Conditions were cool in the Czech Republic as the Moto3 class took to the Automotodrom for the final Free Practice session before qualifying. It was like a race on track as the riders were bunched on track meaning that it was difficult to improve on times from day one. This mixed with the bumpy surface meant riders struggled.
Navarro leads the way on day two at Brno
Estrella Galicia 0,0 team rider Jorge Navarro initially took the lead on the FP3 timesheets until rookie Nicolo Bulega (Sky Racing Team) set a time of 2:08.569, the first rider to lap under 2:09 minutes, which became the time to beat.
Fenati sacked by his team, however Bulega did the business
The Sky Racing Team VR46 are down a rider this weekend as they have sacked Romano Fenati for repeat offences towards the team that is not in line with how the team work. Lorenzo Dalla Porta will replace him from the Silverstone round until the end of the season.
Bulega’s time was an improvement on his best from day one; however it was still off the pace as the cooler conditions were prohibiting riders from lapping at the previous times. The Italian continued to improve aboard his KTM with no slipas he rode around with his teammate Andrea Migno in tow.
Bastianini takes over
With ten minutes remaining Gresini Racing Moto3 rider Enea Bastianini was able to improve after a short visit to the track before returning to the pits. This woke up Red Bull KTM Ajo rider Brad Binder, who when also returned to track and went on to take 0.492 seconds off Bastianini’s time.
Brad Binder left his mark
Brad Binder became the first rider to lap under 2:08 minutes as he travelled round the track on his own. He managed to improve on his own time before entering the pits meaning that this time of 2:07.713 became the fastest time so far; despite the bumps spoiling his momentum.
Jorge Martin (Pull & Bear Aspar Mahindra) finished second in FP3 as the highest placed Mahindra; he finished ahead of Hiroki Ono (Honda Team Asia) in third as the fastest Honda on track. Bastianini was pushed down to fourth and Migno grabbed fifth ahead of his teammate Bulega in sixth.
Francesco Bagnaia was seventh fastest ahead of Fabio Quartararo (Leopard Racing) in eighth. The Estrella Galicia 0,0 teammates Aron Canet and Navarro completed the top ten at the end of FP3.
Overall Free Practice Top Ten
Overall, as Brad remained the fastest man at the end of Free Practice 3, his time was the quickest overall out of the three sessions. Migno was second fastest and Bastianini third. Martin was fourth fastest overall ahead of Ono and Bagnaia. Bulega was seventh quickest as the highest placed rookie ahead of Quartararo in eighth.
Gresini Racing Moto3 Honda rider Fabio Di Giannantonio was ninth fastest overall and Canet completed the top ten out of the three sessions. Navarro just missed out on the top ten finishing in eleventh. Albert Arenas crashed out in the final stages of FP3 at turn eight of the Automotodrom Brno; he finished twenty-fifth overall.
Qualifying was underway
Within ten minutes of the start of the session, wildcard Karol Hanika (Freudenberg Racing Team) crashed at turn eight. The back end of the bike came round and threw him up and over the bike and he ended up in the gravel.
Moments later Honda Team Asia rider Hiroki Ono crashed at turn nine as he touched the throttle on the exit of the turn. He slid with his bike into the gravel trap, but was able to return to the pits aboard his bike with his leathers looking the most damaged.
Martin top of the leaderboard
Martin's aggressive riding was paying off as he went top in the second third of the session and continued to chip away at his own time. Not long after Brad Binder shaved 0.454 seconds off his time and went to the top having recorded a lap of 2:07.684.
He was the first to smash through the 2:08 minute barrier with 16 minutes remaining. Moments later he went off track running onto the grass; his lap was cancelled as a result of it.
Quartararo was penalised for ‘irresponsible riding’ and so will be losing three places on the grid which means he will start from a row behind were he qualified.
A good majority of the riders pitted before the final ten minutes got underway. Riders waited patiently in the pits to return to track; in a line they queued up in the hope of gaining a tow from someone ahead of them.
Many waited for championship leader Brad Binder; when he returned to the track he ‘overcooked’ it heading into a right-hander and went into the dirty area, his lap time would have been cancelled.
Binder and Bastianini have laps cancelled
The leading group of the riders were flying; Bastianini led ahead of Migno and Martin as Brad Binder’s lap cancellation put him down in fourth. Bastianini also had his time cancelled as he ran wide during the lap; he ‘exceeded the track limit at turn 12’.
This meant that Migno returned to the top briefly before Brad Binder put in his last flying lap of the session of 2:07.785 to claim pole position ahead of the Czech GP.
In the final stages as riders continued to push, riders crashed
Bagnaia crashed out at turn eleven, having not qualified well so far. The Italian who was just celebrating his new signing with Sky Racing Team VR46 future Moto2 team, came off when the back end came round on him. He was unhurt and took his frustrations out on the airfence.
Moments later Bastianini crashed out of turn five. He was thrown over the bike and both landed in the gravel, he was unable to re-join the session which was coming to an end anyway.
There was no chance of him improving on his time now. He visited the medical Centre after the session but soon returned to his puts having being given the all clear.
Brad Binder claims another Moto3 pole position
- KTM rider Brad Binder will start the 11th round of the Moto3 season in pole position. He will be joined on the front row at the Automotodom Brno by Migno and Bastianini who managed to remain in third despite his crash, who completes the front row as the lead Honda.
Martin leads the second row as the highest placed Mahindra ahead of Di Giannantonio and rookie Bulega in sixth. Niccolo Antonelli (Ongetta-Rivacold), Schedl GP Racing Team rider Philipp Oettl and Canet make up the third row.
Eleventh for British rider McPhee
Drive M7 SIC Racing Team Honda rider Jakub Kornfeil will start his home GP in tenth, ahead of British rider John McPhee (Peugeot MC Saxoprint) and wildcard Karel Hanika (Freudenberg Racing Team) who will start from thirteenth despite crashing.
Joan Mir (Leopard Racing) who won his first Moto3 after starting from pole position from the first ever time in Austria will start from fourteenth, ahead of Juanfran Guevara (RBA Racing Team) who celebrated his 21st birthday yesterday, completes the fifth row.
Quartararo’s penalty puts him back a row
Quartararo who qualified in sixteenth will start from nineteenth because of his penalty. Bagnaia instead will start from sixteenth and will be joined on the sixth row by Ono and Andrea Locatelli (Leopard Racing).
Livio Loi (RW Racing GP BV) will join Quartararo on the seventh row along with Adam Norrodiin (Drive M7 SIC Racing Team). Gabriel Rodrigo (RBA Racing Team) will start in twenty-second, Darryn Binder (Platinum Bay Real Estate) in twenty-fourth and Jules Danilo (Ongetta-Rivacold) claims twenty-fifth.
Bo Bendsneyder (Red Bull KTM Ajo) heads the ninth row ahead of Tatsuzki Suzuki (CIP-Unicorn Starker) and Albert Arenas (Peugeot MC Saxoprint). The only female in the class Maria Herrera (MH6 Team) starts from twenty-eighth.
Khairul Idham Pawi (Honda Team Asia), Marcos Ramirez (Platinum Bay Real Estate), 3570 Team Italia teammates Stefano Valtulini and Lorenzo Petrarca, and Fabio Spiranelli (CIP-Unicorn Starker) complete the grid.