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12 days ago
By motogp.com

Lowes smashes lap record, Gardner to start from pole

The British rider stole the show in Moto2™ qualifying but a pitlane penalty means the Australian will launch from P1

Sam Lowes (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) broke the Misano Moto2™ lap record in Q2 at the Gran Premio Lenovo di San Marino e della Riviera di Rimini, his 1:36.170 was enough to beat second place Remy Gardner (Onexox TKKR SAG Team) by 0.254, with home hero Luca Marini (SKY Racing Team VR46) completing the top three. However, because of Lowes’ pitlane penalty start, Gardner will launch from pole position, meaning Marco Bezzecchi (SKY Racing Team VR46) will start from the front row after qualifying 4th.

The opening flying laps saw former lap record holder Bezzecchi sit top of the pile, before Enea Bastianini (Italtrans Racing Team) took provisional pole. However, Lowes was flying and the British rider set a devilishly quick 1:36.666 to take charge, with Bezzecchi improving his time but slotting into second behind Lowes.

Then, Lowes was going even fastest – a lot faster at that. The number 22 came across the line to break the Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli lap record, Bezzecchi didn’t have an answer and the Italian was now three tenths shy of pole. Disaster followed for Bezzecchi, the Styrian GP winner was down at the final corner – thankfully unhurt – but that was it for his qualifying session. Teammate Marini came round to go into P3 with a good lap, 0.4 seconds off Lowes.

Lowes’ teammate Augusto Fernandez (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) was threatening to land himself on the front row, but the Spaniard’s lap time escaped him in the final sector. Meanwhile, Bastianini was going quicker and the future MotoGP™ rider propelled himself from P8 to P4 on his final flying lap, with Gardner then going under the radar to go second. Marini, now P4, managed to respond on his last lap to go ahead of teammate Bezzecchi into P3.

In the end though, no one could get close to Lowes’ scintillating pole position time. It’s the first time Lowes has earned a Saturday P1 since the 2016 Aragon GP. Unfortunately, due to irresponsible riding in Styria, Lowes will have to fight his way through that pack from pitlane if he’s to score points in San Marino. Gardner will start from pole for the second time in three races, the Australian happy to get the better of Marini and Bezzecchi on the Italian duo’s home circuit. The latter two will be confident they can fight for victory on Sunday after showing good pace all weekend, with Marini hoping to extend his Championship lead.

Bastianini will spearhead the second row, fresh from a Ducati MotoGP™ signature, the Italian is set to take the fight to Marini and Bezzecchi as the Moto2™ title fight looks set to heat up in Misano. Xavi Vierge’s (Petronas Sprinta Racing) sixth place in qualifying will see him start from fifth, his best qualifying result of the season and his best since the 2019 Malaysian GP. Marcel Schrötter (Liqui Moly Intact GP) was just over half a second away from Lowes in P7, the German will join Bastianini and Vierge on the second row.

Fernandez settled for eighth in Q2, six tenths shy of his teammate’s time, the Spaniard heading Tetsuta Nagashima (Red Bull KTM Ajo) and Q1 graduate Fabio Di Giannantonio (+Ego Speed Up) in P9 and P10 respectively.

A first pole in four years for Lowes unfortunately won’t see the number 22 line-up at the front of the grid. Instead, we’ll be seeing Gardner try and fend off three hard-charging Italians on their home turf. It promises to be a great spectacle in the intermediate class, but who will be leading the Championship come Sunday afternoon? Watch the Moto2™ race from San Marino at 12:20 local time (GMT+2).

Top 10:
1. Sam Lowes (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) – 1:36.170*
2. Remy Gardner (ONEXOX TKKR SAG Team) + 0.254
3. Luca Marini (SKY Racing Team VR46) + 0.326
4. Marco Bezzecchi (SKY Racing Team VR46) + 0.371
5. Enea Bastianini (Italtrans Racing Team) + 0.444
6. Xavi Vierge (Petronas Sprinta Racing) + 0.493
7. Marcel Schrötter (Liqui Moly Intact GP) + 0.525
8. Augusto Fernandez (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) + 0.658
9. Tetsuta Nagashima (Red Bull KTM Ajo) + 0.848
10. Fabio Di Giannantonio (+EGO Speed Up) + 0.849
*pitlane start penalty for irresponsible riding at the Styrian GP

Click here for the full results!

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