Moto2 Catalunya: Fast Fernandez claims maiden pole position

Augusto Fernandez put in the best lap of the weekend to claim his first Moto2 pole position ahead of the Catalunya Grand Prix
Moto2 Catalunya: Fast Fernandez claims maiden pole position

Augusto Fernandez pulled out the fastest lap of the weekend when it counted to claim his maiden Moto2 pole ahead of the Catalunya Grand Prix.

The Flexbox HP40 rider set his best of 1m 44.170s around the midway point of the session behind his team-mate Lorenzo Baldassarri and it remained unbeaten despite some strong late laps from the competition to claim the top spot on the grid.

Tom Luthi (Dynavolt Intact GP) came closest, after spending the early part of the session trading the number one slot with Jorge Navarro the experienced rider was so pleased with his late pace that he pulled out a wheelie in celebration after finishing just 0.021s shy of the best run.

Sam Lowes dug deep for a strong performance to claim a late third for Federal Oil Gresini and complete an all Kalex front row.

The Brit had already climbed from twelfth to seventh on his penultimate run, but came back around fully committed for his final chance, using every inch of the track and pulling in tight to the painted kerbs as he looked to put his tough times in the class to bed, which he did in style.

That run pushed Navarro, who came into qualifying fastest after topping FP3, down to fourth, though he was still the best of the non-Kalex riders for Speed Up.

His team-mate Fabio Di Giannantonio was fifth fastest and top rookie at the close of the session.

Alex Marquez had started in the mix for EG 0,0 Marc VDS but failed to make an impact in the closing stages, he will be looking to challenge from sixth after winning last time out in Italy.

Championship leader Baldassarri also failed to make substantial progress in the early stages, but with pole looking secured, Fernandez came back to aid his team-mate helping him climb to eighth as the session drew to a close by providing a vital line to follow and slipstream gain.

Andrea Locatelli pushed the Italtrans to ninth, while his team-mate Enea Bastianini had enough in the tank to climb to a top ten start.

Remy Gardner fell at the end of the session but had already done enough for eleventh for the SAG Team. 

Marcel Schrotter had been the pole man in Mugello but could only manage twelfth following his massive Friday fall on the second Dynavolt entry.

Simone Corsi (Tasca Racing) found himself sat in the gravel not long after the session got underway, leaving him last on the timesheets, and 18th overall.

Jonas Folger replaces the injured Mattia Pasini, who was replacing the injured Khairul Idham Pawi. His return to racing after coming out of retirement for Pertonas Sprinta Racing sees him start 23rd.

Several riders capable of podium finishes failed to make it to Q2, notably Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Ajo) who finished the session fifth - 19th on the grid. He is just ahead of Xavi Vierge (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) who will start from 20th.

Brit Jake Dixon (Sama Qatar Angel Nieto Team) was briefly in the top ten in Q1 on his way to 12th at the end of the session. That result means he starts 26th.

Marco Bezzecchi continued his tough beginning to his Moto2 career with a crash in the opening minutes of Q1 ending his chances of progression. 

Philipp Oettl was absent following the concussion he picked up during Friday’s action. A decsion will be made on Sunday morning to decide if he his fit enough to start the race.