Alex Rins dominated the qualifying session at the Circuit of the Americas to claim his first pole position of the 2016 season. The Spaniard was the fastest rider throughout a session that was overshadowed by a late crash for Efren Vazquez which brought out the red flags, the rookie suffering a suspected head trauma in an accident at turn seven.
The identity of the polesitter was in little doubt from the moment Rins took provisional pole five minutes in, the Pons rider clocking a 2:09.618 on his very first attempt of the afternoon. Within two laps, Alex had improved to a 2:08.850, the fastest ever Moto2 lap of COTA, and only Sam Lowes appeared to have any answer for his pace.
The Briton trailed by a quarter of a second but enjoyed a comfortable advantage over the rest of the field prior to the red flag. That all changed following the resumption with Johann Zarco, Dominique Aegerter and Thomas Luthi all circulating together, towing each other up the grid. Aegerter was the first to make progress, jumping up to third, but a last-gasp flyer from Zarco saw the defending champion snatch second, 0.034s ahead of Lowes. Aegerter fell to fourth while the championship leader took fifth on a 2:09.171.
Takaaki Nakagami jumped up to sixth with his final lap of the session while Jonas Folger missed out on the front row for the first time this season, qualifying down in seventh. Simone Corsi will start eighth for Speed Up with Franco Morbidelli and Sandro Cortese rounding out the top ten.
Moto2 Red Bull Grand Prix of the Americas (Qualifying Classification)
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