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Assen Moto2: Rabat snatches pole, Lowes returns to front row

Esteve 'Tito' Rabat left it until the final minutes to hit pole ahead of the Dutch Moto3 Grand Prix at Assen.
Tito Rabat left it late to stamp his mark and top the Dutch Moto2 Grand Prix qualifying session in Assen as the intermediate class took their turn in the changeable conditions at the 'cathedral of racing'.

The Marc VDS rider worked relentlessly in his quest for the perfect lap in the overcast and damp conditions before finding the right lines leading to an unmatched 1m 37.311 to secure the Spaniard his sixth pole of the year at round eight.

The Suter of Swiss rider Dominique Aegerter had held the top spot for much of the session but the Technomag carXpert rider could still celebrate a best ever qualifying placing in second.

There are three different manufacturers filling the front row slots as Briton's Sam Lowes secured his second Moto2 front row start in third place on the grid.

The Speed Up man, in a new livery again this weekend, built on his practice success and the improvements the team made in their post-Barcelona testing to push his bike to the limit at a track where he has a strong history - Lowes converted a pole to a win at Assen on his way to the Supersport title last year.

Lowes managed move up to the front row and improve despite a major overhaul to his bikes shock and link midway through the session.

The second row is an all Kalex affair with the second Marc VDS bike, piloted by Mika Kallio, in fourth.

After looking to move up with a fast final lap on old tyres the Finn was thwarted on his final attempt as he was held up by traffic.

Joining him on row two are a much improved Taka Nakagami, who found some of his old confidence as he pushed hard for fifth aboard his IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia machine, and NGM Forward racing rider Simone Corsi in sixth.

Johann Zarco's AirAsia Caterham Suter starts seventh. The first of the Paginas Amarillas HP40 bikes puts in a show in eighth with Maverick Vinales, just ahead of another strong performance by Ricky Cardus for Tech3 in ninth.

Cardus continues to impress as the rider drafted in for the season at the last minute to replace the injured Alex Marinelarena.

Xavier Simeon completes the top ten for Federal Oil Gresini Moto2.

The second of the Paginas Amarillas Pons riders; Luis Salom; managed 15th place though still suffering with the finger fracture he sustained in his Barcelona fall.

Gino Rea had some bike issues to deal with and will hope to improve in the race from his grid spot of 33rd.

A crash at turn nine for AGR man Jonas Folger saw his mechanics frantically trying to repair his bike and rescue the session.

Though through their excellent efforts he returned in the closing minutes the damage was done and the German starts down in 21st.

Jordi Torres also fell but regained his Aspar from the Marshals and walked it back up pitlane. He starts one place higher than Folger in 20th.

Robin Mulhauser's Technomag carXpert bike caught fire after he fell but he left the scene unharmed.
by Lisa Lewis

Tagged as: moto2 , Rabat

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