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Ajo Motorsport’s Johann Zarco and Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS’s Tito Rabat seem set for an epic duel in the Moto2™ race on Sunday.
Moto2™ World Championship leader Johann Zarco took his seventh career Grand Prix pole position at the Catalan GP. Zarco showed impressive one-lap pace to become the first man to ever break the 1’46 mark at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya on a Moto2™ bike, smashing the lap record in the process. What was even more impressive was his consistency, as he managed to set six laps under the 1’47 mark during Qualifying.
The French rider seemed happy with his days work: “I feel pretty good since Friday, I wanted to be on the top and prepare for the race as well as possible. Even my lap time in Qualifying is pretty good. It is important to start from the front row here. I’ll try to break away and keep focused but other people want to win too. We need to be clever and manage the race. Our target is victory. I’m from the South of France so it’s like a second home Grand Prix, so many French in the crowd!”
AGR Team’s Jonas Folger, the only double race winner in Moto2™ this season, will start from second on the grid. The German could only manage three laps in the 1’46’s though, and might struggle to match the race pace of Zarco. Folger also admits to facing a dilemma over tyre choice for the race: “No one really knows which tyre to use for the race tomorrow. We’re going to look at the data but I feel good on new tyres. We changed the bike’s setting and made a step forward.”
It is the man who is starting from the back of the front row that could pose the real threat to Zarco. Reigning Moto2™ World Champion Tito Rabat, who is 21 points behind Zarco in the standings, will be hoping to close the gap to the leader after showing impressive race pace throughout the weekend. While he was 0.228s behind Zarco in Qualifying, Rabat managed 9 laps in the 1.46’s and with hardly anything separating the two in terms of average lap times, we could be in for an epic battle between them on race day: “Of course I wanted the pole but I’m happy. We start from the front row at home. We work a little tomorrow to improve the bike and my pace and make the best of the race.”
Another rider who should be in the mix on Sunday afternoon is Technomag Racing Interwetten’s Dominique Aegerter, who will start from fourth. The Swiss rider matched Rabat’s feat of nine laps in the 1’46’s, and after finishing on the podium last time out at Mugello, will definitely be a serious threat.
Speed Up Racing’s Sam Lowes will start from the middle of the second row and managed five sub 1’46 laps, but struggled to match the kind of consistency shown by Zarco and Rabat. The British rider will certainly give it his all, but he appears to be struggling with the set-up of his bike in Barcelona and experienced a few hairy moments during Qualifying.
Paginas Amarillas HP40's Alex Rins could be another in contention after he managed to qualify at the front of the third row in seventh. Rins, who is aiming to get back on the podium for the first time since Argentina, managed seven laps in the 1’46’s and has shown in the past that he can be a real threat towards the end of the race.
Dark horses for Sunday’s race could be Sandro Cortese (9th) and Thomas Luthi (10th), as they too managed to set seven laps in the 1’46’s despite not having the outright one lap pace.
Check out the full Moto2™ Qualifying results, the 23-lap race is due to start at 12:20 local time on Sunday.
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