Ai Ogura (Idemitsu Honda Team Asia) took his first Moto2™ pole position at the Gran Premio Red Bull de España, the Japanese rider just edging out Elf Marc VDS Racing’s Toby Arbolino and Sam Lowes as an incredibly close front row is covered by just 0.032 at Jerez. It’s Ogura’s second career pole and first in the intermediate category as he aims for that first Moto2™ win on Sunday.
There were a few surprise names looking for a way through Q1, including Indonesia winner Somkiat Chantra (Idemitsu Honda Team Asia), who did top the session, and Portugal podium finisher Jorge Navarro (Flexbox HP 40) in second. The other two moving through were Albert Arenas (Autosolar GASGAS Aspar Team) and Bo Bendsneyder (Pertamina Mandalika SAG Team)… leaving Cameron Beaubier (American Racing) out of Q2 a week on from his front row start on the Algarve.
Arbolino and Lowes were among the quickest throughout Q2, and the former moved into provisional pole position with a 1:41.299 at the halfway mark. His British teammate set a 1:41.321 just moments later, giving Marc VDS a one-two at the time, before Ogura struck.
The Japanese rider, who is second in the World Championship and just two points ahead of Arbolino, then set a 1:41.289 to put himself 0.010s clear of the Italian and 0.032s ahead of Lowes. From thereon out, the front row was decided.
Behind the Ogura, Arbolino, Lowes triple threat, Flexbox HP40’s Aron Canet pulled off an impressive Saturday. Only six days after breaking his left radius bone in the multi-rider crash in Portugal, he was also in the fight for pole position in Spain. Canet’s 1:41.369 had him fastest until Arbolino took over, and is good enough for fourth on the starting grid in the end.
Also on Row 2 will be Fermin Aldeguer (Lightech Speed Up) and Moto2™ World Championship leader Celestino Vietti (Mooney VR46 Racing Team), with Chantra coming through Q1 and ultimately qualifying seventh. Bendsneyder takes P8, ahead of Red Bull KTM Ajo’s Augusto Fernandez and Pedro Acosta.
Jake Dixon (Autosolar GASGAS Aspar Team) was fastest in all three Free Practice sessions but the Briton crashed as he chased an improvement in the final two minutes of Q2, set to start 11th.