Following on from his win in that stunning Austrian Moto2 battle with Miguel Oliveira, Francesco Bagnaia took pole position in Silverstone for the 2018 British Grand Prix. It was a complicated session, as were all the qualifying sessions today, with the track starting off dry for the majority of the lap, but very wet in the far end of the circuit, between Stowe and Club (turn 7 to 10). Throughout the session, the track was getting drier, and Bagnaia timed his final lap perfectly to be almost the last rider over the line, meaning he enjoyed almost perfect track conditions, relatively speaking.
Bagnaia stole pole in the final moments, after the flag had dropped, and he stole it from Remy Gardner. The Australian got lost on his way to the track earlier in the week, with dad – and 1987 500cc World Champion – Wayne having to go and find the Tech 3 rider. Despite missing out on pole position in the end, it was still a career-best qualifying position for Remy, whose previous record was ninth. Both the Mistral 610 chassis and Gardner have shown themselves to be capable in wet conditions, and with a typically British aquatic onslaught scheduled to batter the Northamptonshire circuit all day long tomorrow, such skills could prove vital for the #87, and he will be aiming for his first World Championship podium, especially if it does rain.
Alex Marquez was third fastest today, and looked for a period as though he would take pole position, such was the scrolling nature of the times in the end of the session. Two straight DNFs mean that points are essential for Marquez tomorrow, and of course a strong ride would do a lot for his undoubtedly damaged confidence.
Marcel Schrotter will start his 105th Moto2 race from fourth place tomorrow, as he continues his search for a first Moto2 podium.
On the contrary, Luca Marini is coming off the back of three consecutive podiums, as he starts from 5th on the grid, and is another rider who could relish the adverse conditions.
Petronas Yamaha-bound Fabio Quartararo will complete the second row tomorrow, and he will be hoping for dry conditions tomorrow, because on the slick tyres he has been very fast, and very consistent all weekend.
Mattia Pasini was on for pole position in the final stages of qualifying, but caught Iker Lecuona in sector three of his final lap, and so was consigned to just seventh place, with the aforementioned Lecuona and home hero Sam Lowes (another who looked a possible pole-setter) joining him on the third row.
It has been a strong weekend for Romano Fenati, and for the most part he has been the top rookie – he will line up tenth tomorrow. The injured Xavi Vierge as well as Lorenzo Baldassarri will join Fenati on row four.
Thirteenth on the gird tomorrow belongs to Andrea Locatelli, whilst Joan Mir could only manage fourteenth. It’s slightly fortunate that Mir got his Suzuki deal done when he did, because since then, his form has dipped bar that podium in Germany. Augusto Fernandez completes the 5th row.
Red Bull KTM’s Brad Binder could only do as well as 16th fastest, and will be alongside Domi Aegerter and Bo Bendsneyder on the sixth row; whilst row seven holds Niki Tuuli, Joe Roberts and Tetsuta Nagashima, complete with his new ‘surfer doggo’ seat sticker, as a nod to the famous shot of him surfing his Honda Team Asia Kalex two weeks ago in the wet practice in Austria.
Jorge Navarro will be disappointed with his 22nd grid slot because he has looked quite strong this weekend. However, Miguel Oliveira will be even more disappointed, as he made yet another poor qualifying position, and whilst championship leader Bagnaia starts from pole, Oliveira only qualified 23rd. Stefano Manzi completes the eighth row.
Steven Odendaal on the second NTS chassis was 25th fastest, with Danny Kent and SIC-Petronas Moto2-bound Khairul Idham Pawi joining him on row nine; whilst wildcard Josh Owens impressively took 28th spot (only 2.880 seconds off pole), joining Jules Danilo and Federico Fuligni on the 10th row.
Alejandro Medina heads up row eleven, from Simone Corsi – whose qualifying was hampered by a crash – and Xavi Cardelus who is 33rd and last.