Xavier Simeon sprung something of a surprise to claim pole position for the Moto2 Grand Prix of the Americas in Austin. The Belgian, who currently lies second in the championship after his podium in Qatar, emerged from nowhere to deny Sam Lowes in the closing minutes of qualifying as the Briton was forced to settle for second.
Lowes has endured a horrendous time so far with accidents blighting his weekend, not least a dramatic highside on Friday afternoon, and the Speed Up team’s nerves won’t have been eased by another spill 13 minutes into qualifying. Fortunately for them, their rider had already clocked a record breaking 2:09.942 to take provisional pole and even though he wouldn’t improve, a front row grid slot was looking assured.
As time ticked away, the competition slowly closed the half second gap with Tito Rabat climbing to second on a 2:10.077 twelve minutes from time. The world champion would be upstaged by Simeon though who first edged past the Marc VDS rider with a 2:10.010 before jumping to the front of the entire field with a 2:09.888 a minute from the end.
Lowes had no answer to the Gresini rider and had to make do with second ahead of Rabat with Johann Zarco clocking a 2:10.102 on his final attempt to secure fourth, just in front of Franco Morbidelli and Takaaki Nakagami.
Julian Simon will start seventh for QMMF with Alex Rins and Dominique Aegerter for company on row three but championship leader Jonas Folger will have his work cut out to stay at the top of the standings, the German having qualified down in nineteenth.
Moto2 Red Bull Grand Prix of the Americas: Qualifying Classification
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