While a few of the riders in the field had taken on the technical track prior to Friday morning’s Free Practice, including wildcard Katie Hand, for the majority of the young riders it was a steep learning curve to adapt to the ups and downs of Donington, and this was made harder still by the chilly and windy conditions. Fontainha and Marc Vich looked especially strong in the session, with title-leader Emiliano Ercolani chasing close behind, but it was Misano Race 2 winner Aldi Mahendra who outran all his rivals on the last flying lap to take top FP honours with a 1’46.216, just +0.029 ahead of Fontainha.
Friday afternoon’s Superpole session started off with some more useful dry track time for the R3 riders, allowing them to continue getting to grips with the circuit. But just as the hot laps started coming in, around 10 minutes from the end of the session, the rain began to fall. The Brazilian riders weren’t put off by conditions, and both Fontainha and Manso maintained good pace, while Ercolani tried to close them down. Krittapat Keankum and Mahendra also looked on promising form before the rain arrived. As the chequered flag flew and the times failed to improve, it was Misano pole-sitter Fontainha who once again set the quickest time, a 1’45.417. The front row was completed by Manso, +0.053 behind and Ercolani, +0.194 back.
After qualifying three riders - Manso, Mahendra, and Keankum - were ordered to drop five places on the grid for tomorrow’s Race 1 due to slow riding on the racing line.