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.
The weather in Catalunya wasn’t quite as cheerful as we’re used to but despite the cloud cover, it was warm and dry for the intermediate class’ first outing. After top rookie Raul Fernandez held onto top spot on the timing screens for most of the morning, namesake Augusto Fernandez took over at the top in the closing stages. Teammate Sam Lowes also showed solid early pace as he climbed into second position, a tenth of a second behind his colleague, while Remy Gardner also got ahead of his teammate to claim third.
The weekend’s excellent racing in the smaller classes at Mugello paled in significance to the passing of a rising star.
Jason Dupasquier 2001-2021
The racing world was rocked by news of the tragic passing of Jason Dupasquier at the Italian Grand Prix. The 19-year old paid a terrible price for the most minor of mistakes when chasing a fast time in the closing minutes of Moto3 qualifying. A sickening collision that involved Ayumu Sasaki and Jeremy Alcoba left him with serious head injuries, to which he eventually succumbed.
Confirmation of Dupasquier’s death came through a few minutes after noon on Sunday, just as the Moto2 grid was forming. The incident cast a huge shadow over race day, with several riders – Pecco Bagnaia and Danilo Petrucci included – stating they wished racing had been cancelled. A minute of silence was held just ten minutes before the MotoGP race start and each of the podium finishers dedicated their results to the fallen rider.
Any death is obviously tragic. But the fact Dupasquier was three months shy of his 20th birthday made it even more so. Hailing from Bulle in Switzerland, in some ways you could say Jason was destined to have an interest in two wheels. Father Philippe was former podium finisher in the 125cc Motocross World Championship as a privateer, and worked for KTM Switzerland for 20 years.
Moto2 standings after the Italian Grand Prix at Mugello:
Results and summary of the Moto2 race in Mugello:
Results and summary of qualifying for the Moto2 class in Mugello:
The intermediate class got one final chance to secure a direct Q2 position and although Sam Lowes topped Friday’s action, he was in a rush to leave his mark on FP3 as well, imrpoving his own benchmark on only his second lap of the session. The British rider went on to set a new lap record and rival Raul Fernandez spend the rest of the session threatening that time. The rookie got the job done eventually and improved the old record by over half a second in the closing stages of FP3. Remy Gardner reduced the gap to his teammate to one tenth of a second, while Lowes was demoted to third.
Sam Lowes closed Day 1 at Mugello by topping the second practice session, as well as the combined standings in the intermediate class, taking over top spot for the final five minutes of FP1. Until that moment, Raul Fernandez had led the way for much of the session, also adding an impressive save at San Donato to his rookie repertoire. After a low-key morning, Jorge Navarro climbed up to third, three tenths off the leader and another tenth ahead of home favourite Marco Bezzecchi.
A sunny Mugello greeted the intermediate class for their first outing of the weekend and it was the same familiar names towards the top of the timesheets. After the lead changed hands a few times, Joe Roberts took over by two tenths of a second, right after his save made it into the highlights reel. Championship leader Remy Gardner got demoted to second, ahead of rival Sam Lowes and closely followed by rookie Raul Fernandez.