Lorenzo Baldassarri held off a late charge from Alex Marquez to claim the first pole position of his Grand Prix career at Jerez. Both riders lapped inside the original circuit record but Baldassarri ultimately emerged on top by seven hundredths of a second, earning him his maiden pole at the 89th attempt.
Baldassarri, who had already broken the lap record in morning practice, took control of qualifying with a 1:42.031 shortly before the halfway mark. Although he was never headed from there, Marquez would continue to pile the pressure on the Italian, regularly matching improvements from Baldassarri with a fast lap of his own.
In the end, Baldassarri’s 1:41.925 in the final three minutes proved crucial as Marquez joined him in the 1:41s range, falling short by less than a tenth of a second. Championship leader Francesco Bagnaia was fractionally slower in third with Jorge Navarro one of several riders to crash during the qualifying session, doing so shortly after claiming fourth.
Brad Binder was the leading KTM rider in fifth, just ahead of the impressive Joan Mir who overcame a sickness bug to qualify sixth. Xavi Vierge starts seventh ahead of Sam Lowes, another rider to hit the deck, while Romano Fenati and Mattia Pasini rounded out the top ten. Championship contender Miguel Oliveira found himself among the list of crashers and paid the price, qualifying fourteenth.
Moto2 Gran Premio Red Bull de Espana: (Qualifying)
[table id=2956 /]