Rain at Motegi made for a difficult session for the middle class
Moto2™ World Championship leader Augusta Fernandez (Red Bull KTM Ajo) continued to set the pace at the Motul Japanese Grand Prix, but it was Fermin Aldeguerre (Beta Tools Speed Up) who set the fastest lap in the rainy FP2 session. Unsurprisingly, there was no change to the overall top 14 at Mobility Resort Motegi on Saturday, which determines the initial group of drivers taking part in Q2, but Aldeguer showed good speed in the wet as he clocked 2:04.479 in the morning 40-minute session. Tony Arballino (Elf Marc VDS Racing Team) finished second, Aron Canet (Flexbox HP40) third and Fernandez was classified ninth.
The intermediate class looked like it might get a break from the rain that was coming down over Mategi, but the skies opened up again a few minutes after FP2. Philipp Salatz (Gresini Racing Moto2™) was fastest at 2:05.776 when the action was stopped due to a red flag, before improving to 2:05.268. Despite the rain intensifying, Arballino took the benchmark to 2:04.747 in just over 10 minutes before Aldeguer set the fastest lap of the session with five minutes to go. It’s a good sign for the 17-year-old Spaniard, who has effectively already booked his place in Q2 due to his exploits in FP1, just like Arballino.
Fastest in FP2 of those who will need to enter Q1 this afternoon, Kahne was third in 2:04.899, with Salak fourth in 2:04.917, which he set just before the crash at Turn 3, which brought his morning to an untimely end. Shimoku GASGAS Aspar Team duo Jake Dixon and Albert Arenas finished fifth and sixth respectively from Alonso Lopez (Beta Tools Speed Up), Somkiat Chantry (Idemitsu Honda Team Asia), Fernandez with 2:05.333 and Jorge Navarro (Flexbox HP40).
Staying upright is a difficult task
There was a brief red flag period after a dozen minutes of action to clear the Team Yamaha VR46 Master Camp of Manuel Gonzalez from going off the race track at Turn 6. González himself, fortunately, was conscious and walking despite the leg-ave, was walking at the Gonzalez Medical Center at the Medical Center for evaluation after experiencing pain in his right collarbone, shoulder and arm. Others who had spills during the session: Jeremy Alcoba (Liqui Moly Intact GP) at Turn 5, Joe Roberts (Italtrans Racing Team) at Turn 3, Zonta van den Gorberg (RW Racing GP) at Turn 5 , Kemint Kubo (Yamaha VR46 Master). Camp Team) at Turn 4 and Ai Ogura (Idemitsu Honda Team Asia) at Turn 8. The latter was high, but luckily the World Cup contender quickly got to his feet. Meanwhile, Acosta made a big save at Turn 3 in the final minutes of the session.
It looks like the rain has started and that will make the riders tense up during qualifying! Q1 starts later on Saturday at 13:30 (GMT +9).
1. Fermin Aldeguer (Tools Speed Up Beta) – 2:04.479
2. Tony Arballino (Elf Marc VDS Racing Team) +0.268
3. Aaron Canet (Flexbox HP40) + 0.420
4. Philip Salatz (Gresini Racing Moto2) +0.438
5. Jake Dixon (Shimoku GASGAS Aspar Team) + 0.497
6. Albert Arenas (Shimoku GASGAS Aspar Team) +0.645
7. Alonso Lopez (Beta Acceleration Tools) + 0.646
8. Somkiyat Chantra (Idemitsu Honda Team Asia) +0.801
9. Augusta Fernandez (Red Bull KTM Ajo) + 0.854
10. Jorge Navarro (Flexbox HP40) +0.855