The Championship leader heads the grid despite a trip through Q1.
Mooney VR46 Racing Team’s Celestino Vietti has taken a precious Moto2™ pole position at the Gran Premi Monster Energy de Catalunya. The Italian has seen his World Championship lead whittled down to a countback in recent rounds, but his last-gasp 1:43.823 at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya gives him a great platform to start rebuilding his margin in the points table. Missing out on pole by just 0.008 seconds was Aron Canet (Flexbox HP40), while Joe Roberts (Italtrans Racing Team) qualified third despite setting his fastest lap in ‘traffic’.
Vietti had dropped into Q1 after missing the top 14 by just 0.034 seconds following an ultra-tight FP3 earlier in the day, but safely got himself out of the opening stanza of qualifying with the second-fastest lap time of that session, a 1:44.490. It was Canet, however, who was the early pace-setter in Q2, with a 1:44.210 on his first flyer and a 1:43.831 on his second.
That was the fastest lap time of the weekend to that point, and it was still the quickest that anyone had gone when the chequered flag started to fly. Roberts had topped FP3 with a 1:44.154 but did even better than that on his final lap of qualifying, logging a 1:44.002 despite coming across considerable traffic as he started the fourth sector of the Catalunya circuit. That put the American onto the middle of the front row, before he was shifted back a spot when Vietti came through with the 1:43.823 which elevated the Italian from ninth on the timing screen to the very top.
Vietti, Canet and Roberts head the grid, with plenty more fast faces on the chase. Jake Dixon set good early pace, holding second at one point on a 1:44.045, and he was also content to help fellow Inde GASGAS Aspar Team rider Albert Arenas too. Dixon spread his limbs as wide as he could to enhance the slipstream for Arenas, and the Spaniard clocked a 1:44.049 at the halfway mark of Q2. By the flag, those times putt the Briton and Spaniard fourth and fifth respectively. They will be joined on Row 2 of the grid by Sam Lowes (Elf Marc VDS Racing Team).
Row 3 will comprised Bo Bendsneyder (Pertamina Mandalika SAG Team), Augusto Fernandez (Red Bull KTM Ajo), and Marcel Schrötter (Liqui Moly Intact GP).
Ai Ogura (Idemitsu Honda Team Asia), who is behind Vietti in the World Championship only because he has one win, rounded out the top 10 in qualifying, ahead of Q1 pace-setter Alonso Lopez (Lightech Speed Up) and Mugello winner Pedro Acosta (Red Bull KTM Ajo). The latter’s Q2 pace was something of a surprise considering he was only 0.002 seconds away from the top in FP3, yet only got onto Row 4 at the end of his next session with a 1:44.691.
It could be a classic at Catalunya for the intermediate class, with Vietti in the hot seat, Canet fast once again and Roberts showing he’s right back in the mix. Join us at 12:20 (GMT +2) to see who takes the spoils in Barcelona!
Moto2™ FRONT ROW
1 Celestino Vietti (Mooney VR46 Racing Team) – Kalex – 1’43.823
2 Aron Canet (Flexbox HP 40) – Kalex – +0.008
3 Joe Roberts (Italtrans Racing Team) – Kalex – +0.179
Celestino Vietti: “For sure, I think going through Q1 helped us because we made a little set-up change from Q1 to Q2 that helped us a bit with the grip. For sure also, with the windy conditions, it helped us to better understand the situation. So, good work by the team, and we hope to have a good race tomorrow.”
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