Thomas Luthi demonstrated his undoubted class once again by claiming pole position for the French Grand Prix at Le Mans. The Swiss rider, who led the championship after his victory in the opening round at Losail before falling away, was back to his best this afternoon as he completely dominated the qualifying session.
For his rivals, the damage was done in the early minutes of qualifying with Luthi clocking a 1:37.059 with his first representative lap of the afternoon. As it happened, that lap would have already secured him a front row start but a 1:36.847 next time around made sure of a ninth career pole. Alex Rins was the nearest challenger in second and with three minutes to go, the Spaniard joined Luthi in the 1:36s but his best effort fell half a tenth short.
By contrast, championship leader Sam Lowes looked like a rider in difficulty for the first time this season with the Gresini rider unable to mount a challenge for the front row. Lying on the fringes of the top ten heading into the closing stages, Lowes managed to deliver a personal best but that would only prove good enough for ninth, leaving him with a tough task to preserve his ten-point lead tomorrow.
Away from Luthi’s dominance, plenty of action took place elsewhere with Lorenzo Baldassarri sealing what appeared to be a maiden front row start in Moto2. Unfortunately for the Italian, he was later found to be running tyre pressures lower than to the advised parameters and his best time was deleted, dropping him to seventh.
Simone Corsi profited from the stewards’ decision, moving up onto the front row, while home favourite Johann Zarco lines up fourth despite a crash at Dunlop. Franco Morbidelli starts fifth ahead of Takaaki Nakagami and the unfortunate Baldassarri while Jonas Folger also paid the price for a crash as he qualified eighth, one spot ahead of Lowes.
Moto2 Monster Energy Grand Prix de France (Qualifying Classification)
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