM star Pedro Acosta and CIP replacement rider Joel Kelso while both Sergio Garcia and Jaume Masia face the Q1 fight.

Blue skies, cool temperatures and a dry track greeted Moto3 for Saturday’s final practice. Dennis Foggia and Joel Kelso battled at the head of the times as the early laps registered before champion Pedro Acosta arrived with a 1’41.012 - so far two seconds adrift of Friday’s best.


Andi Farid Izdihar became the first faller of the day, with the Honda Asia rider caught out by a turn two highside before becoming tangled in his machine in the aftermath.

Andrea Migno led the way as the opening action warmed up with Carlos Tatay taking over thanks to a 1’40.211. Deniz Öncü, Sergio Garcia and Niccolò Antonelli splitting the two with Xavi Artigas running top six as the session unfolded.

The closing 15 minutes found the pace increase with Foggia in charge. The Leopard rider the first to improve on his Friday times and sitting fifth in the combined standings with a 1’39.811.

Izan Guevara bettered his own leading time in the final quarter, 1’39.461 the target and Tatay quick to strike in the challenge, sitting two-hundredths ahead with four minutes to go.

John McPhee sat perilously on the edge of promotion as the final runs got up to speed, the Scot holding 13th in the overall times ahead of the las push and the timing screens ablaze in red and orange.

Öncü held the fastest time, set without a slipstream, as the clock counted down. Kelso second from Tatay and Guevara wit Acosta fifth. The newly crowned champ was dropped to 10th as the next group crossed the line, Kelso unable to finish his final attack after a turn two crash but bringing out the yellow flags.

As the chequered flag waved, McPhee faced a Q1 fight, sitting 15th but with multiple laps deleted due to infringements, he found himself back in the running, ending the session 11th and 13th overall.

Öncü claimed FP3 honours from Stefano Nepa and Acosta, with Kelso, Migno and Tatay heading Foggia in the top seven. Filip Salac and Darryn Binder maintaining their promotions thanks to their respective Friday times.

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