Moto2: Nagashima Charges to Maiden Moto2 Pole

After the MotoGP qualifying session, clouds hung over the Red Bull Ring, bringing the track temperature down for the Austrian Moto2 qualifying session at round eleven of the 2019 World Championship.

Q1 saw Iker Lecuona (American Racing) top the session despite traffic. Luca Marini (SKY Racing Team VR46), Andrea Locatelli (Italtrans Racing Team) and Brno runner-up Fabio Di Giannantonio (Beta Tools Speed Up) joined the #27 Spaniard in moving through to Q2.

In Q2, Tetsuta Nagashima (ONEXOX TKKR SAG Team) took his first career pole and a Moto2 lap record for the Red Bull Ring. 2019 has been a strong season for the Japanese, and after a poor race for his #090 Honda team at the Suzuka 8 Hour last month before Brno, the #45 has rebounded well in the two GPs since then.

Joining Nagashima on the front row are Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Ajo), running the old KTM frame, and rookie Somkiat Chantra (IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia), the 2016 Asia Talent Cup Champion qualifying third on his first visit to the Red Bull Ring. In all, it is a quite peculiar front row.

Row two sees Enea Bastianini (Italtrans Racing Team) ahead of Tom Luthi (Dynavolt Intact GP). Qualifying did not go so well for Alex Marquez (EG 0,0 Marc VDS), so a second row start could be important for Luthi who finished third behind Marquez in the 2017 Austrian GP. Lorenzo Baldassarri (Flexbox HP 40) looks to be back on the pace this weekend after a dismal race in Brno. The Italian qualified sixth.

Xavi Vierge (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) has plenty of question marks surrounding his future after a difficult ten races with Marc VDS, but a seventh-place in qualifying in Austria will help things. Jorge Navarro (Beta Tools Speed Up) and Remy Gardner (ONEXOX TKKR SAG Team) join the #97 on the third row.

Luca Marini has been quite consistent this weekend, but not able to make the difference with a new tyre in a time attack – the Italian finally qualified tenth ahead of Alex Marquez and Jorge Martin (Red Bull KTM Ajo), with the new KTM chassis, who will join him on row four.

Augusto Fernandez (Flexbox HP 40) heads up row five ahead of Iker Lecuona and Mattia Pasini (Tasca Racing Scuderia Moto2), the Italian’s fastest lap ensuring the first fourteen riders on the grid of tomorrow’s race are covered by just 0.400 seconds.

The sixth row is more detached from the fifth row than the fifth is detached from the first, almost, with Marcel Schrotter (Dynavolt Intact GP) – who crashed in Q2 – 0.319 seconds behind Pasini in sixteenth. One tenth further back of Schrotter is seventeenth-placed Andrea Locatelli, whilst Fabio Di Giannantonio was eighteenth, almost one second slower than Nagashima.

Marcel Schrotter (Dynavolt Intact GP) at the Red Bull Ring. Image courtesy of KF GLAENZEL/Dynavolt Intact GP

Nicolo Bulega (SKY Racing Team VR46) was the fastest rider to not make Q2, qualifying nineteenth. The MV Agusta Idealavoro Forward duo of Dominique Aegerter and Stefano Manzi join Bulega on row seven, qualifying in twentieth and twenty-first respectively.

Jonas Folger (Petronas Sprinta Racing) will go from the front of row eight as he replaces Khairul Idham Pawi again. Bo Bendsneyder (NTS RW Racing GP) and Sam Lowes (Federal Oil Gresini Moto2) will join the German on the eighth row; whilst Marco Bezzecchi (Red Bull KTM Tech 3) – who won in Austria in Moto3 last year – will start twenty-fifth ahead of Philipp Oettl (Red Bull KTM Tech 3) and Jake Dixon (Sama Qatar Angel Nieto Team).

Steven Odendaal (NTS RW Racing GP) qualified twenty-eighth on his first visit to the Red Bull Ring and will start ahead of Joe Roberts (American Racing) and Lukas Tulovic (Kiefer Racing).

Teppei Nagoe, replacing Dimas Ekky at IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia, will start from thirty-first, ahead of last-placed Xavi Cardelus (Sama Qatar Angel Nieto Team) on the back row of the grid.

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