Moto2 Catalunya: Last lap leaps Vietti to pole position

Celestino Vietti left it late to stake his claim for pole position in qualifying for the Moto2 Catalan Grand Prix.
Celestino Vietti, Moto2, Catalunya MotoGP, 4 June
Celestino Vietti, Moto2, Catalunya MotoGP, 4 June

Celestino Vietti pulled out a stunning final lap after quiet session to leap up to pole as the chequerd flag waved, ahead of round nine of the championship - the Moto2 Catalan Grand Prix.

Only just inside the top ten for much of the session, the Mooney VR46 rider sorted himself out some clear track, with the bikes close enough in sight to chase down.



The early sectors of the lap were personal bests, but it was the final sector which saw him take an unexpected pole after again building into the session with a time of 1m 43.823s.

That lap displaced the dejected Flexbox HP40 team and rider -Aron Canet. The outfit looked to be sure of pole as the hot, sticky track conditions would usually make late gains hard to come by.

Canet’s best had come on his third lap and withstood all the attacks that came before, but after Vietti made progress the Spaniard had to settle for second at home, 0.008s slower, and maybe not a bad thing on reflection - the #40’s last two poles saw him end the race in the gravel.


Vietti fights back when on the ropes again


Pole marks another big fightback from Celestino Vietti.

Down in twelfth on combined times after Friday’s sessions and 5th after FP3, Celestino Vietti once again needed to build into the weekend by the time qualifying rolled around.

The Mooney VR46 rider did so impressively last time out in Mugello, going on to qualify fourth. The race saw more misfortune as after fighting back after fading into the pack the Italian was forced off track with a mechanical issue.

That FP3 placing meant another trip through Q1 for Vietti, while Ai Ogura went straight to Q2 after finishing the morning session in 13th.

It was a different story in qualfying with Vietti taking pole and Ogura only just inside the top ten.

The final front row slot went to Joe Roberts, who was also making moves in the closing stages of the session. The Italtrans rider arrived with the fastest time ahead of qualifying after topping FP3 earlier in the day. An electric lap from the American saw him catch and pass Bo Bendsneyder and still make up enough time to climb to third for Italtrans.

Jake Dixon had already set his best time before being the perfect team-mate and helping fellow Inde GasGas Aspar rider up the timesheets. The pair will line up fourth and fifth respectively.

Sam Lowes set the early pace but lost out in the closing minutes as the last flying laps came in. Starting from sixth the British rider looks race ready for Elf Marc VDS after some long runs out on track.

Bendsneyder himself was only just over half a second shy of the pole time in a hugely competitive session in seventh for Pertamina Mandalika SAG Team.

Augusto Fernandez never really got into gear but used his final flying lap to push up to eighth from eleventh with Red Bull KTM Ajo.

Marcel Schrotter spent most of his time on track tucked in behind Lowes, on his way to ninth for Liqui Moly IntactGP.

Idemitsu Honda Team Asia rider Ai Ogura, who sees main title rival Vietti take the top slot, completes the top ten. The duo are equal on points (108) after the first eight rounds, with the Italian placed ahead on wins. 

Alonso Lopez moved up as the fastest rider in Q1 and went on to finish the second session in eleventh, the best of the riders not using Kalex machinery for Lightech Speed Upon the Boscoscuro.

Just behind him was the best rookie rider - Pedro Acosta. The Red Bull KTM rider spent much of the session last and lost, over two seconds off the pace of provisional pole. A final rallying run saw him put everything on the line to push past his problems and take twelfth, good damage limitation in the circumstances.

Instead it was Texas race winner Tony Arbolino who finished Q2 all at sea. Fourth last weekend also seemed a distant memory for the Elf Marc VDS ride, with only himself and Baltus, who will line up just ahead, over a second off pole in a tight session.


What else happened in Q1?

Indonesia race winner Somkiat Chantra just missed out on moving forward to the second half of qualifying. Fifth on Q1 he will fill 19th on the grid.

Fermin Aldeguer was close on times with the Thai rider, but also could not find the final tenths to move on, he starts from 20th.

Stefano Manzi (22nd) was a late addition to the Catalan GP entry list, in for Keminth Kubo, who after missing several rounds through injury is this time absent to attend his father’s funeral.

Gabriel Rodrigo also misses the round, after injuring his shoulder in his Mugello crash. He is replaced by Alex Toledo (21St) at Pertamina Mandalika SAG Team. They have an extra rider in wildcard entry Piotr Biesiekirski (31st).


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