#BritishGP: Iannone leads the Friday charge

2016-09-03 14:53
The weather was the focus of the pre-event Press Conference at the British GP, and Friday's changeable weather did little to disappoint the hype. With mostly fine skies threatening rain and only brief wet interludes in Moto2™, FP1 at Silverstone Circuit saw Maverick Viñales (Team Suzuki Ecstar) take the top spot, as the Spaniard took over in the last few minutes of the session. Jorge Lorenzo (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) was second in the morning, ahead of Repsol Honda Team rider Marc Marquez - who took a tumble at Turn 12, but was uninjured. With the weather having stayed dry for the first session, despite the subsequent Moto2™ practice being interrupted by rain, MotoGP™ FP2 was also unaffected and saw all the grid improve their lap times.

Andrea Iannone (Ducati Team) led a lot of the second session of the day as the Italian machine's power comes into its own once again on the fast 5.9km Silverstone track, with Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda Team) just behind the Italian on the timesheets before the shootout began as the clock ticked down towards zero. Viñales was the first to set an all-red sector lap to take back the top spot, before winner last time out Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda) hit back and found some home form. Finally, it was Iannone who topped the session and therefore the day once again, with Viñales in second and home hero Crutchlow knocked down to P3.

Reigning champion Jorge Lorenzo (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP), who is the most successful rider at Silverstone Circuit, was fourth in FP2 after having been second in the morning session, ahead of the only man to have beaten him in the dry at the venue - Repsol Honda's Marc Marquez. Marquez avoided drama in the second session of the day with no further incidents, locking out the top five. 9-time world champion Valentino Rossi (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) was P6 on Friday as the Italian returns to a track he has traditionally struggled on in the dry, with Ducati Team's Andrea Dovizioso behind his compatriot in P7.

Aleix Espargaro (Team Suzuki Ecstar) was eighth fastest by the end of the second session, ahead of Dani Pedrosa in P9. Local rider Scott Redding (Octo Pramac Yakhnich) completed the top ten on the first day of action for his home round, after having also led part of the FP1 session in the morning.

FP3 on Saturday morning will now give riders their final chance to graduate directly to the Q2 qualifying session to fight for the top places on the grid, with the rest heading for Q1 and the chance to fight to move through as starting positions are decided for the British GP - with lights out on Sunday at the later hour of 15:30 local time (GMT+1).

Lowes quickest out the blocks in rain-hit Moto2™

Sam Lowes (GBR)
Brit tops Friday at Silverstone in the intermediate category

With only a few dry laps at the start of each FP session in Moto2™ on Friday at the Octo British Grand Prix, the race was on to make the most of the reduced dry track time. With the intermediate class getting the brunt of the British weather with rain in the middle of the first session followed by a repeat performance in FP2, the pack failed to shuffle greatly between the two, although the majority of the field did improve their times in the afternoon.

It was Sam Lowes (Federal Oil Gresini Moto2) who got down to business first, as the former WorldSSP champion took the top spot in the morning and remained fastest after the countdown to the end of Friday's track action. Lowes, who has a good record at Silverstone and is in the title fight in Moto2™ in 2016, kicked off his home weekend the way he will have wanted as he looks to get back on the top step. Takaaki Nakagami (Idemitsu Honda Team Asia) was second fastest on Friday as the Japanese rider's impressive 2016 continues, with wet weather Czech GP winner Jonas Folger (Dynavolt Intact GP) completing the top three.

Alex Marquez (Estrella Galicia 0,0) was third fastest in the morning and ended the day one lower in P4 as the 2014 Moto3™ world champion's good form continues, ahead of Swiss veteran Tom Luthi (Garage Plus Interwetten), who returns to action in Silverstone following his crash in qualifying in Brno that saw the former 125 world champion sit out the Czech GP.

Reigning champion Johann Zarco (Ajo Motorsport) was sixth by the end of the day, with the second Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS machine of Franco Morbidelli behind the Frenchman and ahead of fellow Italian Lorenzo Baldassari (Forward Racing). Simone Corsi (Speed Up Racing) was ninth quickest, ahead of Axel Pons (AGR Team), who completed the top ten.

Alex Rins (Paginas Amarillas HP 40) remained in P24 at the end of the day, but with a significantly quicker lap time as the Spaniard rides through the pain barrier after breaking his collarbone in a training crash ahead of the event.

The Moto2™ grid will now be hoping for a drier FP3 on Saturday morning, before they get back on track to fight it out for the starting grid ahead of Sunday's race.
Navarro heads the field on Friday

Jorge Navarro (SPA)
2015 pole setter fastest on Day 1 at the #BritishGP

Moto3™saw a few spots of rain ahead of the first practice session for the Octo British Grand Prix during the morning, but despite a rain shower that had stopped play in Moto2™ FP1, the afternoon session saw a dry track host the lower category once again. By the afternoon it was a similar host of names rising to the top in FP2 throughout the session, as Jorge Navarro (Estrella Galicia 0,0), Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Ajo) and Francesco Bagnaia (PULL&BEAR Aspar Mahindra) were initially the three to beat in FP1 and 2, before some late chargers saw changes on the timesheets.

Navarro eventually took charge on Friday as the pole man from 2015 took the top spot back from title rival Brad Binder in the last dash of the second session, stamping some authority on the day following the recent announcement that he will be moving to Moto2™ in 2017 with Federal Oil Gresini Moto2. Rookie Fabio Di Giannantonio (Gresini Racing Moto3) was third fastest in another impressive showing for the Italian in the UK, ending the day ahead of his more experienced teammate Enea Bastianini. With lap times in the afternoon much quicker than FP1, every rider on the grid went faster in the second session.

PULL&BEAR Aspar Mahindra rider Jorge Martin was fourth fastest, eventually getting the better of teammate Francesco Bagnaia (P6) in the afternoon after the Italian had been fastest in the morning, and Enea Bastianini (Gresini Racing Moto3) completed the top five. Niccolo Antonelli (Ongetta-Rivacold) was seventh behind his compatriot Bagnaia, ahead of the second Estrella Galicia 0,0 bike of Aron Canet in an impressive rookie Friday for the Spaniard. Hiroki Ono (Honda Team Asia) and Jules Danilo (Ongetta-Rivacold) completed the top ten.

Nicolo Bulega (Sky Racing Team VR46) was eleventh fastest in a solid start to the weekend, ahead of recently re-signed teammate Andrea Migno.

Saturday sees Moto3™ head out for one more practice session, before qualifying sets the grid for Sunday's 17-lap race.


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