Moto2 qualifying for the fourth round of the 2019 World Championship got underway in cooler conditions than might have been expected, as clouds lay above the track.
Q1 saw Iker Lecuona (American Racing KTM) top the session from Andrea Locatelli (Italtrans Racing Team), Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Ajo) and Xavi Vierge (EG 0,0 Marc VDS), with those four riders advancing to Q2.
Brad Binder used the extra track time he had courtesy of his Q1 participation to his advantage to lead early on. However, after a couple of laps it was Alex Marquez (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) who went to the top. The Spaniard, though, was then replaced by a compatriot, Jorge Navarro (HDR Heidrun Speed Up) who was not bested before the end of the session, and took his first Moto2 pole.
Alex Marquez and the returning Augusto Fernandez (Flexbox HP 40) will join Navarro on the front row tomorrow in an all-Spanish affair at the front of the Moto2 grid. The Spanish crowd will no doubt be hoping for minimal change at the front of the Moto2 race.
However, there are plenty of riders starting further behind who would like to upset that, including Remy Gardner (ONEXOX TKKR SAG Team) who qualified fourth for Sunday’s race, and is still in search of his first grand prix victory.
Nicolo Bulega (Sky Racing Team VR46) impressed with his best Moto2 qualifying to date, as he made a strong return from arm pump surgery, which kept him out of the Americas round of the series three weeks ago.
Bulega’s fellow VR46 Academy rider, Lorenzo Baldassarri (Flexbox HP 40) completes the second row. The championship leader has not had an easy weekend, with two breakdowns in FP1, followed by a crash, and then another crash in FP2. A further fall on Saturday left the Italian even further on the back foot, but using teammate Fernandez as a marker he was able to lift himself onto the second row of the grid.
Fabio Di Giannantonio (HDR Heidrun Speed Up) looked at one point as though he was on for a front row start on his final lap. The time went away from him in the final sector, but the Italian was nonetheless able to secure seventh on the grid. Austin winner, Tom Luthi (Dynavolt Intact GP), and Tetsuta Nagashima (ONEXOX TKKR SAG Team) will join last year’s Moto3 runner-up on the third row of the grid.
Despite topping the early stages of the session, Brad Binder was only able to qualify tenth has KTM’s Moto2 woes continue. Sam Lowes (Federal Oil Gresini Moto2) and Xavi Vierge will join Binder on row four for Sunday’s race.
Luca Marini (Sky Racing Team VR46) could only manage the thirteenth-fastest time in Q2, and will start alongside Marcel Schrotter (Dynavolt Intact GP) – whose Q2 was interrupted by a stop at the end of his first lap, from which he did not re-emerge until well into the final ten minutes – and Andrea Locatelli on the fifth row of the grid.
Iker Lecuona, Simone Corsi (Tasca Racing Scuderia Moto2) and Enea Bastianini (Italtrans Racing Team) were the slowest of the Q2 runners, and will start tomorrow’s race from the sixth row.
Stefano Manzi (MV Agusta Idealavoro Forward) was the fastest of the riders to not make Q2, and will start the Spanish Grand Prix from nineteenth, with Bo Bendsneyder (NTS RW Racing GP) and Somkiat Chantra (IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia) joining him on the seventh row.
Dominique Aegerter (MV Agusta Idealavoro Forward) will start directly behind his teammate, Manzi, as the Swiss heads up row eight. Jake Dixon’s replacement at the Sama Qatar Angel Nieto Team, Mattia Pasini, along with Marco Bezzecchi (Red Bull KTM Tech3) will complete the eighth row.
Steven Odendaal (NTS RW Racing GP) makes his first appearance of the season this weekend having been replaced by Jesko Raffin for the first three races of the year. The South African rider will start the race from the head of the ninth row, in twenty-fifth. Joe Roberts (American Racing KTM) and Lukas Tulovic (Kiefer Racing) complete row nine.
Dimas Ekky (IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia) will start twenty-eighth, with Philipp Oettl (Red Bull KTM Tech3) and Xavi Cardelus (Sama Qatar Angel Nieto Team) – who is clearly still in pain after his crash in Texas three weeks ago – joining the Indonesian on the back row of the grid.