Esteve Rabat claimed his second pole position in as many races at the start of the 2014 Moto2 season after pipping pre-session favourite Johann Zarco at the end of qualifying in Texas. The championship leader produced the fastest ever Moto2 lap of the Circuit of the Americas to deny the Frenchman with Dominique Aegerter rounding out the front row of the grid.
Rabat kept a fairly low profile throughout the session with Zarco dominating the headlines. The Caterham rider topped the early times with a 2:10.444 and initially his rivals were struggling to get within half a second of it, let alone challenge it. Rabat fired a warning shot in the final minute though with a 2:10.488 to go second but on his very last lap of the afternoon, he found a further three tenths to overhaul Zarco despite an improvement of his own.
Aegerter’s final effort brought him to within two hundredths of Johann in third with Xavier Simeon a strong fourth for Gresini. Julian Simon also left it late to snatch fifth ahead of leading rookies Maverick Vinales and Jonas Folger while Simone Corsi took eighth for the Forward team. Takaaki Nakagami, so harshly disqualified from the Qatar Grand Prix, will start ninth as he looks to open his points account at the second attempt while Marcel Schrotter completes the top ten after edging out Mika Kallio on the second Marc VDS Kalex.
The British pair found the going tough with Sam Lowes qualifying no higher than seventeenth but his afternoon was nothing compared to Gino Rea’s with the Londoner halted by reliability problems before he had even set a representative lap time, forcing him to start last on the 34 bike grid tomorrow.