Jonas Folger set the fastest ever Moto2 lap of the Losail International Circuit to claim pole position for Sunday’s season opener in Qatar. The German, who took his maiden victory in this class here twelve months ago, outpaced pre-session favourite Sam Lowes with Alex Rins qualifying third despite a heavy crash.
Lowes had been the quickest rider through free practice and the Briton leapt straight to the top of the timesheets with a 1:59.499 in qualifying. Rins responded immediately to go four thousandths of a second faster but Folger made a sizeable leap forward on his second timed lap, clocking a 1:59.052 on the Dynavolt Intact Kalex.
With a four tenth deficit to make up, Rins looked to up the pace on his second run but as he approached turn two, the front end of his machine washed away under braking and slammed him into the tarmac. While the rider appeared largely uninjured, his Paginas Amarillas Kalex suffered substantial damage and although his mechanics worked a minor miracle to get him back out in the closing stages, Rins wouldn’t go any quicker.
The Spaniard’s misfortune opened the door for Lowes to snatch second place, an opportunity the Gresini rider grabbed with a 1:59.124, just 0.072s shy of Folger’s overall benchmark. Rins was relegated to third but he will still line up ahead of Johann Zarco who begins the defence of his championship from fourth. Franco Morbidelli makes his Marc VDS debut from fifth while Sandro Cortese ensured both Dynavolt machines will start inside the top six.
Lorenzo Baldassarri qualified seventh although his participation is in doubt after a heavy crash late in the session saw him taken away in an ambulance. Should he race, the Forward rider will have Marcel Schrotter and Takaaki Nakagami for company on row three with Danny Kent starting a solid eleventh for Leopard Racing.
Moto2 Commercial Bank Grand Prix of Qatar (Qualifying Classification)
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