Moto2: Navarro Takes Wet Le Mans Pole

Qualifying for the fifth round of the 2019 Moto2 World Championship got underway in difficult conditions, with light rain presenting the intermediate class riders with their first competitive session in the wet of the season.

Jorge Navarro at Le Mans Moto2 2019. Image courtesy of Speed Up Racing

In Q1, it was the second-placed rider in the championship, Tom Luthi (Dynavolt Intact GP) who topped the session to move through to Q2. The Swiss was joined by returnee Jake Dixon (Sama Qatar Angel Nieto Team), Lukas Tulovic (Kiefer Racing) and Spanish GP runner-up Jorge Navarro (Lightech Speed Up).

The experience of the track conditions benefitted Navarro, especially, who took pole position for the second Grand Prix in succession. It was Navarro’s start which let him down in Jerez, and cost him the win, so it will be interesting to see if he has rectified that issue for this weekend.

Tom Luthi also made the most of his Q1 experience, to qualify second. After a difficult Friday, this is important for the Swiss, who lies second in the championship. Alex Marquez (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) lines up tomorrow at the back of the front row, as he goes in search of his first win of the season.

After impressing with a fourth place finish when replacing Augusto Fernandez at the Flexbox HP 40 team in Austin on the Kalex, Mattia Pasini was unable to repeat the same form for the Sama Qatar Angel Nieto Team in Jerez when replacing Jake Dixon on the KTM. However, now back on the Kalex, for the Petronas SRT squad, the Italian is back on the pace, and qualified fourth. Xavi Vierge (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) and Andrea Locatelli (Italtrans Racing Team) join Pasini on the second row.

Championship leader Lorenzo Baldassarri (Flexbox HP 40) struggled mostly in the wet on qualifying day at Le Mans, in FP3 and qualifying, but he managed to put together a lap in Q2 to take seventh on the grid.

The new KTM chassis has seemed to be a positive step this weekend for Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Ajo), although perhaps he was missing some experience with the bike in the wet as he qualified only eighth, ahead of Lukas Tulovic who, after advancing from Q1, took his best qualifying in the World Championship.

Brad Binder, French Moto2 2019. Image courtesy of Gold and Goose/KTM

Tenth on the grid will be the injured Marcel Schrotter (Dynavolt Intact GP), ahead of Jake Dixon (Sama Qatar Angel Nieto Team) who will start eleventh on his GP return thanks to some impressive speed in the wet. The injured Remy Gardner (ONEXOX TKKR SAG Team) will complete the fourth row.

Jorge Martin (Red Bull KTM Ajo) heads up row five, ahead of Augusto Fernandez (Flexbox HP 40) and Nicolo Bulega (Sky Racing Team VR46); whilst row six is comprised of Enea Bastianini (Italtrans Racing Team), Bo Bendsneyder (NTS RW Racing GP) and Simone Corsi (Tasca Racing Scuderia Moto2).

Luca Marini (Sky Racing Team VR46) continues his devolution since the championship’s return to Europe, and was the first Q1 rider to be eliminated, qualifying nineteenth. Fabio Di Giannantonio (Lightech Speed Up) and Steven Odendaal (NTS RW Racing GP) complete the seventh row; whilst Iker Lecuona (American Racing), Somkiat Chantra (IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia) and Stefano Manzi (MV Agusta Idealavoro Forward) make up row eight.

Dominique Aegerter (MV Agusta Idealavoro Forward) starts from the head of row nine, ahead of Sam Lowes (Federal Oil Gresini Moto2), who was expected to move through to Q2 before a crash limited his chances. Marco Bezzecchi (Red Bull KTM Tech3) completes row nine; whilst Dimas Ekky (IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia), Joe Roberts (American Racing) and Xavi Cardelus (Sama Qatar Angel Nieto Team) comprise the tenth row.

Tetsuta Nagashima (ONEXOX TKKR SAG Team) and Philipp Oettl (Red Bull KTM Tech3) start from the back row in thirty-first and thirty-second respectively.

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