Moto2: Fernandez Takes First GP Pole

The Moto2 qualifying session for the seventh round of the 2019 Moto2 World Championship took place on a sun-baked Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya.

In Q1, it was Bo Bendsneyder (NTS RW Racing GP) who topped the session from Jorge Martin (Red Bull KTM Ajo), Iker Lecuona (American Racing) and Nicolo Bulega (Sky Racing Team, VR46), with those four advancing to Q2.

In the Q2 session, it was Augusto Fernandez (Flexbox HP 40) who took his first Grand Prix pole position in his home race. Perhaps the fact that this is the first track at which Fernandez has raced a Kalex, as he first replaced Hector Barbera in the Pons squad in Barcelona last year, says a lot. Fernandez has been strong this weekend, and will be eager to seize a first victory this weekend.

Tom Luthi (Dynavolt Intact GP) had a strong session, finishing Q2 in second place, whilst a late lap from Sam Lowes (Federal Oil Gresini Moto2) propelled the Briton onto the front row in third place.

The second row is headed up by Jorge Navarro (HDR Heidrun Speed Up) who is in search of his first win on Sunday, one year on from Fabio Quartararo’s win on the Speed Up last year and in the Spaniard’s home race. Joining Navarro on row two are HDR Heidrun Speed Up teammate, Fabio Di Giannantonio, and the winner of the previous two Moto2 races, Alex Marquez (EG 0,0 Marc VDS).

Lorenzo Baldassarri (Flexbox HP 40) had the final spot on the second row before Lowes’ late lap for third place. Instead, the championship leader will start seventh – better than Mugello but not where he would want to be.

Fortunately for the Italian, his closest challenger in the championship, Marquez, is only one place ahead of him at the start. Baldassarri’s pace is often stronger in the race than in qualifying, so it will be interesting to see what progress he can make in the race. Joining Baldassarri on row three are compatriot and fellow VR46 Riders Academy rider, Nicolo Bulega (Sky Racing Team VR46) and Andrea Locatelli (Italtrans Racing Team) who ensures row three is an all-Italian affair.

Enea Bastianini (Italtrans Racing Team) will make it four successive Italians on the grid from the front of row three to the front of row four tomorrow. Although Bastianini has had a strong rookie season so far, tenth in Q2 in Barcelona is in fact his best qualifying of the year. La Bestia has looked good this weekend, and could still be a feature in the battle for the podium tomorrow. Remy Gardner (ONEXOX TKKR SAG Team) suffered a crash in Q2, and will start alongside Bastianini on the fourth row as the Aussie starts eleventh. Marcel Schrotter (Dynavolt Intact GP) completes row four.

Luca Marini (Sky Racing Team VR46) will start the Catalan Moto2 Grand prix from thirteenth, ahead of Bo Bendsneyder and Iker Lecuona on row five; whilst Tetsuta Nagashima (ONEXOX TKKR SAG Team), Jorge Martin (Red Bull KTM Ajo) and Simone Corsi (Tasca Racing Team) – who crashed early on and whose only time was 2.792 seconds off the pace – make up row six.

Iker Lecuona, Moto2, Catalunya MotoGP 2019. Image courtesy of Gold and Goose/KTM

Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Ajo) was the fastest rider in Q1 to not make Q2 and will therefore head up row seven. The South African will be joined on the seventh row by Xavi Vierge (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) and Dominique Aegerter (MV Aguta Idealavoro Forward); whilst Stefano Manzi (MV Agusta Idealavoro Forward), Jonas Folger (Petronas SRT) and Dimas Ekky (IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia) make up row eight.

Row nine sees Somkiat Chantra (IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia) ahead of Jake Dixon (Sama Qatar Angel Nieto Team) and Steven Odendaal (NTS RW Racing GP); whilst row ten consists of Lukas Tulovic (Kiefer Racing), Joe Roberts (American Racing) and Xavi Cardelus (Sama Qatar Angel Nieto Team).

Red Bull KTM Tech3 take both places on the back row, with Marco Bezzecchi ahead of Philipp Oettl who didn’t set a time.

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