Di Giannantonio ousts Marquez for maiden pole at Misano

Italian rookie takes his first pole position in style on home turf, ahead of the top two in the title fight.

Rookie Fabio Di Giannantonio (+Ego Speed Up) set a fantastic 1:37.481 in Moto2™ Q2 at the GP Octo di San Marino e della Riviera di Rimini to take his first career pole position, beating some serious competition: Championship leader Alex Marquez (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) and second in the standings Augusto Fernandez (FlexBox HP 40) both line up next to him on the front row.

The sun was beaming down at the Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli and it was Remy Gardner (ONEXOX TKKR SAG Team) who shone brightest in the early stages of Q2, the Australian setting the fastest lap of the weekend to lead teammate Tetsuta Nagashima by just 0.007. However, as he has done all weekend, Marquez was threatening the top. 10th after the first flying laps, the Spaniard then went P1 by 0.046 and soon after, Fernandez slotted himself into second. It was tight, however, with the top four split by only 0.053 with five minutes remaining – and then came ‘Diggia’.

The Italian pulled out of his first flying lap on his final run, but there was no stopping him on his last lap. Two tenths under in the first sector became 0.278 in his pocket at the third split and the impressive performance went unchallenged from then on, giving the Moto2™ rookie his first-ever pole position. With Marquez alongside him and Fernandez alongside him, Sunday looks set to be a stunner.

Gardner and Nagashima will line up fourth and fifth as the duo keep up their great weekend at Misano, with Xavi Vierge (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) claiming P6 to complete the front row despite a crash at Turn 9,

Title challenger Tom Lüthi (Dynavolt Intact GP) and birthday boy Sam Lowes (Federal Oil Gresini Moto2) took seventh and eighth, with ninth going the way of home hero Marco Bezzecchi (Red Bull KTM Tech 3) after he came through Q1. It’s the second best qualifying of his rookie season, and he just beat fellow rookie Enea Bastianini (Italtrans Racing Team). ‘Bestia’ is coming back from injury and completed the top ten.

Andrea Locatelli lines up behind his Italtrans teammate in P11, with compatriots Luca Marini (Sky Racing Team VR46), Nicolo Bulega (Sky Racing Team VR46) and Lorenzo Baldassarri (Flexbox HP 40) next up. Jorge Navarro (+Ego Speed Up) is 15th, and he’ll be one of a few looking for a quick fight back through the pack on race day.

Q1 graduate Iker Lecuona (American Racing KTM) crashed in Q2, rider ok. Marcel Schrötter (Dynavolt Intact GP) is ruled out of the remainder of the weekend with a broken collarbone from a crash in practice, and Mattia Pasini (Tasca Racing Scuderia Moto2) was also declared unfit due to a small fracture in a vertebra.

Can ‘Diggia’ become an intermediate class winner? Will the top two in the Championship make Misano into a duelling ground? Don’t miss the Moto2™ race at 12:20 local time (GMT+2) on Sunday.

Qualifying results:
1 – Fabio Di Giannantonio (ITA – Speed Up) 1’37.481
2 – Alex Marquez (SPA – Kalex) +0.173
3 – Augusto Fernandez (SPA – Kalex) +0.164