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Espargaró storms to pole in frantic Japan qualifying

Espargaró storms to pole in frantic Japan qualifying

It was Tuenti Movil HP 40’s Pol Espargaró who stormed to pole position in a frantic Moto2™ qualifying session at the AirAsia Grand Prix of Japan in Motegi in front of Marc Márquez and Esteve Rabat.

In a session that saw riders scrapping it out until the very end for the top grid spot it was Espargaró who once again produced the goods at the end with a lap of 1.50’886, which Team CatalunyaCaixa Repsol’s Marc Márquez was unable to beat on his final go. Making it an all-Spanish front row in Espargaró’s teammate Esteve Rabat, who has displayed good pace all weekend, and could be a serious threat in the race.

Marc VDS Racing Team’s Scott Redding was just over a tenth shy of the front row, with the Brit looking in ominous form this weekend as he heads row two in fourth. Lining up next to him in fifth on the grid is Interwetten-Paddock’s Tom Lüthi, who has continually been progressing up the ranks throughout the weekend. Surprise inclusion in the top six is JiR Moto2’s Johann Zarco, who was largely off the radar in morning practice.

Tech 3 Racing’s Bradley Smith had looked as if he could challenge for a front row start based on his pace in the preceding practices, yet the Brit looked to be struggling with his bike somewhat during qualifying. Italtrans Racing Team’s Toni Elías made a grand re-entry into the Moto2 fold as he put the Kalex in eighth on the grid, ahead of old teammate Nico Terol on the Mapfre Aspar Team Moto2 Suter machine. Elías’ teammate Takaaki Nakagami was the highest placed local rider in tenth.

With positions being fought for with typical Moto2 ferocity, some riders found themselves running off into the gravel throughout the session. One of the fallers was Speed Master’s Andrea Iannone, who continued to look out of sorts this weekend, ultimately ending up in 18th. Other riders that crashed out were Kiefer Racing’s Mike Di Meglio, QMMF Racing’s Elena Rosell and Espargaró’s teammate Axel Pons.


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