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10 hours ago
By motogp.com

Marini the master in final Moto2™ QP of 2018

Italian picks up a second pole of the season to top Vierge by 0.027, Schrötter completes the front row

Luca Marini (SKY Racing Team VR46) picked up where he left off in Malaysia to take pole position at the Gran Premio Motul de la Comunitat Valenciana, his 1:35.777 enough to beat Xavi Vierge (Dynavolt Intact GP) by a slender 0.027, with fellow Dynavolt Intact GP rider Marcel Schrötter completing the front row – 0.168 back from Marini.

The clouds loomed for Moto2™ qualifying but it stayed dry and as the clock ticked towards the 10-minute remaining mark, it was Marini who led the way. Schrotter then took over at the top to better the Italian by 0.080 – but Marini wasn’t going down without a fight. Straight away the Malaysian GP race winner leapfrogged Schrötter to head the field again – 0.007 the gap. Then, the Italian went quicker once more to move the goal posts further – 0.201 his advantage over the field.

Vierge was then on a mission, but could he topple Marini’s time? Nearly, but not quite. The Spaniard crossed the line just 0.027 off to go to P2. Personal best laps were incoming, but nothing would trouble Marini at the summit – a second pole of the year was the Italian’s, with Vierge’s time also unable to be bettered. Schrötter tried to climb up the front row but despite setting his best time on his final lap, the German would remain P3 – 0.168 off pole.

2018 World Champion Francesco Bagnaia (SKY Racing Team VR46) managed to launch himself up to P4 at the chequered flag as he prepares to go into battle for the final time in the intermediate class on Sunday. Compatriot Lorenzo Baldassarri (Pons HP40) also managed to improve on his last lap to go from P7 to P5, he now starts one place ahead of Sam Lowes (Swiss Innovative Investors) in P6 – this was Lowes’ best qualifying result since the German GP. Just 0.001 behind the British rider was Joan Mir (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) in seventh, who in turn was just 0.044 ahead of countryman Augusto Fernandez (Pons HP40) – P8 for the Spaniard after getting himself into the top ten in the latter stages. Fabio Quartararo (HDR Heidrun – Speed Up) was ninth, with the two Red Bull KTM Ajo machines next up – P10 for Miguel Oliveira, P11 for Brad Binder.

Wet conditions look set to be the name of the game for Sunday’s Moto2™ race as the curtains close on a spectacular intermediate class season. Who will take the final win? Tune in for the race at 11:20 local time (GMT +1).

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