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Moto2 Le Mans: Debut pole for Nakagami in rain interrupted qualifying
18 May 2013 By Lisa Lewis
Takaaki Nakagami took his maiden pole position after leading the Moto2 qualifying session when the rain hit Le Mans with more than twenty minutes remaining, effectively ending the session.
The Japanese Italtrans rider continued his run of being on the front row for every round so far this season, but managed not to be nudged away from the top spot as the rain arrived leaving him 0.3 ahead of nearest rival Scott Redding.
Marc VDS Man Redding had lead the session in the very early stages and looked to be on course to challenge for pole when the weather changed but had to settle for second. He was one of few riders to head out in the rain to work on wet weather set-ups.
Frenchman Johann Zarco also benefited from putting in some fast early laps, his banker lap placing him in the final front row slot for the Came Ioda Racing Project, the only Suter in a top five dominated by Kalex machines.
Jerez race winner Tito Rabat was the fastest of the Tuenti HP 40 Pons team riders in fourth. Joining him on the second row will be Belgian rider Xavier Simeon for the Desguaces La Torre Zelos team in fifth and Mapfre Aspar's Nico Terol in sixth.
Losing out when the rain came, Pol Espargaro finds himself down in seventh after being as high as second for the Pons Tuenti outfit. Tom Luthi, who had been near the top of the timesheets all weekend starts from eighth for Interwetten.
NGM Mobile Racing's Mattia Pasini finished the session in ninth for Speed Up, with Marc VDS rider Mika Kallio completing the top ten.
Ant West will be looking to make the most of his wet weather credentials in Sunday's predicted rainy race from 11th for QMMF.
Local rider Mike Di Meglio starts from 12th on the only Motobi in the field for the Jir Team.
Kyle Smith took a trip into gravel at the Dunlop chicane leaving him town in 22nd for Blusens Avintia.
Danny Kent also struggled and qualified down in 26th aboard his Tech3 bike. They are joined in France by fellow Brit Gino Rea in his first wild-card appearance this season.
The Londoner starts in 31st on his FTR after entering the pits early on with technical problems and only being able to return to track to get some wet riding time under his belt. Rea took his only podium in the class at the end of last season in the wet Malaysian race.