Moto3: Advantage Vietti after a tricky Day 1 in Valencia

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Celestino Vietti was fastest on Friday at the Europe GP, the Italian therefore also the top title challenger on the timesheets after a day of tricky conditions.


Vietti led 2019 Valencia GP winner Sergio Garcia by a couple of tenths, with Romano Fenati in hot pursuit in third.

Championship leader Albert Arenas (Valresa Aspar Team Moto3) ended the day down in P18, with closest rival Ai Ogura only a couple of places ahead of him. Jaume Masia (Leopard Racing), meanwhile, had a day of two halves and ends up outside the top twenty overall.


Masia retained his recent grip on the top in FP1 though, nearly three tenths clear of closest challenger Tatsuki Suzuki (SIC58 Squadra Corse) as the day began in the full wet. Kaito Toba (Red Bull KTM Ajo) was third quickest but four tenths down, with Alonso Lopez (Estrella Galicia 0,0) a tenth behind him. Tony Arbolino (Rivacold Snipers Team) completed the top five.

A good few riders fell foul of the tricky conditions. Yuki Kunii (Honda Team Asia), Tony Arbolino, Jason Dupasquier (CarXpert PrüstelGP) and long-time session leader Suzuki were the first riders to crash, with Barry Baltus (CarXpert PrüstelGP), Khairul Idham Pawi (Petronas Sprinta Racing) and Championship leader Albert Arenas going down too.

The latter high-sided on the exit of Turn 4 but thankfully, despite a heavy crash, the Spaniard was ok. Alonso Lopez (Sterilgarda Max Racing Team) and Max Kofler (CIP Green Power) also crashed at the end of the session. All riders ok.

John McPhee (Petronas Sprinta Racing) was sixth, Celestino Vietti ninth, Ai Ogura (Honda Team Asia) 20th and Arenas 25th.

With improved conditions, laptimes tumbled for the entirety of the field bar Ryusei Yamanaka (Estrella Galicia 0,0) in FP2. The Japanese rider suffered a heavy crash, although he was declared fit. Over six seconds off the pole position lap record was far from dry and perfect conditions, however.

Vietti led the afternoon session and therefore heads the combined timesheets by 0.201, with Garcia second as he returns to the scene of his first Grand Prix win. Fenati put Husqvarna in third, 0.018 off Garcia.

Raul Fernandez (Red Bull KTM Ajo) kept his Friday reputation for pace as he took fourth overall, although nearly half a second back, with the Spaniard ending the day just 0.022 clear of Filip Salač (Rivacold Snipers Team) as the Czech rider completed the top five.

Some of those in the top echelons of the Championship standings ended up a little further down the timesheets by the end of play. Arbolino was sixth and McPhee tenth, but Ogura was 16th, Arenas 18th and Masia ultimately down in P21 despite topping FP1... but then, conditions are likely to change on Saturday, and again for race day.

Carlos Tatay (Reale Avintia Moto3) was P7, ahead of Migno and Toba as they slotted in ahead of McPhee. From 11th to 14th, Lopez, Kunii, Darryn Binder (CIP - Green Power) and Riccardo Rossi (BOE Skull Rider Facile Energy) currently stand to move through to Q2.

How will the deck shuffle on Saturday? FP3 begins at 10:00 (GMT +1), before qualifying from 13:15.

Moto3: the five fastest on Friday

Celestino Vietti - Sky Racing Team VR46 - KTM 1:45.356
Sergio Garcia - Estrella Galicia 0,0 - Honda +0.201
Romano Fenati - Sterilgarda Max Racing Team - Husqvarna +0.219
Raul Fernandez - Red Bull KTM Ajo - KTM +0.494
Filip Salač - Rivacold Snipers Team - Honda +0.516