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Lowes celebrates first Moto2™ pole despite crash

Lowes celebrates first Moto2™ pole despite crash

Britain’s Sam Lowes will start from pole position at the Commercial Bank Grand Prix of Qatar despite a crash ending his session early.

The session got underway with many Moto2™ riders opting to go out on used tyres first. With no warm-up before qualifying on Saturday it was important to get a feel for the track conditions without wasting a set of new tyres.

Qualifying continued the three-way battle between Sam Lowes, Johann Zarco and Tito Rabat that we’ve witnessed throughout much of the weekend. A 1’59.423s saw Lowes take his first ever pole position in Moto2™ and Speed Up’s first pole since Andrea Iannone in Aragon back in 2010. “It wasn’t great to crash at the end of the session, but the pole wasn’t crucial. As long as we were on the front row I was happy so I wasn’t too worried after the crash on cold tyres,” Lowes said after the session. He’s looking forward to battling with Zarco and Rabat tomorrow.

Zarco was just 0.332s behind and did give Lowes and his Speed Up team some cause for concern on his final lap, setting three personal best sectors. The French rider completed five laps in the 1’59 bracket during qualifying, more than anyone else. “My team and I are ready for the race and already know which tyre we will use. Things are going well,” said the Frenchman, content with starting second.

Defending Moto2™ Champion Tito Rabat started the session with a two longer runs, continuing to refine his race pace. The Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS rider was able to drop into the 1’59s at the end of each of these runs. “We’ve improved a lot since the first session, we’ll focus on pushing hard from the start and fight till the end in the race tomorrow,” commented the reining Moto2™ Champion.

The battle tomorrow looks set to be between these three. Of the trio Rabat looks to have the best race pace, able to lap in the low 2’00s and improving his lap time even on used tyres. Riders are confident they can keep their lap times up during the race, as they are not experiencing much drop off with the Dunlop tyres. Lowes will be looking for his first Moto2™ podium whilst Zarco will be looking to improve on his best result of third.

Sandro Cortese and Jonas Folger were the only other Moto2™ riders able to drop into the 1’59s, the pair heading the second row. Cortese started the Qatar Grand Prix from second last year before finishing a solid seventh. The German pair looks set for a close battle with Xavier Simeon who also showed a strong race pace just behind that of the leaders.

There was disappointment down the grid for Mika Kallio and Dominique Aegerter. Kallio, second in the championship last year, had a small technical issue in the pits which limited his track time slightly, as the new Italtrans rider qualified 16th. Meanwhile a lack of testing on his new Kalex saw Aegerter struggle to 25th. The Swiss rider was a constant challenger for the podium last season on the Suter, but has yet to fully adapt to the Kalex.

Click here for the Moto2™ Qualifying Practice results.

 

Tags:
Moto2, 2015, COMMERCIAL BANK GRAND PRIX OF QATAR, QP, Sam Lowes, Johann Zarco, Tito Rabat

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