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Lowes Takes Record Pole As Raul Fernandez And Gardner Suffer Tougher SaturdayThe Brit becomes the Moto2™ rider with the most poles ever as key Championship players end up off the front two rows

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, making him the rider with the most in the class. It was close though, with his 1:36.510 only 0.045 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 as he took third.

Championship leader Remy Gardner (Red Bull KTM Ajo) took P14 after a tougher day, and teammate and challenger Raul Fernandez took P9 despite a crash… with both looking to move through on Sunday.

Navarro was on another level in a crash-filled Q1, although Albert Arenas (Aspar Team Moto2) was able to cut the gap to three and a half tenths to move through in second, joined by Hector Garzo (Flexbox HP40) and Bo Bendsneyder (Pertamina Mandalika SAG Team).

The crashers were Nicolo Bulega (Federal Oil Gresini Moto2), Marco Bezzecchi (Sky Racing Team VR46), Tony Arbolino (Liqui Moly Intact GP), Marcel Schrötter (Liqui Moly Intact GP), Tommaso Marcon (NTS RW Racing GP), Barry Baltus (NTS RW Racing GP), Simone Corsi (MV Agusta Forward Racing) and Mattia Casadei (Italtrans Racing Team), the latter twice and all riders ok.

With no rain in the air and the track continuing to dry, the lap times got quicker and quicker in the chase for pole. Navarro came through to immediately set the pace, with Gardner lingering down in P15 with five minutes to go.

There were a few more tumbles too. Both Xavi Vierge and Petronas Sprinta Racing teammate Jake Dixon crashed at Turn 15 – one after another – with Celestino Vietti (Sky Racing Team VR46), Ai Ogura (Idemitsu Honda Team Asia) and Stefano Manzi (Flexbox HP40) later crashing out as well.

Meanwhile, Augusto Fernandez and Aron Canet (Aspar Team Moto2) were on a charge and got into P2 and P3 respectively behind Navarro, before another crash added a dash of drama: Raul Fernandez tucked the front at Turn 2 and the title contender was in the gravel. All these yellow flags from the crashes were hurting Gardner’s progress, and down in P15 still, the Aussie had one lap left to try and climb the rankings…

Despite improving his time on the last lap, the Australian was only able to make up one spot to P14, although the crash for his teammate did put paid to progress for the Spaniard too and Raul Fernandez is ninth.

At the top of the timesheets, Lowes managed to avoid the drama to put in two laps good enough for pole though, the Brit edging out Navarro to become the Moto2™ rider with the most pole positions.

The Grid

Behind Lowes, Navarro and then Augusto Fernandez, San Marino GP podium finisher Canet fronts Row 2 in P4, with Vietti taking fifth despite his Turn 1 crash.

Marcos Ramirez (American Racing) completes the second row, ahead of Manzi, who also held onto P7 in the end despite his tumble. The Italian will have reigning Moto3™ World Champion Arenas and title-hunting Raul Fernandez for company on Row 3. Somkiat Chantra (Idemitsu Honda Team Asia) rounded out the top 10.

That’s a wrap on Saturday, and it’s just nine points that separate Gardner and Raul Fernandez in the chase to be crowned 2021 Moto2™ Champion. 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!

Moto2™ Warm Up will now begin at 9:30.

Moto2™ front row:
1 Sam Lowes – Elf Marc VDS Racing Team – Kalex – 1’36.510
2 Jorge Navarro – +Ego Speed Up – Boscoscuro – +0.045
3 Augusto Fernandez – Elf Marc VDS Racing Team – Kalex – +0.234

Sam Lowes: “Everyone has been fighting the conditions today. I felt really good straight away in qualifying but I had quite a few laps with Yellow Flags, having to respect that but then push to keep the temperature in the tyres. But I felt like I could do a good lap. My second to last lap was cancelled for a Yellow Flag but in the last one we put it all together. In the full wet I’ve been quite good this weekend, in the drying conditions with rain tyres but on a drying track I’ve struggled a bit so that’s something I need to work on, but with the slicks on a dry track I feel confident. I had a nice race here a few weeks ago so we can definitely fight tomorrow, and obviously to get the record poles is nice! Means I’m getting old probably that there are so many in there haha.”

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Lowes Takes Record Pole As Raul Fernandez And Gardner Suffer Tougher Saturday
Moto2™ front row L-R: Navarro, Lowes and Augusto Fernandez

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