The final practice session for the MotoE cup brought Fermín Aldeguer firmly into the limelight, the impressive rookie leading the way throughout the session. Eric Granado joined the action late but quickly came within a tenth of a second of the leader, with Jordi Torres in third and three tenths off top spot. Yonny Hernandez and Miquel Pons rounded out the top five, with Dominique Aegerter and Mattia Casadei also within half a second of Aldeguer. Lukas Tulovic briefly joined the top three but got demoted to eighth place due to a late yellow flag infringement.
Barcelona, Catalunya, Spain
The final practice session of the premier class was a familiar sight with championship leader Remy Gardner demoting the Fernandez clan out of the limelight in the closing stages of FP3. Teammate Raul Fernandez was only two hundredths of a second back, while Augusto Fernandez dropped to third, after having led the way for most of the session. Aron Canet in fourth adds a third Spaniard to the mix, while Bo Bendsneyder joined the top five early on.
The premier class returned to a much sunnier Montmeló on Saturday morning and the improved conditions saw the lap record improved further and gaps reduced throughout the field. Johann Zarco’s Friday benchmark stood until the final 15 minutes of FP3, when Fabio Quartararo anticipated the shootout and posted the first 1:38 time of the weekend, leaving rivals with a half second gap to recover. The timing screens only really turned red in the final couple of minutes and Franco Morbidelli promptly reminded his former teammate of his speed despite the antique material underneath him.
The sun finally found its way to Barcelona and there was no cloud in sight for the final practice session of the Moto3 class. Gabriel Rodrigo started the day like he finished Friday, at the top of the timesheets at the start of FP3 and maintained his prime position on the combined standings until the final shootout for Q2 places. With the habitual waiting around and faffing about, the time attack lasted only one lap but timing screens turned red all over and the order changed quite drastically.
Once upon a time, Barcelona was regarded as one of the great motorcycling tracks, all sweeping corners demanding the utmost concentration and skill. So much of a motorcycling track was it that a couple of sections had to be put into it to make it a better track for cars, and especially for F1. The grand sweep of La Caixa had a hairpin inserted, to give the cars somewhere to brake. And Turn 13 had a tight little chicane added on the inside, to slow the cars down before they got onto the straight. Four fat tires meant they were at risk of going through the final corner so fast that would be within spitting distance of the sound barrier by the end of the straight.
Then Luis Salom died when he crashed on the outside of Turn 13, hit by his bike as he slid into a wall along a section of hard standing which nobody thought needed gravel, something which turned out to be a misconception. Questions about safety were raised, and the F1 layout was adopted. A great motorcycle track ruined.
MotoE closed day 1 in Catalunya and Lukas Tulovic was the fastest rider over the two sessions, half a tenth ahead of reigning champion Jordi Torres. Yonny Hernandez is making obvious progress to join the top three, a tenth ahead of FP1 leader Eric Granado. Fermìn Aldeguer continued to shine and completed the top five, while Dominique Aegerter in sixth place was the only other rider posting a time within half a second of the leader. Miquel Pons, Alessandro Zaccone, Mattia Casadei and Xavi Cardelus completed a top 10 covered by one second.
Cloud cover was still firmly over the circuit for the intermediate class’ second practice session and even though track conditions meant bigger improvements on the timesheets in the other classes, progress in Moto2 was limited. That didn’t stop Raul Fernandez from going fastest overall in the final quarter of the session and his time stood until the checkered flag waved. The rookie ended the day two tenths of a second quicker than teammate Remy Gardner, followed by the Marc VDS duo of Sam Lowes and Augusto Fernandez, all of whom failed to go any quicker than FP1.
A still overcast Barcelona circuit set the scene for the second practice session of the day but given the improved conditions and the extra handful of experience on the revised layout, FP1 times were quick to tumble. Franco Morbidelli claimed top spot early in the session and went unchallenged until the final time attack, when Johann Zarco snuck ahead by two hundredths of a second, both riders also looking strong on pace.
The second set of practice sessions started with clouds scattered around the track, to match the scattering of fans in the stands. The latter was much more welcomed than the former but rain kept away and riders got plenty of time to work on their pace and their place in the top 14. Gabriel Rodrigo set camp at the top of the timing screens early on but there were no significant improvements on the combined standings until the quick shootout at the end of the session.
The MotoE cup returned to the paddock in Montmeló and fresh off his victory in Le Mans, Eric Granado was keen to head back to the top of the timesheets in FP1. The Brazilian topped the session by a tenth of a second from Jordi Torres and with Lukas Tulovic joining them in the top three. Yonny Hernandez held top spot for much of the session before dropping back to fourth, while Mattia Casadei joined the top five. Fermìn Aldeguer returned to the class after a short and reasonably successful outing in Moto2 and kept his speed to go sixth fastest in FP1, ahead of fellow rookie Miquel Pons.