Red Bull KTM’s Remy Gardner celebrated pole position at his team’s home race after dominating Moto2 qualifying for the StyrianGP this afternoon.
The Australian was challenged throughout the entire 15-minute session as rookie Ai Ogura put on a sensational performance to claim his debut front row start in the intermediate class, Marco Bezzecchi rounding out the Parc Fermé celebrations, in third. Sam Lowes qualified seventh for the 10th round contest with Jake Dixon lining up in 20th.
Fabio Di Giannantonio looked to rejuvenate a lacklustre weekend as he set about the fight through Q1 as Moto2 qualifying began in Austria. The Italian setting the pace with a 1’29.394, Celestino Vietti and Stefano Manzi squabbling for position behind with Lorenzo Baldassarri initially taking the final promotion place.
The halfway stage saw the times shuffle with the top trio holding court once again, Hector Garzo now in charge of fourth, as Albert Arenas, Joe Roberts and Nicolò Bulega improved their times while remaining in the drop zone.
Strong late pace saw Roberts capture fourth as he circulated on the wheels of Dixon, the Brit assisting the American as he himself had to settle for fifth with two-minutes remaining. A late crash found Vietti down and out at turn one, as the VR46 rider pushed for his final hot lap, the yellow flags impeding the remaining efforts and the clock counted down.
Garzo found second with his ninth lap of the afternoon, as Arenas took third, Manzi holding on to the final promotion thanks to his earlier effort as Di Giannantonio maintained his control. Vietti, Roberts and Dixon sitting best of the rest as they prepare to line up on row seven for Sunday’s contest.
The final shootout kicked off with a KTM charge as newly announced 2022 MotoGP rider, Raul Fernandez, headed the times before being bettered by teammate Gardner. Augusto Fernandez took a swipe at his namesake as he dropped him to third, with the Honda Team Asia pairing of Ogura and Somkiat Chantra sitting fourth and fifth.
Bezzecchi returned to the top-spot with his fourth lap of the rapid session, 1’28.811 the target at the halfway stage as Lowes circulated in 13th. The Brit was on his way, however, as the Marc VDS man advanced to sixth just three-tenths off the fastest time with five minutes to play.
Ogura was improving further as he once again climbed the times, his sixth effort placing him third, just 0.16s off the lead, as his impressive rookie season continued before he ultimately took charge with a 1’28.789.
The final minute saw Gardner advance the pace as the top-three all equally ramped up the pace, the Australian holding on to pole in the dying seconds as both his and Ogura’s latest times were deleted and Bezzecchi completed the front row celebrations.
Aron Canet split the Fernandez pair for fifth, as the KTM rookie headed the second row, Lowes trailing his Marc VDS teammate in seventh with Lorenzo Dalla Porta and Chantra for company on row three. Marcel Schrotter, Xavi Vierge and Di Giannantonio finished 10th to 12th with Tom Luthi, Garzo, Arenas, Marcos Ramirez, Manzi and Tony Arbolino completed the 18 riders.