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In some ways, that was a fitting way to end qualifying in 2021. Remarkably, Simone Corsi (MV Agusta Forward Racing) claimed a first pole position since the 2012 Aragon GP in Moto2™ Gran Premio Motul de la Comunitat Valenciana Q2, after coming through Q1. It was a session that saw title-chasing Raul Fernandez (Red Bull KTM Ajo) crash, but the Spaniard starts P5, with World Championship leader Remy Gardner (Red Bull KTM Ajo) going for title glory from P8. Celestino Vietti (SKY Racing Team VR46) and Augusto Fernandez (Elf Marc VDS Racing Team) bag front row starts.
In his final Grand Prix weekend, Tom Lüthi (Pertamina Mandalika SAG Team) made it through Q1 to earn himself a final pole position battle appearance alongside Corsi. Meanwhile, the two title rivals were on track together in the opening exchanges, and at the end of everyone’s second flying laps, Raul Fernandez was quickest. Gardner, meanwhile, was P8. That soon turned to P11 as some faster laps were slotted in, with Fabio Di Giannantonio (Federal Oil Gresini Moto2) and Aron Canet (Inde Aspar Team) less than a tenth down.
With six minutes to go, Augusto Fernandez leapt to P1 as we then saw the top five split by less than a tenth, with Q1 pacesetter Corsi going P5. Vietti ensured Augusto Fernandez’ time at the summit was short lived but Corsi, shadowing the Spaniard, found a 1:34.956 to go provisional pole.
Drama then unfolded for one of the title contenders. Raul Fernandez crashed unhurt at Turn 2 with three minutes left on the clock, and that was the Spaniard’s session done. Di Giannantonio went pole but his lap got cancelled, the Italian couldn’t then repeat it on his next lap, and with no one else able to better Corsi, the experienced Italian claimed a remarkable pole position.
Di Giannantonio will start P4 ahead of Raul Fernandez in P5, the latter only has one option on Sunday afternoon if he’s to have any chance of winning the title: victory. Lüthi will join Raul Fernandez on Row 2 in P6, a cracking effort from the fourth-highest Grand Prix appearance maker.
Canet launches from P7, only place ahead of the World Championship leader Gardner. The Australian will wrap up the title if he finishes in P13 or higher, no matter what Raul Fernandez does – a good start and staying out of trouble will be imperative for Gardner. Jorge Navarro (Termozeta Speed Up) and Sam Lowes (Elf Marc VDS Racing Team) rounded out a top 10 that were covered by just 0.223s.
Gardner vs Raul Fernandez. One of the Red Bull KTM Ajo stars will win the Moto2™ title on Sunday in Valencia, but who will it be? Find out by tuning into the last intermediate class race of 2021 at 12:20 local time (GMT+1).
1. Simone Corsi (MV Agusta Forward Racing) – 1:34.956
2. Celestino Vietti (SKY Racing Team VR46) + 0.049
3. Augusto Fernandez (Elf Marc VDS Racing Team) + 0.070
4. Fabio Di Giannantonio (Federal Oil Gresini Moto2) + 0.078
5. Raul Fernandez (Red Bull KTM Ajo) + 0.080
6. Tom Lüthi (Pertamina Mandalika SAG Team) + 0.135
7. Aron Canet (Inde Aspar Team) + 0.147
8. Remy Gardner (Red Bull KTM Ajo) + 0.161
9. Jorge Navarro (Termozeta Speed Up) + 0.197
10. Sam Lowes (Elf Marc VDS Racing Team) + 0.223
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