Marcel Schrotter returns to form with Mugello pole

by Ryan Lilly

It’s been a tricky few weeks for German Marcel Schrotter, after injuring himself in a training crash before the Spanish Grand Prix which then lead to two tough weekends in Jerez and Le Mans, but the Dynavolt Intact GP rider returned to form in Mugello, taking pole position and the outright lap record.

Before the fight for pole, the Moto2 riders had their 15-minute Qualifying 1 session, where riders from fifteenth downwards from the combined practice results could have a second chance of getting into the shootout for the first six rows of the grid. In the first session some big names struggled, with Championship leader Lorenzo Baldassari feeling the heat and also Red Bull KTM’s Brad Binder who is still struggling with the KTM chassis.

Despite a difficult weekend so far for Baldassarri, he was able to set the third fastest time in Qualifying 1 putting himself into Qualifying 2 along with fellow VR46 academy rider Nicolo Bulega and the two Spaniards Xavi Vierge and Jorge Martin.

Qualifying 2 rolled around and it was the two Sky VR46 riders of Luca Marini, who topped the opening day in Mugello, and his teammate fresh from Q1 who went straight to the top of the timesheets.

However their times were quickly toppled by Swiss rider Tom Luthi who fired in the fastest ever Moto2 time around the Tuscan circuit.

Luthi’s 1:51.169 would remain unbeaten right up until the final lap of the session, but that wasn’t without trying from the other riders.

Alex Marquez used his teammate’s slipstream to go second fastest and to benefit on his next lap with a few extra miles per hour on the way into San Donato.

Marquez’s next lap was set to be the fastest ever Moto2 lap with a big chance of no one beating it, but he found himself caught up behind Nagashima causing an upset for the EG 0,0 Marc VDS rider.

With only a handful of riders looking like they could improve their times in the final few minutes, Marcel Schrotter was towing the Speed Up of Jorge Navarro around the 3.26-mile long circuit, but sadly for Navarro, he caught Simone Corsi and lost 0.2 seconds meaning the best he could get was fifth position.

Schrotter, however, held his time to the line beating Luthi by just 0.040s with Marquez shuffled back to third.

Heading the second row of the grid is rookie and Qualifying one runner Nicolo Bulega who is joined by Navarro and his SKY teammate Luca Marini.

The third row is headed by Japanese rider Nagashima who continues to impress onboard the SAG Kalex, he’s joined by Sam Lowes and Fernandez.

Remy Gardner rounded out the top ten with rookies of Enea Bastianini and Jorge Martin in eleventh and twelfth positions whilst Corsi and Fabio Di Giannantonio got the better of championship leader Lorenzo Baldassarri who’s horrid form around Mugello continues.

Andrea Locatelli, Xavi Vierge and Mattia Pasini rounded out the final three positions in Qualifying two, much to the surprise of the MotoGP paddock.

Further down the grid, Brad Binder will line up in nineteenth place whilst Iker Lecuona also disappoints down in twenty-third position.

Lights go out for the Moto2 race tomorrow at 11:20 am (UK) where Marcel Schrotter will be fighting to try and take his long-awaited first-ever win.

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