The leader switched throughout the first practice session of the Moto2 class at the Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas.
Dynavolt Intact GP rider Jonas Folger was the first to break the 2:11 barrier with after fifteen minutes with 210.808. With just over twenty-two minutes left, Ajo Motorsport rider Johann Zarco went quickest with a time of 2:10.590. A lot of other riders were able to beat their own personal best but not contend for the lead time.
Big slide for Lowes who tried to keep it going
Federal Oil Gresini Racing Team rider Sam Lowes had a long, long slide after losing the front end of the Kalex at turn eighteen with over half an hour ago. Lowes refused to let go of the bike, keeping the clutch in as they slid across the track and into the wide run-off area, rubbing a lot off the side of the fairing and the right thigh of Lowes’ leathers.
Issues for Brit Danny Kent?
Leopard Racing team rider Danny Kent completed three laps before returning to pit lane for a good while. He eventually returned after the team appeared to make a major change on the Leopard Racing Team Kalex. He finished FP1 in twenty-fifth. This is the first season in the Moto2 clas for the Moto3 Championship winning team who have recently expanded.
Lowes unique style is eye-catching
Lowes returned to the track and within the last ten minutes had got up to fourth fastest. The ‘super slow-mo’ shot showed Lowes sliding into turn twelve at one point where the rear had come round so much he practically rode in backwards.
Rins leads at the end of FP1
Alex Rins (Paginas Amarillas HP 40) had to save his bike with seventeen minutes to go on turn 17.With just under six minutes to go he was flying, he took the lead from Zarco with a time of 2:10.164 which was just under half a second faster than the 2015 Champion; this time was not far off the circuit record set but Maverick Vinales in 2014, the fastest ever lap (which is unofficial as it was not recorded during the race) is held by Xavier Simeon which is 2:09.888. Rins’ next lap seen him cut 0.008 seconds off his time,
In the final few minutes Speed Up Racing Team rider Simone Corsi made his presence felt, lapping at 2:10.711, which left him in second as the fastest Speed Up bike. His time was 0.555 seconds slower than leader Rins’ fastest time of 2:10.156; Zarco followed Corsi, followed by Lowes who had pole position in 2015, who was followed by Takaaki Nakagami (IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia), Folger and Marcel Schrotter (AGR Team).
Julian Simon (QMMF Racing Team) followed ahead of Thomas Luthi (Garage Plus Interwetten), Franco Morbidelli (EG 0,0 Marc VDS), Dominique Aegerter (CarXpert Interwetten) who was the last rider within a second of the leader. The fastest Tech 3 rider after FP1 was Isaac Vinales in twenty-first and the only Suter, Efren Vazquez (JPMoto Malaysia) was in twenty-eighth position.
FP2 was more like a race
The riders made it out onto the track for the final FP session of the day from the world class series. FP2 for the Moto2 class seemed to be more like a race as riders were seen battling it out on track. Rather than sit behind and work on a faster time using the air space created from the bike in front, they were seen rubbing elbows as they overtook and gestured unhappily to each other.
Corsi led FP2 at first before Rins soon took the spot at the top of the leaderboard with a time of 2:10.163 before he returned to the pits with half an hour to go, however he was not faster than the time he set in FP1.
More crashes as the riders continued to push
With twenty-seven minutes to go Sam Lowes crashed into the back of Rattapark Wilairot at turn twenty and they both fell off; Lowes fell off and slid into the rear of Wilairot who slid out into the gravel also. Lowes appeared to enter the last corner a bit ‘hotter’ than the IDEMITSU Team Asia Honda rider; Lowes was able to pick his bike up and return to the pits after completing the lap whereas Wilairot looked like he was in pain despite being able to hobble to the safe area of the run-off.
With twenty-four minutes to go Italtrans Racing Team rider Mattia Pasini crashed out at turn eleven, according to Colin Edwards he "used too much brake and leaned too much" causing him to slide out; he was able to pick his bike up and continue.
Zarco breaks the unofficial lap record
With sixteen minutes to go Zarco smashed through the 2:10 barrier setting a fastest time (so far) of 2:09.953 which was not far off the best ever time set by Xavier Simeon in 2015 of 2:09.888. Nakagami beat this by 0.063 seconds, but then Zarco beat this by 0.193 seconds reclaiming top spot and now beating the record with a time of 2:09.760.
Marcel Schrotter crashed in turn twenty with just under ten minutes to go; he was unhurt as he helped the marshals to remove his bike from the gravel trap.
Records continued to be broken
Corsi took the lead with just over five minutes to go with a time of 2:09.744; he was the fastest speed up rider but then Rins beat this time by 0.125 seconds taking the lead and again breaking the records with a time of 2:09.619; he was soon able to beat his own time by 0.055 seconds, finishing the session with a record breaking time of 2:09.564.
Corsi finished second overall as the fastest Speed Up rider just 0.180 seconds behind Rins. Zarco ran wide at turn eleven in the closing stages as he continued to look like he was struggling with his Kalex as he battled for the fastest pace. Nakagami finished in fourth ahead of Schrotter, British rider Lowes, Cortese and Luthi who won in Qatar, and Aegerter who finished within a second of leader Rins.
Salom, Folger and Morbidelli followed ahead of Simon in thirteenth who was ahead of Alex Marquez (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) and Syahrin. The fastest Tech 2 bike was that of Tech 3 Racing Team rider Isaac Vinales and the only Suter in the field ridden by Vazquez finished twenty-seventh fastest overall.