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21 days ago
By motogp.com

Marquez storms to Moto2™ pole, rookies shine in the rain

Alex Marquez was two seconds clear in the wet weather, but with dry conditions due tomorrow, the grid has an interesting shape to it

The final grid to be settled ahead of Sunday came in the form of Moto2™ at the Monster Energy Grand Prix České republiky, with the rain continuing to cause shocks and surprises across the intermediate class. At the end of play, honours went to Championship leader Alex Marquez (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) who blitzed to pole position by more than two seconds, ahead of Sam Lowes (Federal Oil Gresini Moto2) and Lorenzo Baldassarri (FLEXBOX HP 40).

There was plenty of drama in Q1, with Australia’s Remy Gardner (ONEXOX TKKR SAG Team) slotting in at the head of the standings to lead Bo Bendsneyder (NTS RW Racing GP) and Britain’s Jake Dixon (Sama Qatar Angel Nieto Team) in third, with all riders setting consistent and strong lap times. Completing the top four was Italian Marco Bezzecchi (Red Bull KTM Tech 3, who went through into Q2. Joe Roberts (American Racing KTM) suffered a big highside and consequently, missed out on progressing through to Q2.

With Q2 underway, times continued to tumble with the rain easing off. After the first five minutes, the top four consisted of the four riders who came via Q1, with Marco Bezzecchi slotting in nicely at the top – looking for his first pole position since Buriram in Moto3™ last year. However, the gaps were closing, and nothing was concrete.

Lorenzo Baldassarri (FLEXBOX HP 40) switched to dry tyres, swiftly followed by Alex Marquez (EG 0,0 Marc VDS), making for an exciting spectacle. Bo Bendsneyder took a light tumble at Turn 1 and was OK, with him remounting. Marcel Schrötter (Dynavolt Intact GP) came to play in the final few minutes, as did Sam Lowes (Federal Oil Gresini Moto2), with both riders featuring inside the top positions.

However, in the closing stages, it was Fabio Di Giannantonio (HDR Heidrun Speed Up) who took top slot, before Lowes and then Marquez toppled him. It became a game of who could cross the line last before the flag would drop who would be primed for pole. Bendsneyder was the first of the leading riders to take the chequered flag, securing eighth place.

In the dying moments, it was Alex Marquez who usurped Sam Lowes to take top spot by over two seconds – although not a class record. With Lowes in second, an impressive late lap from Lorenzo Baldassarri secured third on the grid and the final front row grid slot, the first time he’s made it to the front row since Losail this season. Nicolo Bulega (SKY Racing Team VR46) had a relatively quiet session but blasted in a lap right at the end to head up row two, whilst Fabio Giannantonio completed the top five.

Making it an all-Italian second row was Marco Bezzecchi, who took his best Moto2™ grid position since joining the class. Marcel Schrötter was seventh and gave himself a good chance of success, whilst being over five seconds off of Marquez’ pace. Bo Bendsneyder was eighth ahead of rookie Jake Dixon and Augusto Fernandez (FLEXBOX HP 40).

Notable names outside of the top ten include Xavi Vierge (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) in 14th, whilst Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Ajo) was in 16th. Moto2™ returnee Mattia Pasini (Tasca Racing Scuderia Moto2) was down in 24th.

  1. Alex Marquez (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) 2’06.787
  2. Sam Lowes (Federal Oil Gresini Moto2) +2.018
  3. Lorenzo Baldassarri (FLEXBOX HP 40) +3.979
  4. Nicolo Bulega (SKY Racing Team VR46) +4.590
  5. Fabio Di Giannantonio (HRD Heidrun Speed Up) +5.266
  6. Marco Bezzecchi (Red Bull KTM Tech 3) +5.486
  7. Marcel Schrötter (Dynavolt Intact GP) +5.637
  8. Bo Bendsneyder (NTS RW Racing GP) +6.053
  9. Jake Dixon (Sama Qatar Angel Nieto Team) +6.334
  10.  Augusto Fernandez (FLEXBOX HP 40) +6.644
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