A few more hard tyres showed up to the party for the final practice session as riders went through their options for the race and showed their speed against rivals. Probably tired of the baby Frenchman stealing all his spotlight, Marc Marquez snatched back the final practice session with half a second in hand over Quartararo.
Silverstone, Great Britain
Results and summary of qualifying for the Moto3 class at Silverstone:
In usual Moto2 fashion, the intermediate class likes to settle things early on, Jorge Navarro putting his name at the top of the timesheets on lap six and most of the field immediately improving on their Friday times. Things settled until the final ten minutes of the session but no one could cope with the Spaniard’s early time so Navarro finished his morning at the top of the charts.
A bright and sunny day invited the premier class out to play and after some race-pace-calm-before-the-storm work, it was time to attack the all time lap record once again. Fabio Quartararo took the initiative to improve on his own benchmark from yesterday and promptly dropped it into the 1:58s, opening the final time attack with a bang. Things quickly calmed down and it looked like the Frenchman was a step too far ahead but then Valentino Rossi poured some gas on the fire in the final three minutes.
Day 2 at Silverstone started with an uncharacteristic spotless blue sky and the pleasant conditions perhaps gave an unwarranted boost of confidence to lightweight class riders. That led to a handful of early crashes form the likes of Kazuki Masaki, Riccardo Rossi and Alonso Lopez while John McPhee held the early lead. All was forgotten when riders left pitlane with only three minutes left of the session, chasing that one final flying lap to secure a Q2 position.
The final session of the day for the intermediate class had half its spotlight stolen by post-session premier class shenanigans but Jorge Navarro was not bothered in the slightest as he spent the entire session at the top of the timesheets. The Spaniard went seven tenths of a second quicker than the record his teammate had set in the FP1 and his lap three benchmark went unchallenged for the rest of the session.
The pleasantly warm afternoon outing for the premier class started like many premier class sessions start, with Marc Marquez at the top of the standings. The world champion established an early gap of over a second but then took a rare (of late) tumble at Vale, allowing rivals some time to catch up. Success was limited and an unharmed Marquez resumed his assault with eighth tenths in his pocket.
After a gloomy morning, the Moto3 class got a glimpse of sunshine for their afternoon session but the change in conditions didn’t make them keener on going faster. For the first 35 minutes of FP2 it was only early leader Romano Fenati and John McPhee who managed to improve on their FP1 benchmarks in the top ten but the final couple of laps saw fresh rubber and fresh tenths being found. No one managed to dethrone Tony Arbolino from the top of the combined standings but the flurry of fast times saw Albert Arenas claim the second session of the day.
The intermediate class got a first taster of the new surface at Silverstone and riders seemed to enjoy it straight away, nine of them blasting past the old lap record and 17 men finishing within one second of the leader. Said leader ended up being exceptional rookie Fabio Di Giannantonio, who finished eighth hundredths of a second ahead of Jorge Navarro. Tom Luthi fought his way into third, followed by championship leader Alex Marquez.
MotoGP was back at the scene of the last year’s rain-washed debacle, this time on a fresh surface that’s flatter than a yoga soundtrack. Fabio Quartararo made the most of the conditions, hitting the track with new tyres for the final couple of laps and getting within a hundredth of a second of Marc Marquez’s lap record. The world champion will be aiming to improve on his own record in FP2, after leading the way for most of FP1 but sticking to a longer trial of used medium rubber and therefore settling for second, half a second off his younger nemesis.