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Argentinian pole for Zarco in Moto2™

 Argentinian pole for Zarco in Moto2™

Johann Zarco starts from pole position for the first time this season in Moto2™ at the Gran Premio Red Bull de la República Argentina.

This is Zarco’s second pole position in Moto2™, the first coming at Silverstone last year. The French rider led for the majority of Qualifying as other riders found the higher track temperature challenging. It was not until the end of the session that Zarco’s time was topped, by the Frenchman himself. A 1’42.809 was not only good enough for pole but also a new fastest lap around the Termas de Rio Hondo circuit for Moto2™.

Zarco and his Ajo motorsport team have worked hard to improve his comfort on the Kalex bike. “The pole is very good, but the race is the most important tomorrow. The team and I are working very well and we’ve improved even since Texas,” he said. The race will be close as all of the top riders are running a similar pace, track conditions on Sunday could play a significant part as the Kalex appears to run better in the hotter temperature than the Speed Up.

Tito Rabat continued his run of three front row starts from three races this year, finishing 0.293s behind Zarco for second. The 2014 Moto2™ champion has battled for front end feel on the 2015 version of the Kalex, but is slowly improving step by step with the help of his Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS team and experienced crew chief Pete Benson. “I’m happy because we understand the bike better and we’re working 100%. If we continue like this we know where we can win and improve and things will come,” said Rabat looking ahead to later in the season.

Technical problems ruined Tom Luthi’s Qualifying in Austin, fortunately the weekend in Argentina has so far been problem free for the Swiss rider. He starts third on the grid in just his third race with the Kalex frame, having spent many years riding a Suter. A return to the podium this weekend will cement Luthi as a real threat for the championship. “I very happy with the front row, it wasn’t easy. I knew I had to do better than last year. You can overtake here, but in Moto2 it’s good to be at the front from the start,” he reflected.

Meanwhile Austin race winner Sam Lowes starts off the front row in fourth for the first time this year. The Brit was not able to recreate his lap from FP3, finding the hotter conditions difficult on the Speed Up. High track temperatures were an even bigger issue for the Italian frame last year, but continued development has eased the problem. Lowes’ race pace is stronger than his grid position suggests, the Brit himself admitting he couldn’t put ‘that one lap’ together in Qualifying.

There were contrasting fortunes for Paginas Amarillas HP 40 teammates Rins and Salom. Alex Rins starts fifth and half a second from pole whereas Salom is down in 18th position, 0.7s slower than his rookie teammate. A debut podium in Argentina last year offers some hope come race day for Salom if he and the team can solve his grip problems that limited him on Saturday.

Also impressing in Qualifying was Jonas Folger. The Qatar race winner failed to score in Austin but now starts sixth on the grid. Moto2™’s level playing field creates a highly competitive grid of riders, demonstrated by Folger’s swing in fortunes.

Marcel Schrotter showed the potential of the Tech 3 frame, qualifying 12th. Florian Alt qualified as the top Suter in 28th, 2.7 seconds off Zarco.

Click here for the full Moto2™ Qualifying results; the race is due to start at 14:20 local time on Sunday in Argentina.

Tags:
Moto2, 2015, GRAN PREMIO RED BULL DE LA REPÚBLICA ARGENTINA, QP, Tito Rabat, Thomas Luthi, Johann Zarco

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