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MotoGP Misano II: Lowes on pole after Moto2 crash-fest

Sam Lowes secured pole position for his ‘second-home’ race with Marc VDS teammate Augusto Fernandez joining him on the Misano front row.

Speed Up’s Jorge Navarro completed the Parc Fermé celebrations, in second, after another crash-filled session with both Red Bull KTM’s qualifying off the front three rows for the Emilia Romagna GP.

Marco Bezzecchi faced the Q1 fight alongside Navarro and Fabio Di Giannantonio as the final qualifying show got up to speed. Cameron Beaubier returning to action after sitting out of FP3 due to the poor conditions while the second American, Joe Roberts missed the rest of the Misano weekend due to impending surgery on his fractured collarbone.


Nicolo Bulega became the first faller of the session before Bezzecchi suffered a fast turn nine crash on just his third hot lap. Liqui Moly Intact riders Tony Arbolino and Marcel Schrotter doing likewise seconds later. Further crashes found Tommaso Marcon, Barry Baltus, Simone Corsi and Mattia Casadei down in the gravel as the attrition rate soared to eight riders by the halfway stage.

Navarro headed the remaining riders from Beaubier, Di Giannantonio and Bo Bendsneyder with Hector Garzo adrift of the promotion zone. Three minutes to go found the Flexbox machine rise to second before Bendsneyder then Albert Arenas claimed the place. The chequered flag dropped with Navarro in charge from Arenas, Garzo and Bendsneyder, Beaubier and Di Giannantonio missing out on Q2 and heading the seventh row for Sunday’s contest.

The final shootout saw Navarro continue his front running pace as he benefitted from his previous knowledge. Bendsneyder initially doing likewise before Raul and Augusto Fernandez began their campaigns from second and third. Lowes took fourth on his third lap of qualifying before Aron Canet stole the spot but the Brit hit back with a P2 worthy effort.

A massive incident saw both Xavi Vierge and Jake Dixon crash out at the final corner in quick succession on hot laps, the yellow flags denying Lowes his red-sector lap time as he regrouped and went again.

Celestino Vietti claimed fourth before immediately crashing out at the opening corner as Ai Ogura also went down, this time at turn 15. Stefano Manzi became the next victim of the cold conditions, from fifth in the standings, Raul Fernandez barrelling out at turn two, sitting eighth, next time round.

Canet was up to third as the penultimate minute clicked down, Lowes launching for pole with a 1’36.551 on his eighth lap with the team hesitant to celebrate due to the timing of the yellow flag removal in the last sector.

The hesitation was short-lived, however, as the Marc VDS rider consolidated with a 1’36.510 on his next and final lap to secure the celebrations. Navarro and teammate Fernandez joined Lowes on the front row with Canet, Vietti and Marcos Ramirez completing row two. Manzi, Tom Luthi and Arenas secured seventh to ninth with KTM’s title challengers Fernandez and Remy Gardner starting 10th and 14th respectively.

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