Gardner second in Moto2 practice despite collision

Remy Gardner. Picture: MotoGP.com

Remy Gardner ended up second-fastest to Red Bull KTM Ajo team-mate Raul Fernandez after a dramatic Friday of Moto2 practice at the Circuit of The Americas.

Fernandez was very much control of proceedings in both sessions and went as quick as a 2:09.880s, in the latter hit-out, while Gardner’s best was just under two tenths of a second slower.

The Australian hardly had a straightforward afternoon, however, having apparently experienced two major scares in his first run of Free Practice 2 alone.

Gardner was caught on camera reporting that he had survived a “massive highside out of [Turn] 13” while back to his garage, before a replay showed him clattering into former team-mate Tetsuta Nagashima (Italtrans) at the exit of the Turn 11 hairpin.

Nagashima had been dawdling back onto the race line after running wide and while the championship leader stayed upright, he lost considerable time once the KTM Ajo crew got to work repairing Bike #87.

Gardner eventually went back out and improved to a 2:11.139s, then a 2:10.079s which would be his fastest, before churning out two more laps in the 2:10s.

“Overall, it was a good day,” he said.

“In FP2, we got a provisional place for Q2, even though we couldn’t be on the track for as long as we wanted, since a small incident with another rider forced us to go into the pits for a while.

“The track was a bit bumpy, but we managed to finish the day in the second place. I am happy with how things went. Everything indicates that it will be a fun weekend.”

Sam Lowes (Elf Marc VDS), who briefly held top spot in FP2, ended up third on a 2:10.534s, with Tony Arbolino (Liqui-Moly Intact) fourth-fastest and Aron Canet (Inde Aspar) fifth.

Raul Fernandez had also set the pace in Free Practice 1 with a 2:13.589s on a track which was still drying out after earlier rain.

All riders set their personal best lap in FP2 except for Stefano Manzi (Flexbox HP40), who was suspended from both sessions.

The Italian was found to have breached testing regulations by racing last weekend in the Supersport World Championship at Jerez and, with that also counted as testing, he thus breached his allocated of seven days per rider.

Manzi not only sat out Friday practice in Texas but was also fined EUR 300.

Moto2 has one more practice session at the Grand Prix of the Americas before Qualifying 1 begins tomorrow at 07:10 AEDT.

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