Simone Corsi was the fastest man in the final session of free practice for the Moto2 class, the Italian taking over from Johann Zarco in the final minutes of practice. Championship leader Zarco was quickest for most of the session, clearly in command of Moto2 and doing well in every session at every track. Luis Salom took 3rd, outshining his HP Pons teammate, Alex Rins down in lowly 12th spot. Reigning champion Tito Rabat was close to the pace of Corsi and Zarco, less than two tenths behind the top two, and fractionally faster than Jonas Folger. Rabat's Marc VDS teammate Alex Marquez is having his strongest weekend of the season so far, ending FP3 in 6th, a third of a second behind Corsi.
Press releases from the Moto2 and Moto3 teams after practice at Barcelona:
Johann Zarco was the fastest of the Moto2 riders on Friday morning at Barcelona, the championship leader setting the pace from the very beginning of the session. Sam Lowes translated a successful test into speed during FP1, the Speed Up rider taking 2nd spot a quarter of a second behind Zarco. It was only by the very narrowest of margins, however: Lowes was just one thousandth of a second faster than Jonas Folger in third, while Tito Rabat ended the session in 4th, a further six thousandths behind Folger.
Press release previews from the Moto2 and Moto3 teams:
Press releases from the Moto2 and Moto3 teams after Sunday's races at Mugello:
Over the past two years, Marc Márquez and his team have proven to be a master of strategy. They have found a number of innovations, most notably the two-stop, three-run strategy during qualifying, and the bunny hop bike swap during flag-to-flag races. Santi Hernandez has earned his reputation as a brilliant crew chief, and as a strategist capable of finding advantages in places where other teams simply haven't thought of looking.
So for Márquez to first miss out on going straight to Q2, and then make a fatal error again in Q1 leaving him in thirteenth is frankly shocking. Two major blunders in one day is unlike Márquez' side of the Repsol Honda garage, and their worst mistake since Phillip Island in 2013, where they miscounted laps for the compulsory pit stop and Márquez found himself disqualified.
What caused them to mess up like this? Concern about the championship, and then a touch of hubris. Márquez spent FP3 working on set up for used tires, looking at pace later on in the race. That meant he had little time at the end of the session to push for a fast lap, and found himself bumped out of the top ten as the pace hotted up. He missed out on Q2 by a very narrow margin: just 0.009 separated him from Maverick Viñales in tenth, and less than a hundredth of a second from Bradley Smith in a very safe eighth spot.
Press releases from the Moto2 and Moto3 teams after qualifying at Mugello:
Tito Rabat set the new lap record at the Mugello circuit in Italy Friday to top the second free practice session. Rabat's 1.52.311 put him one-thousandths of a second in front of championship leader Johann Zarco (2nd). The time bettered Pol Espargaro’s former record of 1’52.369 from 2012.
Sam Lowes ended his session another two-tenths back in third followed by Thomas Luthi (4th) and Simone Corsi in fifth.
Rabat, who set a fast pace throughout the latter half of the 45-minute session, set his record time with six minutes left in the day's final practice. The current world champion has not won a race this year and sits 36 points behind Zarco in the 2015 world championship. He finished second at the previous race at Le Mans.
Sam Lowes topped the first session of free practice for the Moto2 class at Mugello, but only by a very narrow margin. The Speed Up rider just edged ahead of Tom Luthi to take first, leaving the Swiss rider in 2nd. Tito Rabat ended the session in 3rd, after running a fast pace in the latter part of practice, and finished less than a tenth of a second slower than Lowes. Simone Corsi ended in 4th, while Johann Zarco finished in 5th.