Augusto Fernandez takes the FP top spot ahead of rookie teammate Pedro Acosta.
The Moto2 squad returned to screens yesterday to kickstart the 2022 season, and with a new season comes new faces. The promoted Moto3 men of 2021 have already made a mark on the 600cc squad, with the infamous Pedro Acosta hitting up 2nd position on Friday, just 0.16s behind teammate Augusto Fernandez.
Moto2 veteran Marcel Schrotter ended Day 1 in Third place on the timesheets, only 0.004s behind Acosta. The German had a very solid 2021 – rarely missing out on the Top 10 and achieving 10th overall in the season – and will be looking to start off the new year on a strong note. However, Schrotter won’t be the only strong contender on the board, as Celestino Vietti and Aron Canet follow close behind in P4 and P5 after FP2. While Vietti found his rhythm in the class towards the end of the season, Canet racked up an admirable 6 podiums last year, granting him 6th in the title race; however, a number of retirements on the Spaniard’s record in 2021 will prove the 22-year-old will be after redemption, and – along with Vietti – will be a fierce competitor for 2022.
Ai Ogura finished on Friday behind Canet in P6; the Japanese rider accomplished a podium in his rookie season last year in Austria, and is another strong contender looking into this race weekend.
Filip Salac is another rider promoted into the 600cc class this year, and has slotted himself behind Ogura by just 0.007s. While ending the 2021 championship mid-pack in the Moto3 class, the Czech rider did manage to achieve a P2 and a Pole position during the season, and is already proving to be another rookie to watch in the intermediate class.
A somewhat surprise appearance on the top 10 of the timesheets is that of IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia’s Somkiat Chantra. While the Thai rider has relatively stayed off the radar since his 2019 debut in the class, Chantra has started 2022 on a high, claiming 8th position overall on Friday. With Chantra’s best result in 2021 being a P5 in Austria, perhaps this will be the start of us seeing the 23-year-old near the top more often.
Talk of the town recently in terms of new recruits is that of the America Racing Team, which houses rookie Sean Dylan Kelly and returning Cameron Beaubier. The latter finished his debut season in the class in 15th place, and scored a very decent P9 at the end of yesterday’s sessions, this could be signs of the Californian finding his rhythm with the team, right in time for 2022.
Kelly, while only managing a P29 overall today, already has an awfully successful background in the industry at just 19 years old, and is already becoming a house name in the MotoGP world. After a substantially positive career in the Red Bull Rookies Cup, Sean went on to completely dominate the MotoAmerica Supersport series – winning 11 of the 14 races to take the 2021 title. So, while his start in Qatar may not have made a dent in the timesheets, don’t be too quick to discredit the Floridian teen, as there will be more to come.
As we head into Qualifying day at the Losail International Circuit, it seems that the class veterans aren’t the only ones to watch this year. The Rookies are coming, and they are to be feared.
Moto2’s FP3 will begin at 12:20 Local Time (GMT +3).
Feature Image: Gold and Goose