Sam Lowes returned to pole position for the first time since round three as he worked hard to find improvements around a track he does not favour to lead off the Moto2 Austrian Grand Prix, round eleven of the championship.

Having briefly topped the timesheets earlier in the session, the Elf Marc VDS Racing team rider had his Kalex twitching as he pushed it to the limit to find gains in all sectors and set a pole lap of 1m 28.659s.

With just 30 seconds remaining there was little time left for his rivals to mount a challenge, leaving the British rider ahead of the pack thanks to the well timed run.

Raul Fernandez also left it late to make an impression. After a tricky weekend last time out following his MotoGP announcement, the Red Bull KTM Ajo rider seemed refocussed and calmly chipped away at his lap until posting a time just 0.068s shy of pole, having been sat in provisional 16th.

 

Ai Ogura held the top spot for the longest in the session, but as happened last week at the Red Bull Ring, he again found his time only just beaten in the final moments.

The Idemitsu Honda Team Asia rider still builds on his first ever front row start with a return to the front of the grid in third.

Augusto Fernandez insured both of the Marc VDS bikes were inside the top four to finish a strong Saturday showing for the team.

Fifth placed Remy Gardner finally succumbed to the gravel, registering his first crash of the season as he just pushed his Red Bull KTM Ajo bike too hard to try and keep in touch with the top times.

Frustratingly, with better track conditions, the Australian had earlier broken the lap record in FP3, so is capable of a time better than the one which took pole.

Aron Canet dropped to sixth for Aspar but remained the best of the Boscoscuro riders,with Somkiat Chantra also losing a little ground in an eventual seventh on the second Idemitu entry.

Celestino Vietti made the most of a rare trip straight to Q2 and set the eighth best lap for Sky Racing Team VR46 - his best qualifying result to date.

Lorenzo Dalla Porta also looks to have gotten to grips with Moto2 as he continues to show consistency in the intermediate class. He was ninth for Italtrans with Tom Luthi looking competitive again as he completed the top ten for SAG Team.

Jake Dixon had to put his own MotoGP rumours to the back of his mind. The Petronas Sprinta Racing rider slid down the standings a little to 13th despite improving his own lap as the gaps between riders were close. The British rider was the best of the Q1 graduates, having come through second behind Stefano Manzi.

Fabio Di Giannantonio continued to struggle to make up the valuable tenths needed on his Gresini and could only manage a time good enough for 15th, with all eighteen riders involved in Q1 within a second of the pole time.

Marco Bezzecchi (Sky Racing Team VR46) saw his title hopes hit another hurdle as a crash at turn nine saw him miss half of Q2 and unable to prevent his tumble down the timesheets to 16th, as he rolled through the gravel instead.

Albert Arenas ran himself out of contention for a move up to Q2. The Moto3 champion was pushed out of the top for as he slid into the gravel at turn six. The Aspar rider seem frustrated to have been drawn in by the riders ahead and waved frantically in their direction before punching the gravel in frustration at his error. 

Arenas finished the first qualifying session fifth, just ahead of Xavi Vierge, who also failed to make it out of Q1 in sixth, which equates to a 20th place start for Petronas.

Wildcard Taiga Huda (Pertamina Mandalika SAG Teluru) was off the pace with everyone else in the class having a weekend of experience at the track already, and starts 28th.