Bastianini breaks Le Mans lap record on Friday

2022-05-13 06:36
Beast mode engaged! The Italian tops Day 1 ahead of Aleix Espargaro and Rins

Enea Bastianini (Gresini Racing MotoGP™) was back in Beast mode at the SHARK Grand Prix de France, fastest on Friday and with a new lap record of a 1'31.148 despite a subsequent crash. The Gresini rider heads the timesheets into Saturday by two tenths ahead of Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing), who's keeping that constant presence in the top echelons rolling. Alex Rins (Team Suzuki Ecstar) completed the top three, less than a tenth off the Aprilia ahead.

Repsol Honda Team's Pol Espargaro put in a 1:31.771 to end the first session of the weekend on top, the Spaniard with 0.109s to spare over compatriot Rins. Jerez winner Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati Lenovo Team) completed the top three ahead of reigning World Champion, home hero and Spanish GP sparring partner Fabio Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP™), with Aleix Espargaro rounding out the front five.

2020 World Champion Joan Mir made sure it was both GSX-RRs in the top six at the start of the weekend, with Maverick Viñales (Aprilia Racing), Johann Zarco (Pramac Racing) and Luca Marini (Mooney VR46 Racing Team) rounding out the top 10.

It was a drama-free session for the top ten, but less so for KTM. Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) crashed at Turn 3, rider ok, and teammate Miguel Oliveira went down twice, at Turns 6 and 10. The Portuguese rider headed to the Medical Centre for an X-Ray on his hand and was given the all-clear. Tech3 KTM Factory Racing’s Raul Fernandez also fell at Turn 10, rider ok.

Bastianini also crashed, at Garage Vert, and Franco Morbidelli (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP™) went down at Turn 11.

On the flip side, Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) didn’t crash but did put in a memorable save as he picked up his RC213V on the kerb at Turn 8.

Bagnaia had been fastest for much of the 45-minute session before Aleix Espargaro took over, but Bastianini then clocked a 1:31.523. However, the Italian had the lap chalked off after a shortcut at Chemin aux Boeufs, but he regrouped with a 1:31.148s just before the chequered flag, aka a new lap record.

No sooner had he reset Johann Zarco’s All Time Lap Record, which dates back to 2018, did the Italian have a spill when he lost the front at the Turn 3/Turn 4 chicane. Rider ok though, and top of the timesheets.

Aleix Espargaro also improved his laptime but remained second in the session, and overall, having notched up a 1:31.350. Rins had been second-quickest in FP1 and proved that was no fluke with third in FP2, too.

Zarco grabbed some headlines too as he almost crashed at Turn 2 but pressed on through the gravel trap and rejoined, but despite that the Frenchman moved up to fourth overall. He ended the day as second Ducati, just pipping Bagnaia.

Mir crashed in the session, rider ok, and Jack Miller (Ducati Lenovo Team) suffered a spill and a run off, rider also ok.

Provisional Q2 places
Behind Bastianini, Aleix Espargaro, Rins, Zarco and Bagnaia, it's reigning Champion Quartararo who slots into sixth. KTM’s Brad Binder is seventh ahead of Mir, with Pol Espargaro in the combined top 10 by virtue of his FP1 benchmark. Jorge Martin (Pramac Racing) was ninth in FP2 and 10th overall.

With work to do in FP3 is therefore Miller, who sits 11th on combined times, and Marc Marquez down in P15. Can they hit back in FP3 and move through? That starts at 9:55 (GMT +2), before qualifying from 14:10!
1 Enea Bastianini (Gresini Racing MotoGP™) - Ducati - 1'31.148
2 Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing) - Aprilia - +0.202
3 Alex Rins (Team Suzuki Ecstar) - Suzuki - +0.297

Aleix Espargaro and Aprilia continue to impress
And Rins began the French GP near the top
Chantra breaks lap record for Friday honours at Le Mans
The Thai rider is quickest out the blocks in France, ahead of the Red Bull KTM Ajo duo
Somkiat Chantra (Idemitsu Honda Team Asia) topped Day 1 at the SHARK Grand Prix de France, the Thai rider breaking the lap record early doors. He heads into Saturday fastest ahead of Pedro Acosta (Red Bull KTM Ajo), but it's close at the top with the two split by just 0.058. Acosta's teammate Augusto Fernandez is third overall, and did almost put in the fastest lap of the day before yellow flags saw the lap cancelled.

Chantra was on lap-record pace in FP1, but the headlines were somewhat stolen by two riders who finished further down the timesheets. An incident between World Championship leader Celestino Vietti (Mooney VR46 Racing Team) and fellow title contender Aron Canet (Flexbox HP 40) saw the two come together. Vietti tried to go down the inside of Canet as they rounded the Garage Vert double right-hander (Turn 8), where they made side-to-side contact which put both on the floor. Riders ok, however, and after investigation the Stewards also decided no further action.

They were not the only late crashers either, with Jorge Navarro (Flexbox HP40), Jake Dixon (Inde GASGAS Aspar Team), and Marcel Schrötter (Liqui Moly Intact GP) all having single-rider spills.

Back at the top though, Chantra went underneath Francesco Bagnaia’s four-year-old All Time Lap Record for the Moto2™ class with his 1:36.108 on his penultimate lap. That effort put him 0.155 clear of Fernandez, with Stefano Manzi taking an impressive third as he continues as injury replacement for Keminth Kubo at the Yamaha VR46 Master Camp Team.

Vietti was sixth, Jerez winner Ai Ogura (Idemitsu Honda Team Asia) 12th, Tony Arbolino (Elf Marc VDS Racing Team) 16th on a 1:37.158, and Canet 22nd.

With around five minutes to go in the second session of the day, it looked like Fernandez had taken over on top with a 1:36.030, but the Spaniard had gone through a yellow flag triggered by a crash for Marcel Schrötter (Liqui Moly Intact GP). So the lap was cancelled, and Thailand stayed top overall.

Top in the session, however, went to rookie Acosta, with Fernandez third fastest in FP2 on a 1:36.394, down on his best from FP1. Chantra was second fastest in the afternoon.

Provisional Q2 places
Chantra heads the timesheets from Acosta, with Fernandez third but his FP1 lap his quickest. Sam Lowes (Elf Marc VDS Racing Team) is fourth, ahead of Arbolino and Schrötter. Manzi, Dixon and Ogura are next up, with Albert Arenas (Inde GASGAS Aspar Team) completing the top ten.

Vietti was P11 by the end of play, ahead of another good performance from Barry Baltus (RW Racing GP) in 12th.

Alonso Lopez (MB Conveyors Speed Up) had a very impressive Friday as he makes his full-time Moto2™ World Championship debut. He was 13th despite a crash, and just pipped Canet as the Pons rider takes 14th; the last currently on to move through...

Tune in at 10:55 (GMT +2) for FP3 to decide the final Q2 entrants, before qualifying from 15:10.
1 Somkiat Chantra (Idemitsu Honda Team Asia) - Kalex - 1'36.108
2 Pedro Acosta (Red Bull KTM Ajo) - Kalex - +0.058
3 Augusto Fernandez (Red Bull KTM Ajo) - Kalex - +0.155

Foggia takes 0.428s advantage into Saturday in France
The Championship challenger bounces back, with points leader Garcia just inside the top 14
Leopard Racing’s Dennis Foggia ruled Friday at the SHARK Grand Prix de France in Le Mans, the Italian recording the three fastest laps of FP2 for an impressive 1:41.680 as his best effrot. That leaves him 0.428s clear of title rival and Jerez winner Izan Guevara (Gaviota GASGAS Aspar Team), with Leopard's Tatsuki Suzuki in P3.

Championship leader Sergio Garcia (Gaviota GASGAS Aspar Team), meanwhile, finds himself down in P15 and he'll be looking for a place in Q2 on Saturday.

Leopard set out their stall early, with Foggia leading a one-two atop the timesheets thanks to a 1:42.184. An impressive run gave the Italian 0.277s to spare over teammate Suzuki, with Andrea Migno (Rivacold Snipers Team)

Source: Dorna Sports

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