Marquez sets new lap record to beat Fernandez to pole

Marquez sets new lap record to beat Fernandez to pole 1Championship leader back on top, but the man on the chase starts second on home turf for both.

Having played second fiddle to his title rival on Friday, Alex Marquez (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) turned the tables in Moto2™ Q2 at the Gran Premio Michelin® de Aragon to claim a home Grand Prix pole position – with a new lap record no less. That saw the Spaniard edge out compatriot Augusto Fernandez (FlexBox HP 40) by 0.125, with Red Bull KTM Ajo’s Brad Binder – last year’s polesitter and winner – completing the intermediate class front row.

It was Marquez’ teammate Xavi Vierge who set the first benchmark time of the session, a 1:52.589, but Marquez’ third lap would be fierce. The Championship leaper hadn’t been in the top three all weekend but a 1:52.225 was a new MotorLand Aragon lap record as Fernandez languished in P10.

Initially in the shadow of teammate Lorenzo Baldassarri, Fernandez was improving. His lap time wouldn’t be able to better Marquez, but the number 40 was in touching distance and Luca Marini (Sky Racing Team VR46), second after Free Practice, was also gunning for the front. Ultimately Fernandez set a red sector two and a red sector three on his final push, but couldn’t keep his advantage and starts second. Late on, Binder struck to lock out the front row and demote Marini.

It’s the Sky Racing Team VR46 rider’s best qualifying since Germany as he then heads up Row 2, ahead of title contender Tom Lüthi (Dynavolt Intact GP), who took his best grid position at Aragon. Key rival Jorge Navarro (HDR Heidrun Speed Up) completes the second row.

Early Q2 pacesetter Vierge has to settle for P7 on the grid, and he has rookie Nicolo Bulega (Sky Racing Team VR46) and Federal Oil Gresini Moto2’s Sam Lowes for company on Row 3. Lowes is, like Binder, a former winner at the venue…

Iker Lecuona (American Racing KTM) had a solid day to complete the top ten, ahead of Lorenzo Baldassarri (Flexbox HP 40) and Misano runner up Fabio Di Giannantonio (HDR Heidrun Speed Up). Remy Gardner (ONEXOX TKKR SAG Team), Jorge Martin (Red Bull KTM Ajo) and Andrea Locatelli (Italtrans Racing Team) complete the fastest fifteen, the latter despite a crash earlier in the day.

Tensions are building in the Moto2™ Championship fight as Fernandez aims to continue to home in on Marquez in the standings. Aragon looks set to be an intermediate class thriller, so tune in at the later than usual time of 14:30 (GMT+2) to watch the drama unfold.

Qualifying results:
1 – Alex Marquez (SPA – Kalex) 1’52.225
2 – Augusto Fernandez (SPA – Kalex) +0.125
3 – Brad Binder (RSA – KTM) +0.201

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