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Simeon secures #AmericasGP Moto2™ pole

 Simeon secures #AmericasGP Moto2™ pole

Federal Oil Gresini’s Xavier Simeon took his second Moto2™ pole position at the Red Bull Grand Prix of The Americas.

The predicted rain stayed away, allowing for dry sessions both in FP3 and Qualifying. Moto2™ was fortunate enough to finish Friday with a fully dry session, with only a handful of riders not improving their times from FP3.

Sam Lowes suffered a big crash in FP3 but seemed unhindered by it as he immediately started setting record-breaking laps in Qualifying. The Speed Up rider suffered a crash after one of his fastest laps but remained out for several more laps before coming into the pits. The majority of the session saw Lowes lead with a 2’09.942.

It was not until the very final stages of the session that Simeon got his charge underway. The Belgian rider set two laps in the 2’09s with a best of 2’09.888, a new pole position record for the Moto2™ class. He claimed an emotional podium in Qatar and will be looking to go one better in this Sunday’s race. “It’s a good start to the season, but today is zero points so tomorrow is the most important. The podium in Qatar wasn’t just luck and we confirmed that today,” said Simeon.

Zarco looked certain to win the race in Qatar before a technical problem with the gear shifter left him stuck in third gear for the final laps. The new Kalex rider continued his strong form and will start from fourth, 0.214s from pole. He reflected, “We’re not on the front row, but the pace we have is very good. I lowered my best lap time, but other riders did so by even more. I'm not worried.”

It has been a difficult weekend for the Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS team, as both Tito Rabat and Alex Marquez crashed twice on Friday. Rabat had a steadier Saturday, focusing as always on longer runs managing 20 laps in the Qualifying session. His best time of 2’10.077 secured him third on the grid. Rabat’s pace is steady in the mid to low 2’10s and looks more consistent than that of Lowes.

The rookie season of Alex Marquez continues to be filled with crashes, the Spaniard tumbling in the final stages of Qualifying. He will start 23rd on the grid. Fellow rookie Alex Rins lines up eighth ahead of experienced riders such as Mika Kallio and Simone Corsi, as he continues his impressive adaptation to the class.

Qualifying also saw a return to form for two former front runners in the shape of Takaaki Nakagami and Julian Simon, lining up on the grid in sixth and seventh respectively. Nakagami had a strong start to 2014 before struggling to score points for the remainder of the season. He and his IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia team appear to have resolved the setup issues that plagued them last year.

Meanwhile Julian Simon, along with Anthony West, received the new aluminium swing arm for their QMMF Racing Tram Speed Up machines. They were previously running a carbon swing arm but the new one has improved the feel for the riders. Lowes has been running the newer version since testing.

Thomas Luthi’s session was filled with frustration as technical problems plagued his Kalex machine, forcing him back to the pits on multiple occasions. He was able to salvage 17th on the grid and was just 1.097s back from Simeon on pole, once again demonstrating how competitive the Moto2™ class is.

Crashes filled the session with Mulhauser and Cardus both having issues in the opening minutes. Lorenzo Baldassari also lost the front of his Athina Forward Racing Kalex machine. Cortese was attempting to follow Johann Zarco but also fell. Marcel Schrotter and Franco Morbidelli also had incidents on their last laps.

Click here for the full Moto2™ qualifying results, with the race scheduled 12:20 local time in Austin on Sunday.

Moto2, 2015, RED BULL GRAND PRIX OF THE AMERICAS, QP, Xavier Simeon, Sam Lowes, Tito Rabat

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