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7 days ago
By motogp.com

Gardner grabs Moto2™ pole from Martin in Spielberg

The top three were split by less than a tenth in the intermediate class on Saturday afternoon

Remy Gardner (Onexox TKKR SAG Team) secured his second Grand Prix pole position thanks to a 1:28.681 in Moto2™ Q2 at the myWorld Austrian Grand Prix. It’s the Australian’s first front row start since his 2019 Assen pole position, as Gardner edged out Jorge Martin (Red Bull KTM Ajo) by just 0.036, with Liqui Moly Intact GP’s Marcel Schrötter picking up his first front row since the 2019 German GP in P3.

The Q2 session was slightly delayed due to technical issues with the timing, but once we got the 15-minute pole position scrap underway, we weren’t disappointed. Championship leader Enea Bastianini (Italtrans Racing Team) was top as the riders came round to complete their first flying laps, but SKY Racing Team VR46’s Marco Bezzecchi and Luca Marini soon changed that. However, a rookie sensation then went P1 as Aron Canet (Inde Aspar Team) shot to the summit. It was a disastrous start to the session for former Championship leader Tetsuta Nagashima (Red Bull KTM Ajo), a crash at Turn 9 ultimately ended his session with the Japanese rider unable to set a time.

Free Practice pacesetter Sam Lowes (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) had no such worries though as the British rider went P2, with Schrötter, Tom Lüthi (Liqui Moly Intact GP) and Martin going faster than Bezzecchi in a fierce Moto2™ session.

With eight minutes to go Bastianini was back at the top, but Martin then beat Nagashima’s lap record by 0.001 to claim provisional pole position at the team’s home race. Gardner was on a charge and went P4, with Schrötter slamming in a time good enough for P2 as the front row changed consistently. Gardner then turned up the wick to snatch pole away from Martin, but there was plenty of red sectors coming in – Lüthi, Schrötter and Bastianini were all up in the first sector.

None of the riders could hold the advantage though and Martin’s best efforts on his second run couldn’t match Gardner’s time, which sees the Aussie pick up his second front row start… ever! And they’ve both been pole positions. 0.036 is the margin back to Martin, the Spaniard pleased with his second front row start of 2020, with Schrötter looking back on form with a P3 on Saturday afternoon.

Bastianini starts 4th and will be eyeing a hat-trick of wins when the Moto2™ riders attack the Red Bull Ring on Sunday. The title chase leader has Canet for company in P5, with Lowes having to settle for P6 after topping almost every session until qualifying. Amazingly, 0.037 splits Lowes in P6 to Bezzecchi in 10th, with P1 to P10 covered by just 0.250. Jorge Navarro (Beta Tools Speed Up) recovered from a heavy FP3 crash to sit on the front of Row 3 in P7, with Marini and Lüthi slotting in ahead of 10th place Bezzecchi.

Who fancies picking a winner from that? Martin and Lowes looked like they have the superior race pace but when it comes to Sunday, anything can happen. Will it be wet, will it be dry? Tune in at 12:20 local time (GMT+2) to find out who will take the Moto2™ glory in Austria.

Top 10:
1. Remy Gardner (ONEXOX TKKR SAG Team) – 1:28.681
2. Jorge Martin (Red Bull KTM Ajo) + 0.036
3. Marcel Schrotter (Liqui Moly Intact GP) + 0.064
4. Enea Bastianini (Italtrans Racing Team) + 0.127
5. Aron Canet (Inde Aspar Team) + 0.133
6. Sam Lowes (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) + 0.213
7. Jorge Navarro (Beta Tools Speed Up) + 0.224
8. Luca Marini (SKY Racing Team VR46) + 0.232
9. Thomas Luthi (Liqui Moly Intact GP) + 0.238
10. Marco Bezzecchi (SKY Racing Team VR46) + 0.250

Click here for the full results!

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