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MotoGP Catalunya: Moto2 pole for Marini, Lowes and Dixon in top five

Luca Marini reaffirmed his Moto2 championship intentions by taking his sixth pole position at Barcelona this afternoon, beating Jorge Navarro and Sam Lowes in the closely-fought contest at the Catalan circuit, with a tenth of a second separating each of the front row starters.

Jake Dixon put in another career-best performance, qualifying fifth ahead of tomorrow’s 22-lap race.

Qualifying commenced with Joe Roberts staking his claim on the timesheets, hitting a 1’44.459 on his second lap of the opening 15-minute session to initially head Hafizh Syahrin and Lorenzo Baldassarri. Taking a couple of laps to warm up before slotting in behind Roberts, Dixon’s 1’44.0 effort placed him third as Navarro attempted to steal the lead from the American.


Roberts again hit back, improving his lap by almost a second to hold the times - just a tenth off the all-time lap record - with five minutes to go, as the Brit also stepped up his challenge, to take second with a 1’43.893. Navarro and Nicolò Bulega held off the pack to claim the final Q2 promotions, with an unlucky Aron Canet just missing out after a longer than expected stint in the pits.

The last shootout of the day provided red-hot entertainment despite the cooler than expected condition as SKY VR46’s Marini lost no time in making his mark. Breaking the 1’44 barrier with his opening effort, the Italian bettered himself on the next revolution solidifying his dominance with a 1’43.603 after just three laps on track, his teammate Marco Bezzecchi following suit for second before being outdone by Lowes as the times began to tumble.

Buoyed by his Q1 performance, Dixon soon joined the front runners, demoting his countryman a position to hold a provisional third behind an ever-improving Marini and newly-promoted Navarro and with five minutes remaining, the entire top-10 were now under the 1’44 mark and separated by just 0.6 of a second.

Having dominated from the off, Marini’s 1’43.355 - set on his fourth attempt - was enough to secure the pole, Navarro and Lowes joining him in Parc Ferme with tomorrow’s front row decided. Fabio Di Giannantonio and Bezzecchi look to line up either side of Dixon on row two as the Brit upped his qualifying performance once again to take fifth.

Roberts secured seventh ahead of Marcos Ramirez and Xavi Vierge, with Remy Gardner, Enea Bastianini and Thomas Luthi rounding out the top-12. The Australian, however, will start the race from 16th due to a six place grid penalty after Friday’s crash under yellow flag’s. Promoting Augusto Fernandez, Jorge Martin, Marcel Schrotter and Bulega by one position as a result. Edgar Pons and Tetsuta Nagashima conclude the top-18.

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