Beta Tools Speed Up’s Fermin Aldeguer claimed pole position at Phillip Island with a new Moto2 record at the Australian circuit.
A 1’32.233 lap secured the celebrations for the Spaniard with teammate Alonso Lopez lining up alongside on the front row, Red Bull KTM Ajo’s Augusto Fernandez splitting the pair from second as title-challenger Ai Ogura completed the session in 13th.
Lopez was back in control on Saturday morning as Moto2 practice concludes in Australia. Inde GasGas’ Jake Dixon and Elf Marc VDS’ Sam Lowes both securing direct passes to Q2 with Aspar’s Albert Arenas and Mooney VR46’s Celestino Vietti amongst the big hitters facing the Q1 fight. Somkiat Chantra failed to set a time in FP3 after a heavy crash on the Idemitsu Honda at the Hayshed, Lowes likewise suffering at the hands of turn eight with the Brit feeling the consequences with initial fears suggesting he had re-dislocated his recovering shoulder.
Arenas set the 1’33.5 early pace before a fast turn one off derailed his progress. VR46 Master Camp’s Manuel Gonzales taking over at the top one lap later and two tenths faster with Italtrans’ Lorenzo Dalla Porta and Vietti completing the top four.
Chantra and Liqui Moly Intact’s Marcel Schrotter were the next to challenge for the final promotion place at the halfway stage. The German firing up a red sector attack with three minutes to go before the final corners derailed the progress, Dalla Porta, Vietti and Chantra improving again to consolidate their chances as the session counted down. American Racing’s Sean Dylan Kelly recovered from a heavy Friday crash as he continued his late season form, claiming seventh in the session to line up 21st on Sunday’s grid for his best qualifying of his World Championship career.
Fermin Aldeguer led the way from his Beta Tools teammate as the Q2 action began with another 1’32.233 all-time lap record. Fernandez and Flexbox HP40’s Aron Canet battling it out for the final front row position with Gresini’s Filip Salac and American Cameron Beaubier rounding out the initial top six.
Elf Marc VDS’ Tony Arbolino was the next to rise, on his way to fourth, as teammate Lowes circulated ten places behind. Dixon likewise struggling in 12th at the halfway stage, one second off the target pace.
Fernandez was sitting second, 0.073s adrift but raging on track as Gonzalez got in the way of the championship leader on his next hot lap - the VR46 rider under investigation from the stewards with a conduct warning issued in the aftermath. Lowes advanced to tenth after a 1’33.0 with Idemitsu Honda’s Ogura closely behind as Dalla Porta crashed out at the newly-named Miller corner with two minute left to run.
The red flag was issued in the closing minute as geese crossed the track, Lopez’ red sector effort cut short with teammate Aldeguer securing the pole position unchallenged as the session concluded prematurely.