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Moto2 Argentina: Vierge returns to pole position with record lap

Xavi Vierge saw early pace elevate him to pole position for the Moto2 Argentina Grand Prix, matching his performance at the Termas track last season.
Moto2 Argentina: Vierge returns to pole position with record lap

Xavi Vierge waited a whole year to take his second pole position at the venue where he first managed the feat, as his third lap of the Termas de Rio Hondo track saw him top the timesheets with record pace ahead of the Moto2 Grand Prix of Argentina.

The EG 0,0 Marc VDS rider had plenty of company on track as the session was the absolute opposite of the Moto3 qualifying which preceded it, with everyone out early trading fast laps.

As improvements were made all the way to the chequered flag Vierge's time was always under pressure, but his new all time record lap of 1m 42.726s - taking over from the 2015 effort from Johann Zarco - was enough to hold firm at the top of the standings.

Marcel Schrotter was an ever present rival for pace in his search for back-to-back poles but the German fell just short of the best time by a slim 0.011s difference on his way to second for Dynavolt Intact GP. 

They are joined on the all Kalex front row by Gresini’s Sam Lowes. After surviving a few wobbles as he pushed the Triumph machinery to the limit, Lowes powered from sixth to third on his final run, though the British rider looked frustrated to have not found more - his time through the first three sectors was on schedule for pole.

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Alex Marquez was a soild fourth on the second EG 0,0 Marc VDS entry, completing a strong day for the team.

Tom Luthi flirted with the top of the timesheets, and had looked to have good pace after being fastest on Friday, but had to settle for fifth on the second Dynavolt entry.

Brad Binder was the most successful non-Kalex rider, pushing his Red Bull KTM Ajo up to sixth.

Remy Gardner had lead the way in FP3 but couldn’t match his performance in qualifying, the SAG Team rider will be hoping to be able to push for the podium positions again from seventh.

With the top eighteen places all covered by a second it was easy to slip down the order in qualifying, as the Triumph engines appear to make Moto2 closer than ever before. 

Lorenzo Baldassarri, who won the season opener in Qatar, felt the effects of this - the Italian had been running eleventh before his final charge elevated the Flexbox HP40 to eighth.

Nicolo Bulega (Sky Racing Team VR46) was also exercising damage limitation as he climbed to ninth at the same time after languishing down in the low teens for much of the session.

Simone Corsi made the most of his time in Q2 after having to compete in Q1 first - he set the fastest time to move into the second half of qualifying with Tasca Racing on his way to a top ten grid slot.

Jorge Navarro was the best of the Speed Up riders in eleventh.

Enea Bastianini was the top rookie performer in twelfth for Italtrans, just ahead of Luca Marini, who had lead the way in FP1 but could only manage thirteenth in the most crucial session of the weekend so far on the second Sky Racing entry.

Bo Bendsneyder fought his NTS RW Racing GP bike hard to get the best out of it and could run at the top of the timesheets at the start of qualifying before slipping to 16th.

Jorge Martin’s performance was also noteworthy - the reigning Moto3 champion had surgery for compartmental syndrome on his right arm between rounds - he will line up 17th on race day for Red Bull KTM Ajo.

British rider Jake Dixon (Angel Nieto Team) starts 26th but was furious with Lukas Tulovic, who had pulled across him during FP1 with Dixon pulling up to avoid a crash.

Augusto Fernandez will not be able to build on his solid start to the season following a massive, long highside in FP3 which caused a double wrist fracture.

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