The Italian will spearhead the intermediate class grid for the first time ahead of both Elf Marc VDS riders, despite Lowes losing his final flying lap.
Celestino Vietti (Mooney VR46 Racing Team) has taken his first ever pole in Moto2™, with the Italian setting a late 1:59.082 to lead Tony Arbolino (Elf Marc VDS Racing Team) by just over a tenth. Sam Lowes (Elf Marc VDS Racing Team) had taken provisional pole, but had the laptime cancelled after exceeding track limits. The Brit lines up third.
Albert Arenas (Inde GASGAS Aspar Team), Fermin Aldeguer (MB Conveyors Speed Up), Bo Bendsneyder (Pertamina Mandalika SAG Team) and Barry Baltus (RW Racing GP) moved through, the latter for the first time in his career.
The early session table topper in the pole position battle was rookie Filip Salač (Gresini Racing Moto2™) from Cameron Beaubier (American Racing) and Arbolino, as Somkiat Chantra (Idemitsu Honda Team Asia) suffered an early crash at Turn 5 – the Thai rider went to the medical centre for a check-up, and was declared unfit for a broken finger.
Double 2021 Lusail winner Lowes then leapt to P1 as the yellow flags were shown for a Pedro Acosta (Red Bull KTM Ajo) crash at the final corner. The reigning Moto3™ World Champion was all ok but his maiden Moto2™ qualifying session was over, and he’ll have a mission on Sunday to move through.
Jake Dixon (Inde GASGAS Aspar Team) then set a time good enough for the front row but it was later chalked off for a yellow flag infringement, as compatriot Lowes increased his advantage at the summit. No one was able to beat Lowes’ time, but Vietti went closest on his final flying lap before the late drama hit and Lowes’ lap was cancelled for exceeding track limits at Turn 15, which handed Vietti pole position.
Rookie Salač put in a mightily impressive performance to front the second row of the grid in P4, and the Czech rider has Ai Ogura (Idemitsu Honda Team Asia) and Augusto Fernandez (Red Bull KTM Ajo) for company on the second row. Dixon will launch from P7 alongside Q1 graduate Aldeguer (MB Conveyors Speed Up) and Aron Canet (Flexbox HP40), with Acosta starting P10 for his first Moto2™ race after that final corner crash…
The Moto2™ race gets going at 16:20 local time (GMT+3), so make sure to tune in. Can Red Bull KTM Ajo fight back on race day or have the tables turned?
Moto2™ FRONT ROW
1 Celestino Vietti (Mooney VR46 Racing Team) – Kalex – 1’59.082
2 Tony Arbolino (Elf Marc VDS Racing Team) – Kalex – +0.112
3 Sam Lowes (Elf Marc VDS Racing Team) – Kalex – +0.144
Celestino Vietti: “I feel good, I didn’t expect this qualifying. I knew we could fight for the first six or seven positions but I didn’t expect this result. We worked well this weekend and the test, we tried many things. For qualifying, we caught some things which helped me make a faster lap time. We have to work tonight to try to make a consistent race, it’s important. I think tomorrow will be a very big group race. A lot of riders are going fast so we have to see what we can do in the race.”
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