Augusto Fernandez secured his second Moto2 pole position, his first in Red Bull KTM Ajo colours at Silverstone on Saturday.
The Spaniard had far from an easy day as Italtrans’ Joe Roberts challenged until the final seconds, the American - who always enjoys the UK venue thanks to his British family links - circulating 0.034s shy of his rival as the session concluded with Idemitsu Honda Team Asia’s Ai Ogura completing the front row for the British GP. Despite dominating the field in FP3, GasGas Aspar’s Jake Dixon was forced to settle for the second row, in sixth, after a mid-session crash at turn 14.
Rory Skinner rolled out for his first qualifying session in Moto2 in front of a packed home crowd and in perfect conditions on the American Raving Kalex. VR46 Master Camp’s Manuel Gonzalez headed the standings with a 2’04.788 in the final fight for promotion with Flexbox’s Jorge Navarro, RW Racing’s Barry Baltus and Speed Up’s Fermin Aldeguer completing the all-important top four at the halfway stage.
Lorenzo Dalla Porta joined the fight at the front in the final five minutes as Baltus dropped out of contention with early season race winner Somkiat Chantra in sixth. Skinner bettering his temporary teammate Sean Dylan Kelly in 12th and 13th, as his pace improved with a 2’06.7.
A late push from Alessandro Zaccone slotted the Gresini rider into second before Navarro bettered overall to take the lead and drop the Italian to third. Chantra securing the final promotion place as Dalla Porta dropped out in fifth and Skinner climbed to tenth with an impressive 2’05.937.
With Sam Lowes out of action due to a dislocated shoulder sustained on Friday, all eyes from the British crowd were on Dixon as the intermediate class shootout of pole began. Roberts set the early benchmark with a 2’04.752 from SAG’s Bo Bendsneyder and fellow American Cameron Beaubier as Dixon opened his account in fourth.
Mid-session progress found Aspar’s Albert Arenas in charge from Fernandez before Mooney VR46’s Celestino Vietti stole second from the KTM. Dixon down on the deck at turn 14 with just over five minutes to go but immediately up and running, Vietti doing likewise at turn nine as the session counted down.
Fernandez moved the goalposts with a 2’04.130 out front as Dixon dropped to 11th. Roberts looking to challenge from fifth with Honda’s Ogura narrowly ahead. The pair claimed second and third in opposing order as Dixon strove to sixth. The American just 0.058s away from the provisional pole.
Fernandez secured the pole with an improved 2’04.103 effort as the chequered flag waved. Roberts falling a mere 0.034s short on his final effort with Ogura completing the front row celebrations as Dixon consolidated sixth with his own late improvements despite the crash, 0.007s shy of championship leader Vietti.