Red Bull KTM Ajo's Remy Gardner has taken his first pole position of 2021 at the Red Bull Spanish Grand Prix following a record-breaking Q2 fight. A final corner error from Sam Lowes (Elf Marc VDS Racing Team) cost him top spot as the Briton let slip a three tenth advantage on his final flying lap. But there no such errors for Gardner, plus his fellow front row qualifiers Fabio Di Giannantonio (Federal Oil Gresini Moto2) and Marco Bezzecchi (SKY Racing Team VR46).
The Australian took control early in the session, signalling his intent with a stunning new outright lap record of 1:40.667. That lap came under threat almost instantly though, with first Di Giannantonio and then Bezzecchi getting to within a tenth of the fastest-ever Jerez lap. The clock ticked by and, unsurprisingly, not many were able to get near to the electric lap Gardner had laid down until Lowes came along.
The Briton was producing something special: a tenth up at the first sector, two tenths up at the second sector, three tenths up at the third sector. Pole position was his but for the front-end of his Kalex trying to escape as he rolled through the final corner. That mistake was enough to not only cost him pole position but also deny him a place on the front row of the grid. To make matters worse too, as he tried to push on and make amends, the front-end did finally let go at Turn 2 bringing to an end his Q2 charge.
As a result, Gardner's first pole position of 2021 was confirmed as the World Championship looks to stretch out his title lead in Sunday's intermediate class scrap. He'll no doubt have company from Di Giannantonio, Bezzecchi, Lowes and the man fronting the second row of the grid in fourth: rookie Raul Fernandez (Red Bull KTM Ajo). The final spot on row two was in the end taken by Petronas Sprinta Racing's Xavi Vierge.
Elf Marc VDS Racing Team's Augusto Fernandez will front the third row of the grid ahead of what will be a disappointed Joe Roberts. The Italtrans Racing Team rider suffered a late crash, which was brought to an end all hopes of challenging for the front two rows. The pair will be joined on row three by IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia's Ai Ogura. Another couple of riders who were left frustrated were Jake Dixon (Petronas Sprinta Racing) and Aron Canet (Inde Aspar Team), who both also crashed out in the closing stages. Rounding out row four will be Lightech Speed Up's Jorge Navarro.
1. Remy Gardner (Red Bull KTM Ajo) - 1:40.667
2. Fabio Di Giannantonio (Federal Oil Gresini Moto2) + 0.071
3. Marco Bezzecchi (SKY Racing Team VR46) + 0.086
4. Raul Fernandez (Red Bull KTM Ajo) + 0.141
5. Sam Lowes (Elf Marc VDS Racing Team) + 0.166
6. Xavi Vierge (Petronas Sprinta Racing) + 0.371
7. Augusto Fernandez (Elf Marc VDS Racing Team) + 0.543
8. Joe Roberts (Italtrans Racing Team) + 0.568
9. Ai Ogura (Idemitsu Honda Team Asia) + 0.584
10. Jake Dixon (Petronas Sprinta Racing) + 0.599