A lap record and a spate of crashes make for a dramatic end to opening practice for Moto2™ at Le Mans
Somkiat Chantra (IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia) may have set lap-record pace in Moto2™ FP1 at the SHARK Grand Prix de France, but the biggest drama involved two riders who finished further down the timesheet. An incident between World Championship leader Celestino Vietti (Mooney VR46 Racing Team) and fellow title contender Aron Canet (Flexbox HP40) is under investigation after they clashed with the chequered flag out at Le Mans.
Replays showed Vietti trying to go down the inside of Canet as they rounded the Garage Vert double right-hander (Turn 8), where they made side-to-side contact which put both on the floor. While Canet still has his injured left radius bone to worry about, the Spaniard was more concerned about remonstrating with the Italian as he got to his feet. They were not the only late crashers, with Jorge Navarro (Flexbox HP40), Jake Dixon (Inde GASGAS Aspar Team), and Marcel Marcel Schrötter (Liqui Moly Intact GP) all having single-rider spills.
As far as the stopwatch was concerned, Chantra went underneath Francesco Bagnaia’s four-year-old All Time Lap Record for the Moto2™ class when he set a 1:36.108 on his penultimate lap. That effort put the Thai rider 0.155 seconds clear of Augusto Fernandez (Red Bull KTM Ajo), who set a 1:36.263. Stefano Manzi continues as an injury replacement for Keminth Kubo at the Yamaha VR46 Master Camp Team and he clocked a 1:36.608 which was good enough for third on the timesheet.
Other notables were Vietti in sixth on a 1:36.680, last-start winner Ai Ogura (IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia) in 12th on a 1:37.048, Tony Arbolino (Elf Marc VDS Racing Team) in 16th on a 1:37.158, and Canet in 22nd on a 1:37.515.
FP2 starts today at 15:10 (GMT +2).
Moto2™ FP1 Top 10:
1. Somkiat Chantra (IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia) – 1:36.108
2. Augusto Fernandez (Red Bull KTM Ajo) + 0.155
3. Stefano Manzi (Yamaha VR46 Master Camp Team) + 0.500
4. Sam Lowes (ELF Marc VDS Racing Team) + 0.546
5. Marcel Schrotter (Liqui Moly Intact GP) + 0.602
6. Celestino Vietti (Mooney VR46 Racing Team) + 0.638
7. Albert Arenas (Inde GASGAS Aspar Team) + 0.641
8. Jake Dixon (Inde GASGAS Aspar Team) + 0.642
9. Pedro Acosta (Red Bull KTM Ajo) + 0.646
10. Alonso Lopez (MB Conveyors Speed Up) + 0.689