Fenati dominates free practices in Moto 3

It was the Italian rider, Romano Fenati, who dominated the majority of the free practices today consistently improving his times. A crash at the end of the FP2 deterred him from finishing in the top spot as Enea Bastianini took over as the fastest man of the day.

Fenati dominates free practices in Moto 3
Fenati lead the sessions throughout the majority of the day | Photo: Getty

It was a grey start to the free practices this morning, meaning it was a slow start for the Moto 3 riders at the Sachsenring, Germany. They took to tricky conditions and a cold track as spots of rain began to show. It was Romano Fenati (Sky Racing Team VR46) who came across strongest in the FP1 and FP2 throwing in a series of fast laps, improving on each one.

The top six have constantly changed throughout the day, showing that it could be an interesting race on Sunday. Championship contender, Jorge Navarro (Estrella Galicia 0,0), also returned to his bike after injuring his leg, and sitting out the last two rounds.

The Moto 3 championship have two new German wildcards to participate this weekend, Tim Georgi and Maximillian Kappler who will both be riding on a KTM.  

Rain was looming over the circuit throughout FP1

The clouds sat across the circuit causing the track temperature to drop right down. As the riders began to get a feeling on their tyres, it was clear who was feeling most comfortable. Fenati began to throw in some fast laps taking advantage of the dry conditions before the rain started to fall.

As the session began, it was taking a while for the riders to get up to speed. It was Philipp Oettl (Schedl GP Racing) who first went into the 1:30’s with a time of 1:30.993. As the rest of the field began to follow these times, it wasn’t long before the timings got even quicker hitting the 1:29’s. Fenati was on form as he was first to do this, hitting the top spot with a 1:29.804. Little did he know, he was towing along Andrea Locatelli (Leopard Racing) as he was dragged into second place with 1:29.825. Fenati finished the session on top with 1:28.196 after working his way up through the 1:28’s showing he is clearly the strongest here this weekend.

First impressions after FP1 shows there are a few riders to watch

All eyes were on German rider Oettl as his times were also continuing to improve, but with 28 minutes to go he suffered an unfortunate crash at turn one seeing him drop down the timings list. Enea Bastianini (Gresini Racing Team Moto3) put himself in second during qualifying last year at this circuit, so he was another rider to watch. He lived up to expectations as he also continued to improve his times swapping around in the top five throughout the whole session.

The world championship leader, Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Ajo), showed he is unstoppable as he was the first rider to reach the 1:28’s with just over 10 minutes of the session to go. He struggled to do the maximum as he kept hitting traffic around the track, and was having to battle to get a clear path to try and improve on his times. However, he did manage to improve and finished in second with 1:28.607.

With just seven minutes to go we saw Navarro join the track, looking very uncomfortable with his leg. As he carefully put his leg over his Moto 3 machine, it was a slow session for the Spaniard as he sat in 24th place. Navarro broke his leg in a training accent in Valencia, just a week after taking the win in Catalunya.

Navarro has returned to the Moto 3 class after breaking his leg | Photo: Getty
Navarro has returned to the Moto 3 class after breaking his leg | Photo: Getty

The clouds were still out at the start of the FP2

The weather continued to doom down on the Sachsenring as the Moto 3 riders went back out on track for the second free practice. It was another slow start to the session as riders were in and out swapping and changing tyres and settings. There wasn’t much action as riders once again tried to find a setting they were comfortable with before throwing in faster laps.

Times reached the 1’28’s straight away

Although riders were taking time to get a good feeling, this time they were straight up into the 1:28’s. It was Locatelli who kicked off the session with a 1:28.764, soon improving with a 1:28.414. At this point it was clear who was going to be your top riders over the weekend, as once again the top six were consistently throwing in similar times.

FP2 brought the first turn 11 crash of the weekend

Darryn Binder (Platinum Bay Real Estate) had the first fall of the weekend on turn 11, right at the start of the session. Luckily the rider was unhurt, and the bike was somehow undamaged allowing him to ride it back to the pits. This is a crash that will certainly go down in history as it is not often a bike is still in one piece on this bend, as most of the time riders can only watch on as it goes crashing down the hill.

Jorge Martin (ASPAR Mahindra Team Moto3) had to retire at the start of the race due to an engine problem. The ASPAR rider then had to sit and watch the session pass by from the pit lane as the mechanics worked on the bike, pulling it apart piece by piece.

Bastianini was putting in consistent times before topping the FP2 | Photo: www.masmoto.net
Bastianini was putting in consistent times before topping the FP2 | Photo: www.masmoto.net

Oettl wants to impress at him home GP

After his crash in the morning practice, Oettl was back in FP2 to try and impress his home crowd once again. He continued his good pace at the start of the session instantly popping up into the 1:28’s with a time of 1:28.726 putting him into 4th place. Unfortunately towards the end of the session he began to fall down the order again, ending his day in 17th after not improving on this time. However, it seems the German has the pace and will try and continue to improve tomorrow.

Bastianini proved he is strong at this circuit

Niccolo Antonelli (Ongetta-Rivacold) joined the party in the afternoon session after staying fairly quiet in the morning. He started to appear in second place with a time of 1:28.726 and was continuing this pace. It was clear the Italian was perhaps pushing too hard, as not long after he crashed out at turn seven and got caught up in his bike as he slid across the gravel. Luckily he was able to walk away unharmed, but this effected the rest of his session.

The world championship leader, Binder, was struggling to stay at the top as Fenati and Bastianini continued to put in fast laps dominating the top of the time sheets. He was unable to reach into the 1:27’s as he finished his day in fourth with 1:28.250. With Fenati at the top it seemed he was going to finish the session as the leader as he was still continuing to improve. With just two minutes left of the session, he collided with Adam Norrodin (Drive M7 SIC Racing Team) at turn seven. This allowed Bastianini to sneak into the top spot, as he put in a time of 1:27.496, making him, Fenati and Nicolo Bulega (Sky Racing Team VR46) the only riders to reach the 1:27’s today.

The Peugeot’s were also having a good day as birthday boy, John Mcphee (Peugeot MC Saxoprint), and his team mate Alexis Masbou (Peugeot MC Saxoprint), slotted themselves in the top 10 throughout most of the day. Their day ended in 13th and 14th place which the team should be really pleased with.

With the mixed conditions today, it has made it very difficult to see the rider’s full potential. The sun is set to come out tomorrow for the qualifying, so will the top riders stay the same?

Moto 3 free practice results

Position Rider Free practice one Free practice two Bike/Nationality
1 33 Enea Bastianini 1:28.634 1:27.496 Honda / ITA
2 5 Romano Fenati 1:28.196 1:27.589 KTM / ITA
3 8 Nicolo Bulega 1:29.246 1:27.944 KTM / ITA
4 19 Gabriel Rodrigo 1:29.110 1:28.176 KTM / ARG
5 41 Brad Binder 1:28.607 1:28.250 KTM / RSA
6 95 Jules Danilo 1:29.346 1:28.341 Honda / FRA
7 55 Andrea Locatelli 1:29.010 1:28.391 KTM / ITA
8 58 Juanfran Guevara 1:29.729 1:28.398 KTM / SPA
9 21 Francesco Bagnaia 1:29.038 1:28.419 Mahindra / ITA
10 23 Niccolo Antonelli 1:29.460 1:28.479 Honda / ITA
11 11 Livio Loi 1:29.252 1:28.501 Honda / BEL
12 9 Jorge Navarro 1:30.099 1:28.521 Honda / SPA
13 17 John Mcphee 1:29.173 1:28.601 Peugeot / GBR
14 10 Alexis Masbou 1:30.147 1:28.629 Peugeot / FRA
15 88 Jorge Martin 1:28.635 No time set Mahindra / SPA
16 84 Jakub Kornfeil 1:29.494 1:28.639 Honda / CZE
17 65 Philipp Oettl 1:29.250 1:28.726 KTM / GER
18 64 Bo Bendsneyder 1:28.948 1:28.840 KTM / NED
19 76 Hiroki Ono 1:29.359 1:28.965 Honda / JPN
20 16 Andrea Migno 1:28.984 1:29.094 KTM / ITA
21 44 Aron Canet 1:30.671 1:29.004 Honda / SPA
22 20 Fabio Quartararo 1:29.726 1:29.012 KTM / FRA
23 6 Maria Herrera  1:30.465 1:29.069 KTM / SPA
24 4 Fabio Di Giannantonio 1:29.478 1:29.346 Honda / ITA
25 43 Stefano Valtulini 1:30.510 1:29.465 Mahindra / ITA
26 89 Khairul Idham Pawi 1:31.276 1:29.576 Honda / MAL
27 40 Darryn Binder 1:29.599 No time set Mahindra / RSA
28 7 Adam Norrodin 1:30.089 1:29.677 Honda / MAL
29 24 Tatsuki Suzuki 1:30.347 1:29.704 Mahindra / JPN
30 36 Joan Mir 1:29.969 1:29.752 KTM / SPA
31 22 Danny Webb 1:31.019 1:29.954 Mahindra / GBR
32 77 Lorenzo Petrarca 1:31.792 1:30.391 Mahindra / ITA
33 97 Maximillian Kappler 1:31.678 1:30.671 KTM / GER
34 3 Fabio Spiranelli 1:32.428 1:30.750 Mahindra / ITA
35 27 Tim Georgi 1:32.494 1:31.048 KTM / GER