The two fiercest rivals from last season were back to their best today as they topped the timesheets in today's Free Practice sessions. Matthias Dolderer and Matt Hall were the fastest in the track today and showed their rivals that they still have a sting in their tails and nobody will take the championship easily this weekend.
The track has been modified from the 2016 version so pilots had to find the best line and work out how this race can be won and lost. Dolderer was the best at flying out the blocks in FP1 to post a time of 1:04.173.
The other Master Class pilots were unable to beat his time, but Nicolas Ivanoff – who performs well at speedway tracks – was closest to the current World Champion, but was still 0.681s slower. Championship contender and new father Pete McLeod was third and Petr Kopfstein fourth on the timesheet.
World Championship leader Martin Sonka struggled to find his lines in FP and could only climb to eighth on the timesheet. Fellow contender hoping to be crowned World Champion, Yoshihide Muroya, was in ninth 3.700s behind Dolderer. And the fourth pilot up for the championship title, Kirby Chambliss, was unable to fly a clean run and found himself in 13th.
Hall was in peak form in FP2 and set the fastest time of the day. His time of 1:04.055 saw him at the top of the timesheet. It will be the target for everyone tomorrow, but the pilot closest to him in today's later session was Sonka, just 0.299s behind the Australian.
Dolderer was strong again in FP2 finishing third on the timesheet, just 0.579s behind Hall. Juan Velarde was fourth and Kopfstein was strong again in fifth. McLeod was seventh and Muroya was unable to fly a clean line and finished in eighth while Chambliss was down in 10th. The pilots looking to take the title will be working hard to improve on their times for tomorrow's Qualifying session.
The 14 Master Class pilots will have their FP3 session before Qualifying tomorrow. You don't have to miss a moment of the action – catch it all HERE.
Master Class Free Practice 1 results
Master Class Free Practice 2 results