Augusto Fernandez, leader of the Moto2 World Championship, rode his Red Bull KTM Ajo to the top of the time sheets in an exciting first practice session for the Animoca Brands Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix. Before rain flags were raised across Phillip Island, Fernandez posted a time of 1:34.704, and although Jake Dixon (Inde GASGAS Aspar Team) went faster in the last minute, his time of 1:34.505 did not count because of a yellow flag at Doohan Corner (Turn 1). After Fernandez, the next four finishers were Filip Salac (Gresini Racing Moto2) in 1:34.778, Jack Dixon (Team BMW Sauber MotoGP) in 1:34.840, Somkiat Chantra (Idemitsu Honda Team Asia) in 1:34.970, and Tony Arbolino (Elf Marc VDS Racing Team) in 1:35.001.
Augusto Fernandez leads
Sixteenth-fastest was Ai Ogura of the Idemitsu Honda Team Asia, who trails Championship leader Fernandez by just 1.5 points with three races remaining. Former points leader Celestino Vietti of the Mooney VR46 Racing Team crashed after making contact with Alonso Lopez of the Beta Tools Speed Up at the ‘MG’ turn (Turn 10), an incident that the stewards were going to look into. Vietti was classified 25th. In the closing minutes of the practice, Niccolo Antonelli, a teammate of Vietti’s, crashed at Turn 4 before Jeremy Alcoba’s (Liqui Moly Intact GP) accident at Doohan Corner (Turn 1) brought out the red flag and lost Dixon his lap time. Then, with just a few laps remaining, Sean Dylan Kelly (American Racing) wrecked at MG, almost colliding with Marcel Schrötter’s motorcycle (Liqui Moly Intact GP).
Zonta van den Goorbergh (RW Racing GP), Pedro Acosta (Red Bull KTM Ajo), and Alessandro Zaccone (Aprilia) all went down in the first four minutes of practice, prompting the red flag (Gresini Racing Moto2). At first glance, it appeared that Acosta had been blown off the track, a theory that was bolstered when Vietti nearly experienced the same thing at Lukey Heights (Turn 9), but the stoppage was actually caused by dirt dragged back onto the track after a crash involving Manuel Gonzalez (Yamaha VR46 Master Camp Team) at the exit of Stoner Corner (Turn 3).
How much more of a flurry of activity can we expect this afternoon? The second practice session will get underway at 15:10 (GMT +11), so be sure to check in then.
FP1 Top 10 for Moto2
1. Augusto Fernandez (Red Bull KTM Ajo) – 1:34.704
2. Filip Salac (Gresini Racing Moto2) + 0.074
3. Jake Dixon (Inde GASGAS Aspar Team) + 0.136
4. Somkiat Chantra (Idemitsu Honda Team Asia) + 0.266
5. Tony Arbolino (Elf Marc VDS Racing Team) + 0.297
6. Bo Bendsneyder (Pertamina Mandalika SAG Team) + 0.314
7. Aron Canet (Flexbox HP40) + 0.346
8. Sam Lowes (Elf Marc VDS Racing Team) + 0.583
9. Albert Arenas (Inde GASGAS Aspar Team) + 0.591
10. Fermín Aldeguer (Beta Tools Speed Up) + 0.642
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