Two battles are set to launch from the front: Lopez vs Acosta for Rookie of the Year, and Fernandez vs Ogura for the crown.
Beta Tools Speed Up’s Alonso Lopez has taken his first Grand Prix pole position by just 0.001, setting a new Lap Record to pip his rival for Rookie of the Year, Pedro Acosta (Red Bull KTM Ajo), to the top.
Acosta was the pace-setter in both FP2 and FP3, and he started Q2 in the same fashion with a 1:34.972 on his opening flyer. Next time through, Lopez took over P1 with a 1:34.314 before Acosta fell just short of reclaiming top spot by a single thousandth. Still, both are under the All Time Lap Record. Incredibly, Lopez then went and set yet another 1:34.314, meaning he can boast two identical fastest laps of the session!
Championship protagonists Augusto Fernandez (Red Bull KTM Ajo) and Ai Ogura (Idemitsu Honda Team Asia) take P3 and P5, respectively, with the former also leading the latter by 9.5 points in the standings ahead of a decisive final race of the season.
After Ogura had closed in on Fernandez in FP3, he laid down the challenge by lapping quicker than the Spaniard in the early stages of Q2. The Championship-leading KTM Ajo ultimately overhauled him to sit third but Ogura will be just one row behind in fifth.
Between them on the timesheets is Tony Arbolino (Elf Marc VDS Racing Team), who came from Q1 to take fourth on the grid with a 1:34.583. Sixth went to fellow Q1 graduate Joe Roberts (Italtrans Racing Team) and seventh to Aron Canet (Flexbox HP 40), while Fermin Aldeguer (Beta Tools Speed Up) dusted himself off from a crash at Turn 2 to move up to eighth thanks to a 1:34.771 on his final lap. Celestino Vietti (Mooney VR46 Racing Team) topped Q1 before securing a P9 start and Lorenzo Dalla Porta (Italtrans Racing Team) rounded out the top 10.
Moto2™ FRONT ROW
1 Alonso Lopez (Beta Tools Speed Up) – Boscoscuro – 1’34.314
2 Pedro Acosta (Red Bull KTM Ajo) – Kalex – +0.001
3 Augusto Fernandez (Red Bull KTM Ajo) – Kalex – +0.167
“Happy to be on the front row, that was the goal for qualifying. And also because I’ve been working good with the team all weekend, we’ve been strong all weekend, in every practice we’ve been at the front. I think we have good pace to also try and fight for the victory tomorrow so this is what I wanted before the weekend started, build confidence with the bike, build good pace for the race. I think we have it, so let’s see.”
“It was a good day, we made a big step from yesterday. I’m really happy about the position and the lap time and the gap to the top, it was a good day and second row is really good for us.
“Especially the front row guys are riding really fast and it’s not easy to beat them. I need to make some step tomorrow but from yesterday to today we made a big step, I hope I can make a fast start tomorrow and fight with the guys. Just do my maximum and finish the race is the target for tomorrow.”
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