Results and summary of qualifying for the Moto2 class in Barcelona:
The final practice session for the intermediate class turned into the Turn 2 Show, as cameras spent more time showing dusty dented machines in the gravel trap than riders setting fast times. In traditional Moto2 fashion, Friday’s benchmark didn’t last long, especially when confronted to a returning Jorge Martin, but ultimately, top spot went back to Sam Lowes by two tenths of a second. Marcos Ramirez found some speed late on to make a surprise jump into second position, with championship leader Luca Marini comfortably in third.
Although sunny and warm, the leaves invading the Montmelo circuit made for a rather autumnal picture throughout the last session of the day for the intermediate class. There was little room for improvement on the timesheets but Marcel Schrotter spent almost the entire session at the top and was one of the few men to improve on their FP1 times. Fabio Di Giannantonio in second was another of those riders, six hundredths of a second off top spot and two tenths quicker than Xavi Vierge.
Barcelona was starting to warm up by the time the intermediate class took their turn around the Montmelo circuit and at the end of the 40 minutes, the Lowes/Marini battle got settled in the British rider’s favour. Sam Lowes finished the morning two tenths of a second quicker than championship leader Luca Marini, with Tetsuta Nagashima making a much better start in Spain, three tenths off the Italian. Back on home soil, Aron Canet also put his name at the top of the timesheets, albeit only briefly, before dropping to fourth, half a second slower than the leader.
As a tyre manufacturer that supplies rubber for a Grand Prix category, one of the main priorities entering a race weekend is avoid any possibility of leaving with egg on your face. While producing excellent tyres that work in a variety of conditions and temperatures, Dunlop, the supplier of Moto2 and Moto3 rubber, is known to err on the side of caution, making sure the tyres in its allocation (both softer and harder options) can do a full race distance without any issues.
At the San Marino Grand Prix, all 29 Moto2 riders chose Dunlop’s softer option for the race. Asked if he was confident it would go race distance without any drop off, Gary Purdy joked, “It could do two race distances!” Therefore, the English factory decided to introduce a softer rear compound for the following week’s race at the Emilia-Romagna GP.
Rather than knowing the tyre choice from Friday morning, riders were tasked with assessing two compounds (one was the race tyre from the San Marino GP, then a softer compound still) for suitability over 27 laps. There was a real variety in tyre strategy in qualifying. “It’s fantastic,” Purdy said. “Teams are coming to me and asking what they should do (on race day). These back-to-back races have given us a great opportunity to mix it up a bit.”
Moto2 standings after Misano:
Results and summary of the Moto2 race in Misano:
Results and summary of qualifying for the Moto2 class in Misano:
The intermediate class took full advantage of their final practice session and quickly challenged the hierarchy from Friday. Sam Lowes was most eager to put his name at the top of the timing screens, where it sat for a considerable amount of time, until title contender Enea Bastianini went faster and fastest for the final seven minutes of FP3. No one else could challenge the Italian’s lap record until the checkered flag, Lowes settling for second, a tenth and a half off.