Christina Bulpett |
Photo: GeeBee Images
Leopard’s Dennis Foggia led the Moto3 times as chaos and confusion finally gave way to the roar of engines in Argentina with the Grand Prix kicking off later than expected on Saturday.
An early start to the MotoGP paddock saw teams of all classes unload and complete their usual Wednesday set-up at 4am on Saturday morning as the remaining cargo finally arrived at the Termas de Rio Hondo circuit. Gresini Racing and Mooney VR46 Ducati are the hardest hit of the premier class contenders with their entire pit infrastructure and bikes in final delivery.
With even Dunlop opening at 02:30 to help with junior class preparations, Moto3 successfully hit the track at 08:15 local time (12:15 BST) for the first of the extended free practice sessions. Leopard Racing and Red Bull KTM Ajo are the two teams most affected by the delays as their garages remained empty until the early hours. Despite this, the four leading riders raced down the pit lane as the green light went on for the opening session. 50 minutes on an incredibly dusty and most unknown track ahead of them.
KTM’s Jaume Masia led the way in time with a 1’50.594 as the action heated up, Tech3’s Deniz Öncü followed suit with Ayumu Sasaki’s solo Sterilgarda – due to the continued absence of John McPhee as he recovered from a fractured vertebra – completing the front three, just over half a second behind.
Leopard’s Dennis Foggia joined the fight halfway through, slipping to third and also setting a 1:50 lap. Vision Track’s Scott Ogden and John Whatley learned the 4.8km course from 20th and 24th respectively as the pair ran at a high pace of 1’58 just two tenths apart .
The final 20 minutes saw Foggia take the lead from rookie Diogo Moreira of MT Helmets. The Brazilian is enjoying his weekend closest to home, despite the changed schedule as Izan Guevara claims his place in the top five. Ogden’s improvements allowed the Briton to move up to 15th with a time of 1’15.860, ahead of Kaito Toba and Andrea Migno with a quarter of an hour to go.
The final ten minutes saw the track plummet as the field returned to the pit lane, Tatsuki Suzuki being the only rider left as the Leopard scored fourth before the hunt for the fast laps began.
KTM’s Daniel Holgado and Toba were the first to strike as the flying laps registered. Guevara and Moreira demoted the pair soon after with 1’49.373 the new time to beat as Ogden claimed their place in the top ten.
Foggia again took charge of the less than optimal track surface before pushing for more next time. The Italian just lost in the last sector after the checkered flag, his previous time of 1’49.268 remaining unbeaten at the end of the session.
Guevara, Moreira, Toba and Holgado competed in the top five ahead of Suzuki’s second Leopard with Ogden finishing his first glimpse of the Argentine circuit 13th overall, 1.1 seconds behind.
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