Moto3 and Moto2 arrive in Spain again, this time at the MotorLand Aragon circuit, with a pretty clean slate as out of the two classes there is currently only one previous winner – Romano Fenati – who last year proved that you can win without securing pole at the track, but you may need a helping hand from the weather.
| Pole for rapid Rabat Photo: EG 0,0 Marc VDS
Tito Rabat was in no mood to rely on a rain dance as Johann Zarco can dethrone him as Moto2 champion from this round onwards, needing just seven points over his Spanish rival to guarantee his Moto2 championship. Rabat set about demolishing records as his last stand.
It was a similar affair at the start of the qualifying sessions in Moto3, though the title hunt remains more open. It was the second place man in the overall standings here too, Enea Bastianini who found record pace at the last second to swing into pole with Danny Kent struggling for clear track or a good tow before a final solo lap saw him climb to third.
UPDATE: In Moto3 Maria Herrera, Andrea Migno, Isaac Vinales, Lorenzo Dalla Porta and Garbiel Rodrigo were all penalised for their qualifying actions and missed ten minutes of warm-up and a three place grid demotion.
Enea Bastianini took his fourth pole on his thirteenth and final lap around Aragon in Moto3 qualifying, needing a last minute record lap of the Spanish track (1m 57.755) to rise to the top of the timesheets.
The Gresini riders final dash deposed long time front runner Miguel Oliveira who had been the most consistent over the 40 minutes and fast on his own or looking for a slipstream for the Red Bull KTM Ajo Team.
Danny Kent kept himself busy looking for a tow only to find a sea of bikes behind his Leopard machine each time he left the pits or slowed for space. A final run alone saw the British championship leader back in contention with a front row start.
His late run pushed rookie Jorge Martin down to fourth, the best of the Mahindra riders and one place ahead of fellow rookie Estrella Galicia’s Jorge Navarro.
They are joined on row two by Ongetta-Rivacold’s Niccolo Antonelli.
Alexis Masbou has a very positive run for the Saxporint-RTG team after their recent woes as did his team-mate Brition John McPhee in 14th.
Efren Vazquez for Leopard Racing and a fine last run by Philipp Oettl (Schedl GP Racing) earned the final top ten slots.
Tito Rabat picked up where he had left off in practice and further lowered the Moto2 lap time of Aragon finishing almost half a second under Marc Marquez’s old record.
The Estrella Galicia riders best time (1m 52.232) was only neared by class rookie Alex Rins, the Pons rider finishing just 0.035s adrift with both of the times set early in the session.
Ajo Motorsport rider Johann Zarco had found himself as low as 19thbefore his last push on fresh rubber saw him leap to third and put his title chance back on track.
British rider Sam Lowes had an early crash but the Speed Up team’s speedy repairs saw him able to return to claim fourth.
Taka Nakagami’s return to form saw him take third for Idemitsu Honda Team Asia, only dropping lower as Lowes and Zarco staged recoveries.
Alex Marquez continues to improve in Moto2 and will sit in sixth on the grid.
The third row has two AGR Team bikes with Jonas Folger in seventh and Axel Pons in ninth, the pair are split by Tom Luthi in eighth for the Interwetten team.
The final top ten spot went to Sandro Cortese for Dynavolt Intact GP.
There were also crashes in the session for Dominique Aegerter, Xavi Vierge and Julian Simon.
For the full Moto3 qualifying result click here.
For the full Moto2 qualifying result click here.