Jorge Navarro (HDR Heidrun Speed Up) converted practice pace to pole on Saturday at the Gran Premio Red Bull de España, taking his first ever pole position in the intermediate class and his first pole since Silverstone 2015. His margin was only 0.091 though as former winner at the venue Alex Marquez (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) came close, and Augusto Fernandez (Flexbox HP 40) made it three Spaniards at the top as he was third fastest to take his first ever front row start.
On a cooler Saturday, the big surprise names in Q1 included both Red Bull KTM Ajo riders Brad Binder and Jorge Martin despite their pace on Friday, and the race was on for both to move through. In the end though only Binder could, third fastest behind Iker Lecuona (American Racing KTM) and Andrea Locatelli (Italtrans Racing Team). The three were only 0.057 apart though, with Xavi Vierge (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) the fourth man heading to Q2 another 0.060 in arrears.
By the end of Q2 though, it was a familiar name at the top: Friday’s fastest, Jorge Navarro. The Spaniard, who took his first intermediate class podium at COTA last time out, took Speed Up to the top for the first time since, incidentally, Fabio Quartararo in 2018. Marquez was within a tenth though, and Fernandez is pretty close company in third after his incredibly impressive day at the office.
Heading up Row 2 is ONEXOX TKKR SAG Team rider Remy Gardner as the Aussie got back on the pace after a tougher Texas, with Nicolo Bulega (Sky Racing Team VR46) another impressive performer in fifth. Fastest rookie and after having missed Texas too, it’s a stunner from the Italian who was on pole in the lightweight class at the venue in 2016. Row 2 is locked out by Championship leader Lorenzo Baldassarri (Flexbox HP 40) after a tougher weekend so far than expected, punctuated by crashes and some technical issues on Friday.
Fabio Di Giannantonio (HDR Heidrun Speed Up) took P7 and was only a single thousandth off Baldassarri for his best ever intermediate class qualifying so far, ahead of COTA winner Tom Lüthi (Dynavolt Intact GP) and Tetsuta Nagashima (ONEXOX TKKR SAG Team). Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Ajo) completes the top ten at the venue where he took his first Grand Prix win back in 2016 when he stormed from last to the victory in Moto3™.
Former Jerez winner Sam Lowes (Federal Oil Gresini Moto2), Xavi Vierge (EG 0,0 MArc VDS), Luca Marini (Sky Racing Team VR46), Marcel Schrötter (Dynavolt Intact GP) and Andrea Locatelli (Italtrans Racing Team) complete the fastest fifteen on Saturday. But racing is a Sunday sport and plenty can be gained and lost under the midday sun in Spain, so make sure to watch the fourth race of the season at classic Jerez from 12:20 (GMT +2) local time.
1 – Jorge Navarro (SPA – Speed Up) 1’41.182
2 – Alex Marquez (SPA – Kalex) +0.091
3 – Augusto Fernandez (SPA – Kalex) +0.141