Sam Lowes (Elf Marc VDS Racing Team) is on pole for the sixth time in 2021 after the British rider mastered the tricky Moto2™ Q2 conditions at the Gran Premio Nolan del Made in Italy e dell'Emilia-Romagna. It’s Lowes’ 17th intermediate class pole, an all-time record, and his 1:36.510 was 0.045s faster than second place Jorge Navarro (+EGO Speed Up), with Augusto Fernandez making it two Elf Marc VDS Racing Team machines on the front row.
Gardner and Raul Fernandez find the going tough in Q2
With no rain in the air and the track continuing to dry, the lap times would get quicker and quicker in the chase for Moto2™ pole position. Navarro came through a Q1 crash fest to immediately set the pace, with Gardner lingering down in P15 with five minutes to go. Both Xavi Vierge and Petronas Sprinta Racing teammate Jake Dixon crashed at Turn 15 – one after another – in a scary incident to bring out the yellow flags, with Celestino Vietti (SKY Racing Team VR46), Ai Ogura (Idemitsu Honda Team Asia) and Stefano Manzi (Flexbox HP40) crashing too.
Meanwhile, Augusto Fernandez and Aron Canet (Aspar Team Moto2) climbed into P2 and P3 respectively behind Navarro, as Raul Fernandez tucked the front at Turn 2 – the title contender was in the gravel. All these yellow flags were hurting Gardner’s progress, and down in P15 still, the Aussie had one lap left to try and climb the rankings.
Lowes was able to slam in two consecutive pole position laps, but Gardner – despite improving his time on the last lap – was only able to make up one spot to P14. Disappointment for the title leader, but with Raul Fernandez only 9th, it could have been worse.
The top 10
Canet fronts Row 2 in P4 with Vietti sticking his Kalex in P5 despite his Turn 1 crash, Marcos Ramirez (American Racing) completes the second row. Manzi held onto P7 in the end, the Italian will have reigning Moto3™ World Champion Albert Arenas (Aspar Team Moto2) and title hunting Raul Fernandez for company on Row 3. Somkiat Chantra (Idemitsu Honda Team Asia) rounded out the top 10.
Nine points separate Gardner and Raul Fernandez in the chase to be crowned 2021 Moto2™ King, what size will that gap be come Sunday afternoon? Tune in at 12:20 local time (GMT+2) to find out what title twists lie ahead.
1. Sam Lowes (Elf Marc VDS Racing Team) – 1:36.510
2. Jorge Navarro (+EGO Speed Up) + 0.045
3. Augusto Fernandez (Elf Marc VDS Racing Team) + 0.234
4. Aron Canet (Aspar Team Moto2) + 0.440
5. Celestino Vietti (SKY Racing Team VR46) + 0.590
6. Marcos Ramirez (American Racing) + 0.790
7. Stefano Manzi (Flexbox HP40) + 1.001
8. Albert Arenas (Aspar Team Moto2) + 1.048
9. Raul Fernandez (Red Bull KTM Ajo) + 1.092
10. Somkiat Chantra (Idemitsu Honda Team Asia) + 1.176