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Moto2™ qualifying at the Motul Grand Prix of Japan saw Championship leader Francesco Bagnaia (SKY Racing Team VR46) take his sixth pole position of the season by 0.165 over second place Fabio Quartararo (MB Conveyors – Speed Up), with Iker Lecuona (Swiss Innovative Investors) lining up on the front row for the first time in his Grand Prix career.
Moto2™ Qualifying at the Twin Ring Motegi
Bagnaia didn’t top any of the Free Practice sessions ahead of qualifying at the Twin Ring Motegi but managed to string the fastest lap together when it counted most, ensuring he starts from the front row for the first time since Misano. Quartararo had been fastest in FP3 on Saturday morning, but couldn’t quite better the Italian’s early time of 1:50.759 in the afternoon. Nonetheless, the Frenchman grabs his best qualifying result since he secured pole at the Catalan GP, as Lecuona aims to continue his fantastic weekend in Sunday’s race from the outside of the front row.
Meanwhile, Marcel Schrötter (Dynavolt Intact GP) will launch from the front of the second row in fourth in yet another strong showing for the German, with Lorenzo Baldassarri (Pons HP40) improving his time late in the session to earn himself a P5 starting position. After his huge FP1 crash, Alex Marquez (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) will aim to fight for the podium on a track he claimed victory at last season from P6 on the grid. The man second that day is the rider to start behind the Spaniard on the grid: future teammate Xavi Vierge (Dynavolt Intact GP). P7 for the Spaniard means a best grid position since the German GP, with home rider Tetsuta Nagashima (Idemitsu Honda Team Asia) taking a brilliant P8 after being inside the top ten in every session in Motegi.
Title protagonist Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM Ajo) has work to do from P9 on the grid if he wants to put a stop to Bagnaia’s recent surge. The Portuguese rider has teammate Brad Binder behind him on the grid, with Bagnaia’s teammate Luca Marini slotting into P11 – can the trio make their way to the front?
Stefano Manzi (Forward Racing Team) and twelfth place Augusto Fernandez (Pons HP40) crashed – riders ok.
Is another step towards the title in store for ‘Pecco’ in Japan, or can Oliveira charge through from P9 to close down the points gap? Quartararo and Lecuona both look menacing on the front row and will be aiming for glory – a mesmerising Moto2™ race awaits on Sunday at 12:20 local time (GMT +9).
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