It’s a 15th career Moto2™ pole position for Elf Marc VDS Racing Team’s Sam Lowes after his 1:28.659 was enough to beat Raul Fernandez (Red Bull KTM Ajo) by 0.068s in qualifying at the Bitci Motorrad Grand Prix von Österreich. Ai Ogura (Idemitsu Honda Team Asia) makes it two rookies on the front row to claim his second consecutive Q2 top three at the Red Bull Ring.
Title contenders crash as the fight for pole goes to the wire
World Championship leader Remy Gardner (Red Bull KTM Ajo) was fastest out of the blocks in Q2 and set consecutive fastest times, before Aron Canet (Aspar Team Moto2) went P1 with a 1:29.015. The Spaniard’s time at the top didn’t last long though as Ogura and then Lowes took provisional pole. It was a frantic start to the session and once again, Ogura returned to P1.
Marco Bezzecchi (SKY Racing Team VR46) then crashed at Turn 9 unhurt, bringing out the yellow flags while on a personal best lap time. With six minutes to go, Gardner was 12th with teammate Raul Fernandez 14th and needed to find six tenths to bridge the gap to Ogura in the hotter afternoon conditions. Title race leader Gardner did then respond with three minutes to go, the Australian climbed to provisional P3 before Augusto Fernandez then demoted Gardner to 4th by going 3rd.
On his next lap, Augusto Fernandez then went P2 before his teammate Lowes snatched P1 by 0.143s. A collector’s item then occurred at Turn 1 as Gardner crashed unhurt, just as Raul Fernandez shot to P2 behind Lowes. No other times that troubled the pointy end of the grid came in as Lowes held onto a 15th Moto2™ pole position, less than a tenth clear of Raul Fernandez. Ogura impressed yet again to claim P3, the Japanese rider will be one of the podium favourites for Sunday’s race.
The remaining top 10
Augusto Fernandez will start 4th in Austria on a second row that consists of Gardner and Canet, with Somkiat Chantra (Idemitsu Honda Team Asia) picking up a fantastic P7. Celestino Vietti (SKY Racing Team VR46) makes it three rookies inside the top eight, 2019 Moto3™ World Champion Lorenzo Dalla Porta (Italtrans Racing Team) is ninth ahead of 10th place Tom Lüthi (Pertamina Mandalika SAG Team). Bezzecchi’s crash sees the man third in the Championship having to start from P16.
The Moto2™ Austrian GP kicks off at 12:20 local time (GMT+2) on Sunday afternoon – don’t miss it!
1. Sam Lowes (Elf Marc VDS Racing Team) – 1:28.659
2. Raul Fernandez (Red Bull KTM Ajo) + 0.068
3. Ai Ogura (Idemitsu Honda Team Asia) + 0.143
4. Augusto Fernandez (Elf Marc VDS Racing Team) + 0.152
5. Remy Gardner (Red Bull KTM Ajo) + 0.150
6. Aron Canet (Aspar Team Moto2) + 0.356
7. Somkiat Chantra (Idemitsu Honda Team Asia) + 0.400
8. Celestino Vietti (SKY Racing Team VR46) + 0.540
9. Lorenzo Dalla Porta (Italtrans Racing Team) + 0.561
10. Thomas Luthi (Pertamina Mandalika SAG Team) + 0.624