Bastianini 'The Beast' fastest on day one of Moto3 practice in Argentina

The Moto3 class returned to the Termas de Rio Hondo Circuit in Argentina for the third time since it was added the the calendar to begin practice ahead of Sunday’s race.

Bastianini 'The Beast' fastest on day one of Moto3 practice in Argentina
Bastianini 'The Beast' fastest on day one of Moto3 practice in Argentina | Photo: Getty/Mirco Lazzari

The class completed two Free Practice sessions in very hot conditions on a dirty track that meant the 250cc riders struggled to grip due to the fine dust on the surface.

They returned to the track after the MotoGP and Moto2 riders had been around leaving a trail of rubber and clearing away some of the dust; this meant the grip problems subsided slightly for the riders in the lightweight class.

Winglets banned in Moto3 class

It was recently announced that the aerodynamic winglets that some riders had experimented with were to be banned immediately in the lightweight class, so those riders who had chosen to run with them experienced their first session without them; there is still no indication as to how affective they are.

Bastianini leads the timesheets

It was Gresini Racing Moto3 Team rider Enea Bastianini who took the lead on the timesheets during FP1, by the end of FP2 he remained at the top with a time of 1:51.137. Bastianini finished fifth at the season opener in Qatar. He was the fastest of the Honda riders in the field.

He was followed by two of the Sky Racing Team VR46 KTM riders; Romano Fenati was 0.105 seconds slower than Bastianini and Andrea Migno (who has appeared to struggle throughout testing and during the time spent at Qatar) was 0.166 seconds slower than the leader. The third teammate rookie Niciolo Bulega finished tenth overall.

Brad Binder who has made a strong start to the season was fourth fastest by the end of day one on his Red Bull KTM Ajo 250cc. He finished ahead of Estrella Galivia 0,0 Honda rider Jorge Navarrao and RW Racing GP BV Team rider Livio Loi.

The first of the Leopard Racing Team (the team who won the 2015 Moto3 Championship and promoted their winning rider Danny Kent to the Moto 2 class) riders was Fabio Quartaro. The French rider finished ahead of Schedl GP Racing team rider Philipp Oettl.

Twelve riders within one second of leader

Nicollo Antonelli won the season opener in the Losail International Circuit in Qatar aboard his Ongetta-Rivacold Honda. He finished 11th by the end of day one in Argentina ahead of Binder’s teammate Bo Bendsneyder and Gabriel Rodrigo, who rides for the RBA Racing Team. He was the last of the list of 12 riders who finished within one second of the leader Bastianini.

Niccolo Antonelli finished 11th in FP1 | Photo: Getty/Mirco Lazzari
Niccolo Antonelli finished 11th in FP1 | Photo: Getty/Mirco Lazzari

The top Mahindra rider by the end of day one in Argentina was that of ASPAR Mahindra Team Moto3 rider Jorge Martin. His time of 1:52.090 left him just under one second slower than the leading Honda. The fastest Peugeot rider was that of Peugeot MC Saxoprint rider John McPhee. The British rider finished 1.288 seconds of Bastianini with a time of 1:52.425.

The only female in the class Maria Herrera made a promising start in FP1 where she finished seventh on her MH6 Laglisse KTM. The Spaniard has been impressive at the start of the season making her presence felt at the top of the leaderboard on a bike that had to be funded by her father and was completed just days before the first race of the season. By the end of FP2 though, Herrera dropped to twenty-fourth overall with a time of 1:52.719.

Crashes for two riders

Early on in the day CIP-Unicorn Startker Mahindra rider Tatsuki Suzuki fell at turn 9; fortunately he was uninjured and was able to re-join the session. Antonelli also experienced a fall in FP2 at turn 1 and he also walked away unhurt.