Francesco Bagnaia (Sky Racing Team VR46) sealed his first back-to-back pole positions in Grand Prix racing at the Gran Premio Octo di San Marino e della Riviera di Rimini after setting an unmatchable 1:37.121, with Marcel Schrötter (Dynavolt Intact GP) 0.210 back in second, sandwiched between two Italians on the front row as Mattia Pasini (Italtrans Racing Team) secured P3 for Sunday’s race.
With the track in optimum condition after the premier class qualifying sessions, it didn’t take long for home favourite Bagnaia to grab the top spot, displacing then provisional pole man Pasini by 0.244 seconds, a time he would then beat himself for pole. The Italian duo were then split by Schrötter, who got the better of Pasini’s time by just 0.085 to earn his fourth front row start of the season and his first since Assen. Can he go on to claim his maiden Grand Prix podium on Sunday?
Behind Pasini on track and one place behind him on the gird was fourth place Fabio Quartararo (+ Ego Speed Up Racing), 0.124 from the front row and the only other rider to get within half a second of Bagnaia on Saturday afternoon. Lining up alongside the Frenchman is Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Ajo), who propelled himself into the middle of the second row on his final lap, with Jorge Navarro (Federal Oil Gresini Moto2) sixth after briefly leading the leading qualifying in the opening minutes.
Working in tandem with his teammate, Luca Marini (Sky Racing Team VR46) will start him home GP from seventh after missing out on the second row by just 0.013s, with Alex Marquez (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) and second in the Championship Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM Ajo) joining him on the third row of the grid in P8 and P9 respectively – the latter suffering a small crash at T4 as he chased a time that could bring him closer to title rival Bagnaia. Joan Mir (EG 0,0 Marc VDS), Dynavolt Intact GP’s Xavi Vierge and Augusto Fernandez (Pons HP40) in P10, P11 and P12 make it an all-Spanish fourth row in Misano.
Home hero Lorenzo Baldassarri (Pons HP40) will start one place behind his teammate in P13, but 2016 winner had a difficult session after crashing twice – rider ok. Will he move through from there? Can Oliveira mount a challenge on title rival and pole man Bagnaia from P9 on the grid? Find out when the intermediate class go into battle at 12:20 local time (GMT +2).
Moto2™ Qualifying Results
1 – Francesco Bagnaia (ITA) KALEX 1’37.121
2 – Marcel Schrötter (GER) KALEX +0.210
3 – Mattia Pasini (ITA) KALEX +0.295