Zarco the man to beat after day one at Mugello

2015 Moto2 Champion Johann Zarco dominated both practice session on day one of Free Practice at Mugello, Italy ahead of the sixth round of the Moto2 Championship.

Zarco the man to beat after day one at Mugello
Zarco the man to beat at Mugello -

With two sessions having been completed previous to the Moto2 class venturing out on track for the first time at Mugello, Italy, the riders took to the track for Free Practice ahead of the sixth round of the championship. The track had dried out after storms the previous night which was helped by the other two classes when they completed their sessions. This meant that this session became the busiest so far on the day.

Zarco led Free Practice 1 after a delayed start from reluctant riders

When riders finally took to the track which had now dried on slick tyres, it 2015 Moto2 Champion Johann Zarco that led at the end of the first Free Practice session after a difficult weekend at Le Mans in front of his home crowd.

He was the fastest Kalex rider and finished just 0.153 seconds faster than Simone Corsi (Speed Up Racing) in second as the fastest Speed Up rider. The sixth round at Mugello is the home GP for Italian Corsi.

Folger looking for points after disappointing weekend in Le Mans

British rider Sam Lowes (Federal Oil Gresini Moto2) finished third ahead of Jonas Folger (Dynavolt Intact GP), who is looking to claim vital championship points at Mugello this weekend after spending most of his weekend crashing out and testing his teams’ ability to fix his Kalex quickly. Luckily the German was unhurt from all the crashes but his weekend fiished early despite have a fast pace.

Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS Team rider Franco Morbidelli finished fifth fastest ahead of Lorenzo Baldassarri (Forward Team) and Thomas Luthi (Garage Plus Interwetten) in seventh who has been so determined since recovering from his double shoulder dislocation. Xavier Simeon (QMMF Racing Team), Sandro Cortese (Dynavolt Intact GP) and Takaaki Nakagami (IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia) complete the top ten riders at the end of FP1.

Cardus returns to replace Vazquez

This round, Ricky Cardus (JP MotoMalaysia) will be replacing injured Efren Vazquez aboard the Suter. He has looked promising already and his experience has shown as he finished 15th fastest by the end of the first session. Wildcard Federico Fuligni (Team Ciatti) will be making a wildcard appearance in front of his home crowd at Mugello.

Better conditions for Free Practice 2

Conditions had really improved meaning that things heated up on the track also during Free Practice 2. In the late stages it looked like it was going to be Luca Marini (Forward Team) who may have claimed the fastest laptime however he was only strong in the first two sections at his home track and settled in eighth. He was unable to beat the time set by Cortese who was fastest towards the end of day one with a time of 1:52.993.

However on his last lap Zarco improved on Cortese’s time by 0.049 and so claimed the fastest time of the day again with a time of 1:52.944, which was an improvement of over half a second on his fastest time in FP1; this pushed Cortese down to second. His times were not far off the records previously held by Tito Rabat and Lowes in 2015. The Circuit Record Lap (recorded during the race only) is held by Rabat with a time of 1:52.530, however Lowes set the best ever time here last year with a time of 1:51.514.

Crash for Corsi leaves him down the ranks

Nakagami finished third fasteast ahead of Morbidelli in fourth and Hafizh Syahrin (Petronas Raceline Malaysia) in fifth. Baldassarri was sixth fastest at the end of day one ahead of Speed Up rider Simeon who now became the fastest Speed Up rider after Corsi crashed out at turn two. His team managed to get his bike back together in time for him to practice for the nine remaining minutes. However he lost a lot of time and finished thirteenth despite improving his own time by 0.376 seconds.

Lowes also ran into the gravel at turn one near to the end of the session and had to settle for ninth fastest ahead of Alex Marquez (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS) in tenth. Current championship leader Alex Rins (Paginas Amarillas HP 40) was 11th fastest at the end of day one nearly half a second slower than leader Zarco, he was followed by Luthi in 12th.

Britain’s Danny Kent was 20th fastest in his rookie Moto2 year with Leopard Racing Team three places behind his former rival, now teammate Miguel Oliveira. The fastest Tech 3 rider at the end of FP2 was Isaac Vinales (Tech 3 Racing) who finished just ahead of his teammate Xavi Vierge in 26th. Cardus was behind Vierge in 27th as the top (and only Suter). Wildcard Fuligni was two spots behind him.

Too close to call?

It looks to be close at Mugello for the sixth round of the Moto2 Championship as 19 riders finished within a second of the time set by leader Zarco. Day two the riders have one more Free practice session before Qualifying ahead of the race on Sunday.