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It’s a good time to be Augusto Fernandez. On top of his move to MotoGP™ next year at GASGAS Factory Racing now being confirmed, the current Red Bull KTM Ajo Moto2™ rider has qualified on pole position at the Gran Premio Animoca Brands de Aragon with a 1:51.888. Fernandez will share the front row of the grid at MotorLand Aragon with none other than the Shimoku GASGAS Aspar Team duo of Albert Arenas and Jake Dixon, whom he beat to pole by 0.124 and 0.291 seconds respectively. His nearest rival for the intermediate class title, Ai Ogura (Idemitsu Honda Team Asia), is set to get away from Row 3 come Sunday afternoon.
Ogura had dropped into Q1 but got himself out of there with the second-fastest time of that initial, 15-minute stanza, before setting the early pace in Q2 on a 1:52.402. That was the fastest lap of the session until Aron Canet (Flexbox HP40) clocked a 1:52.274 with less than five minutes remaining, but the Flexbox HP40 rider’s time would prove insufficient for any place on the front row at all.
Dixon took over top spot with a 1:52.179 before Fernandez jumped from a provisional Row 4 starting berth to first position with his 1:51.888. No one would go faster than that, but Arenas did follow him across the line to improve from seventh to second with a 1:52.012. With last-start winner Alonso Lopez (CAG Speed Up) setting a late 1:52.270, Canet was shuffled to fifth and they are set to share the second row – one which is covered by just a single hundredth of a second – with Pedro Acosta (Red Bull KTM Ajo).
Tony Arbolino (Elf Marc VDS Racing Team) earned seventh with a 1:52.289 with the chequered flag out, and will head up Row 3 alongside the Idemitsu Honda Team Asia duo of Ogura, who went as quick as a 1:52.397, and Somkiat Chantra. Joe Roberts (Italtrans Racing Team) rounds out the top 10, ahead of Fermin Aldeguer (CAG Speed Up), Filip Salac (Gresini Racing Moto2™), and Jorge Navarro (Flexbox HP40), the latter of whom crashed at Turn 5 in the fifth minute of the session.
Manuel Gonzalez (Yamaha VR46 Master Camp Team) took 14th, from Q1 pace-setter Cameron Beaubier (American Racing), Bo Bendsneyder (Pertamina Mandalika SAG Team), and Celestino Vietti (Mooney VR46 Racing Team). Vietti’s had already been an eventful day given he looked to be directly through to Q2 until he lost his best lap for a track limits breach and slipped into Q1. The Italian advanced from that opening qualifying session but was soon on the back foot again due to an early crash at Turn 1 and would ultimately claim just 17th on a 1:53.481, one spot up on Alessandro Zaccone (Gresini Racing Moto2™). Barry Baltus (RW Racing GP) missed the Q1 top 4 by only three hundredths of a second and is set to head up Row 7, next to Lorenzo Dalla Porta (Italtrans Racing Team) and Senna Agius (Elf Marc VDS Racing Team).
Fernandez can put an exclamation mark on his week with a victory at Aragon, but there is no shortage of candidates out to spoil the party. Next up, it’s the Sunday morning Warm Up, then race start at 12:20 (GMT +2)!
Moto2™ Q2 Top 10:
1. Augusto Fernandez (Red Bull KTM Ajo) – 1:51.888
2. Albert Arenas (Shimoku GASGAS Aspar Team) + 0.124
3. Jake Dixon (Shimoku GASGAS Aspar Team) + 0.291
4. Alonso Lopez (CAG Speed Up) + 0.382
5. Aron Canet (Flexbox HP40) + 0.386
6. Pedro Acosta (Red Bull KTM Ajo) + 0.392
7. Tony Arbolino (Elf Marc VDS Racing Team) + 0.401
8. Ai Ogura (Idemitsu Honda Team Asia) + 0.509
9. Somkiat Chantra (Idemitsu Honda Team Asia) + 0.587
10. Joe Roberts (Italtrans Racing Team) + 0.688
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