moto3 / Quartararo leads Leopard Racing charge as Mir rises
The French and Spanish rider were able to noticeably improve during the second practice session, Locatelli looks for cornering stability.
Friday Free Practice at the Gran Premi de Catalunya, the seventh round of the 2016 season on track at the Montmelo circuit. It was a day kissed by the sun with optimal temperatures but the three riders of Leopard Racing struggled to find an ideal setting for their KTM RC250 GP.
In the first run of FP1 Fabio Quartararo, Andrea Locatelli and Joan Mir began with the same settings used last race in Mugello. The results were not as they wanted and they devised a plan for the second session of the day. In the afternoon session the three aces pushed their bikes to significantly improve their lap times and subsequently improve their times.
After coming so close to victory two weeks ago in Mugello, just losing out down the straight, Fabio Quartararo was on track and focusing on himself, ending the day in 12th overall with a best time of 1’52.207, within a second of the leader. There’s still more to come from the French rider who is keeping his cards close to his chest.
It was a busy day for the ‘landlord’ of the track, Joan Mir. His morning session was hit by technical engine problems, the 18 year old rolling but his sleeves and improving his time by over two seconds. He eventually ended the day in 17th overall and is ready to battle for a vital top grid position tomorrow during Qualifying.
Locatelli arrived in Barcelona with the intention to leave behind the faux pas at his home race, but started the day in 23rd place. His time easily improved in the second session thanks to some changes to his suspension and moved to 21st overall.
Tomorrow the engines will turn on at 09:00 Local Time (GMT +2) for the third and final Free Practice session of the day. Moto3 will then head into Qualifying at 12:35 to decide the grid for the Catalan GP.
#20 Fabio QUARTARARO – 12th (1’52.207):
“Today started a bit complicated because in the first session I was really far behind but in FP2 we made a couple of guesses to modify the chassis that allowed us to improve. We hope to continue in this way tomorrow because we are a second back from the top. We have to recover, especially in the fast corners, but we already have some solutions in mind.”
#36 Joan MIR – 17th (1’52.659):
“I think we can be satisfied with how we’ve started the weekend given what happened in FP1 this morning. In the end, it was a positive day because we have been developing the bike a lot. I might not have been able to do a good single time but I am confident I can get into the group that matters.”
#55 Andrea LOCATELLI – 21st (1’52.812):
“It’s been quite a positive day because we were able to try different things on the bike, finding a bit of stability when cornering. This morning we struggled a bit and improved a bit in the afternoon. We found some traffic that cost me a few tenths but the direction seems to be the right one, we have to stay focused.”
Moto3™ Combined Free Practice Times:
1 – Niccolò Antonelli / ITA / Ongetta-Rivacold / Honda / 1’51.250
2 – Jorge Navarro / SPA / Estrella Galicia 0,0 / Honda / 1’51.511
3 – Brad Binder / RSA / Red Bull KTM Ajo / KTM / 1’51.625
12 – Fabio QUARTARARO / FRA/ Leopard Racing / KTM / 1’52.207
17 – Joan MIR / SPA / Leopard Racing / KTM / 1’52.659
21 – Andrea LOCATELLI / ITA / Leopard Racing / KTM / 1’52.812
Moto3™ Schedule (Local Time, GMT +2):
Saturday, 4th June:
09:00-09:40 – FP3
12:35-13:15 – QP
Photo credit: Leopard Racing