Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Ajo) left it late at the Gran Premio Movistar de Aragon to secure South Africa’s first intermediate class pole position since 1984 thanks to a 1:53.149, displacing second-place Marcel Schrötter (Dynavolt Intact GP) at the final second as the German missed out on a maiden pole by just 0.074.
After another solid weekend, Schrötter looked set to spearhead the grid for the first time in his career until Binder pulled a blinding lap out of the bag on his final flying run to project himself from 10th to 1st, Schrotter having to settle for second on the grid for the fourth time this season. Joining the duo in parc ferme was Jorge Navarro (Federal Oil Gresini Moto2) as the Spaniard lines up on the front row for the first time in the Moto2™ class.
Despite a crash early in the session, Alex Marquez (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) set an identical time to Navarro to line up P4 on the grid, with Championship leader Francesco Bagnaia (SKY Racing Team VR46) 0.018 behind the Spaniard in fifth – this ends a run of three straight pole positions for the Italian. Compatriot Mattia Pasini (Italtrans Racing Team) lines up sixth for Sunday’s race after threatening the front row throughout, with Fabio Quartararo (MB Conveyors – Speed Up) seventh – the Frenchman and Binder are the only non-Kalex riders inside the top 12.
Lorenzo Baldassarri (Pons HP40) earns his best grid slot since the Sachsenring in eighth, with fellow Italians Simone Corsi (Tasca Racing Scuderia Moto2) and Luca Marini (SKY Racing Team VR46) rounding out the top ten. It was a difficult afternoon for title contender Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM Ajo) after the Portuguese rider could only manage P18 in qualifying – can he fight back and challenge for a podium on Sunday?
Stefano Manzi (Forward Racing Team) crashed for the third time this weekend in qualifying, with Augusto Fernandez (Pons HP40) also falling – riders ok.
Bagnaia vs Oliveira rolls into MotorLand on Sunday as racing creeps over the horizon, but it’s the latter’s teammate who will launch from pole. Under two-tenths splitting the top six in qualifying sets us up for another closely fought Moto2™ race, and you can watch all the action live from 12:20 local time (GMT +2).