How things stand after Free Practice within Moto3

Binder is fastest in Moto3 in what is set to be a highly competitive race in Jerez, Spain, where riders have worked towards the best setup ahead of the race after three free practice sessions.

How things stand after Free Practice within Moto3
Binder tops the timesheets after three Free Practice sessions -

Ahead of the fourth round of the Moto3 season at the Circuito de Jerez in Spain the 250cc class have completed three free practice sessions ahead of qualifying. There are only seven Spaniards in the class and so this track is not being dominated by locals unlike the other classes. Despite this, the riders are still familiar with track as they will have grown up competing in the FIM CEV Repsol Honda Moto Junior World Championship.

Spanish Estrella Galicia 0,0 rider Jorge Navarro was fastest at FP1 after a flurry of fast laps towards the end of the session at Jerez, but it is current Moto3 Championship leader Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Ajo) who is dominated ahead of qualifying after finishing fastest after the three Free Practice sessions. Binder’s fastest time of 1:46.575 during FP3 was fastest so far despite only being fifth fasted after FP1; he managed to improve his fastest time by approximately 0.7 seconds to take the lead.  

Free Practice Session 1 Results

Navarro led ahead of Sky Racing Team VR46 rider Romano Fenati who struggled with clutch problems on his KTM in FP1 meaning he lost a lot of time during the session as his team worked on it; his time of 1:47.473 was 0.232 seconds slower than leader Navarro and 0.004 seconds faster than his rookie teammate Nicolo Bulega in third.

Nicollo Antonelli (Ongetta-Rivacold) finished fourth fastest ahead of Brad Binder in fifth. Fabio Quartararo (Leopard Racing) was in sixth ahead of the fastest Mahindra Francesco Bagnaia (ASPAR Mahindra Team Moto3) who was 0.997 seconds slower than Navarro.

Wildcards to appear in Jerez

There will be two wildcard appearances at the Circuito de Jerez in the Moto3 clas this time round, and a rare ‘addition’ to the field on race day. Moto2 rider Alex Rins has his own Moto3 team competing in the FIM CEV Repsol Moto3 Junior World Championship which includes two riders Frenchman Enzo Boulom and Italian Davide Pizzoli; the two will be making wildcard appearances. Pizzoli fell during FP1 at turn eight and Juanfran Guevara (RBA Racing Team) also crashed out at turn one at the end of the session.

Albert Arenas is the rare ‘addition’ who will be competing in Sunday’s race for the Mahindra Aspar Team. He is classed as an addition as he has been accepted for one event rather than making several possible appearances throughout the season.

Binder started his domination in Free Practice Session 2

Brad Binder finished FP2 fastest overall 0.281 seconds ahead of Bulega and Antonelli. Navarro and Fenati slipped down to fourth and fifth ahead of Bagnaia and Khairul Idham Pawi (Honda Team Asia) who got claimed his first win in Argentina.

The second session was full of incidents as riders continued to push to improve their times. Fabio Quartararo (Leopard Racing) was flying at end of the session but experienced a huge highside at turn thirteen; the Frenchman had to take his time getting up from the rash but was able to return to the pits. Not long after Navarro also slid out at turn nine; this is what led to him slipping down the leaderboard.

More incidents came in FP2 from Boulom who fell early on at turn four, Pizzoli fell again at turn six and Philipp Oettl (Schedl GP Racing) at turn 2; luckily all riders were able to walk away unharmed.

Binder remains fastest after FP3

Free Practice 3 was the final chance for riders to finalise settings ahead of qualifying. The morning session was quite cool but four riders were able to break through the 1:47 minute barrier. The best time (1:46.173) on a Moto3 bike was set by Jack Miller in 2014 and Brad Binder was able to come close as he finished just 0.302 seconds slower with a time of 1:46.575.

Navarro finished second fastest ahead of Gresini Racing Moto3 rider Enea Bastianini who progressed up to third and Antonelli who finished in fourth ahead of rookie Bulega in fifth. Despite crashing in FP2 Oettl was sixth fastest ahead of Jakub Kornfeil (Drive M7 SIC Racing Team), Fenati who slipped down to eighth and the fastest Mahindra Bagnaia who was 1.069 seconds faster slower than the leader.

Alexis Masbou (Peugeot MC Saxoprint) was the fastest Peugeot in seventeenth which was 1.250 seconds slower than leader Brad Binder. Quartararo and Martin finished in eighteenth and nineteenth after their difficult FP2 sessions.

Wildcards Pizzoli and Boulom finished in twenty-seventh and thirty-third aboard their Procercasa – 42 Motorsport KTMs. The best performance came from the ‘addition’ Arenas who finished in eleventh aboard his Mahindra just 1.091 seconds slower than leader Binder. The only British rider in the field John McPhee (Peugeot MC Saxoprint) finished in thirty-first with a time of 1:48.482 and the only female in the field Maria Herrera (MH6 Laglisse) finished just behind Boulom in thirty-fourth.