Sam Lowes delivered on his free practice promise by claiming the first pole position of his Moto2 career in Qatar. The Briton had been fastest in every session of the weekend prior to qualifying and despite a crash late in the evening, Lowes had more than enough to outpace Johann Zarco and Tito Rabat.
The theme of the weekend continued at the beginning of qualifying with Lowes and Zarco trading fastest times, the Frenchman the only rider to break the two minute barrier on the first runs. Conspicuous by his absence at the top of the leaderboard in practice was Rabat but the defending champion finally came to life at the halfway stage, snatching provisional pole on a 1:59.874.
Lowes’ response was instant and emphatic with the Speed Up rider kicking off his second run with a 1:59.680, following that up soon afterwards by knocking another two tenths off the target time. With a four tenth advantage, pole position was virtually secured but that didn’t stop him giving his Italian team a nerve-racking end to the session after a crash at turn four on his last run.
The error didn’t matter with Rabat failing to improve but Zarco did make late inroads to regain second with Tito set to start his title defence from the outside of the front row. Sandro Cortese will head the second row ahead of fellow countryman Jonas Folger with Xavier Simeon alongside the German pair in sixth.
Thomas Luthi will start seventh ahead of Franco Morbidelli while Alex Rins will be the highest placed rookie on tomorrow’s grid in ninth. Former teammate and reigning Moto3 champion Alex Marquez also impressed to qualify thirteenth but Mika Kallio and Dominique Aegerter, two of the most experienced riders in the class, had disastrous evenings and will line up 16th and 25th respectively.
Moto2 Commercial Bank Grand Prix of Qatar: Qualifying Classification
|1||22. Sam Lowes||Speed Up||Speed Up Racing||1:59.423|
|2||5. Johann Zarco||Kalex||Ajo Motorsport||1:59.755|
|3||1. Esteve Rabat||Kalex||Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS||1:59.813|
|4||11. Sandro Cortese||Kalex||Dynavolt Intact GP||1:59.845|
|5||94. Jonas Folger||Kalex||AGR Team||1:59.938|
|6||19. Xavier Simeon||Kalex||Federal Oil Gresini Moto2||2:00.232|
|7||12. Thomas Luthi||Kalex||Derendinger Racing Interwetten||2:00.284|
|8||21. Franco Morbidelli||Kalex||Italtrans Racing Team||2:00.396|
|9||40. Alex Rins||Kalex||Paginas Amarillas HP 40||2:00.479|
|10||3. Simone Corsi||Kalex||Forward Racing||2:00.584|
|11||49. Axel Pons||Kalex||AGR Team||2:00.593|
|12||73. Alex Marquez||Kalex||Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS||2:00.604|
|13||96. Louis Rossi||Tech 3||Tasca Racing Scuderia Moto2||2:00.605|
|14||88. Ricard Cardus||Tech 3||Tech 3||2:00.713|
|15||39. Luis Salom||Kalex||Paginas Amarillas HP 40||2:00.791|
|16||36. Mika Kallio||Kalex||Italtrans Racing Team||2:00.844|
|17||23. Marcel Schrotter||Tech 3||Tech 3||2:00.948|
|18||30. Takaaki Nakagami||Kalex||IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia||2:00.985|
|19||55. Hafizh Syahrin||Kalex||Petronas Raceline Malaysia||2:01.000|
|20||7. Lorenzo Baldassarri||Kalex||Forward Racing||2:01.030|
|21||60. Julian Simon||Speed Up||QMMF Racing Team||2:01.112|
|22||95. Anthony West||Speed Up||QMMF Racing Team||2:01.267|
|23||25. Azlan Shah||Kalex||IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia||2:01.397|
|24||4. Randy Krummenacher||Kalex||JIR Moto2||2:01.465|
|25||77. Dominique Aegerter||Kalex||Technomag Racing Interwetten||2:02.055|
|26||10. Thitipong Warokorn||Kalex||APH PTT The Pizza SAG||2:02.589|
|27||51. Zaqhwan Zaidi||Suter||JPM Malaysia||2:02.817|
|28||70. Robin Mulhauser||Kalex||Technomag Racing Interwetten||2:03.052|
|29||2. Jesko Raffin||Kalex||sports-millions-EMWE-SAG||2:03.483|
|30||66. Florian Alt||Suter||Octo IodaRacing Team||2:03.486|