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MotoGP Austria: Lowes returns to pole as Gardner falls

Marc VDS’ Sam Lowes was back on pole in Moto2 qualifying after defeating challenges from Raul Fernandez and Ai Ogura for control of the AustrianGP grid.

The KTM star put on an impressive late charge to take second as his teammate fell foul of turn one while fellow rookie Ogura was rewarded for a session-long campaign with third.

Q1 saw Jake Dixon fighting hard for promotion as the opening session began. The Brit circulating strongly in second as Stefano Manzi led the way in the opening 15-minutes while Fabio Di Giannantonio and Nicolò Bulega held the remaining top-four places.


Confident with his performance, the Flexbox rider headed back to the garage early, happy to wait the remainder of the session. Luckily the strategy paid off and he sailed through to Q2 firmly in control with his 1’29.164 lap time.

As the final qualifying of the day got underway, Remy Gardner took charge once again with a 1’29.453, Augusto Fernandez and Marcel Schrotter taking second and third before Lowes arrived to steal the show.

Ogura was challenging Lowes at the midpoint of the session as Marco Bezzecchi crashed out of an impressive hot-lap at turn nine - the Idemitsu rider bettering the Brit by a mere 0.024s with his 1’28.802.

It was a Marc VDS lockout for the rest of the front row as Fernandez circulated on near-identical pace, Gardner sitting fourth from Aron Canet and Somkiat Chantra as the final minute arrived.

Raul Fernandez launched a final push from seventh as Lowes did likewise from second. The Brit taking the pole with a 1’28.659 on his penultimate lap while the rookie stormed through to second.

Ogura claimed his second front row of his debut season in the intermediate class with Fernandez, Gardner and Canet lining up on row two after the Australian crashed out at the opening corner on his final lap.

Chantra, Celestino Vietti and Lorenzo Dalla Porta claimed row three with Tom Luthi, Schrotter and Marcos Ramirez behind in 10th to 12th. Dixon enjoyed his promotion in 13th with Navarro and Di Giannantonio for company while Bezzecchi will start Sunday’s race from row six alongside Manzi and Bulega.

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