Austin Moto2: Lap record sees Beaubier take first pole ahead of Vietti | MotoGP
A near-perfect lap from Cameron Beaubier saw the Californian top the timesheets in a fast and furious end to Moto2 qualifying for the Grand Prix of the Americas, round four of the championship.
The American Racing driver put himself on the radar halfway through Q2 with some fast laps that saw him drop to the provisional front row after, like many, he struggled to get a clean lap at the start in a crash-filled session marked with a yellow flag.
His best lap was electric – stopping the clock at 2m 08.751s for a new lap record, allowing the number six to take his first intermediate class pole on home soil.
Title leader Celestino Vietti was the best of the rest after surviving a scare in Q1 – the Mooney VR46 driver had been behind all weekend finishing 15th after FP3 and finished second in the first qualifying session with a time tied with his Friday effort. .
The Italian struggled to pull away and finish qualifying just 0.340 seconds behind Beaubier as the checkered flag flew.
Vietti had had an almost perfect start to the season for Mooney VR46 Racing Team, with two wins and a second place in the first three races, with a pole also in Qatar.
Third on the grid will be occupied by Aron Canet after the Flexbox HP 40 rider gained a place after Tony Arbolino’s late flying lap was canceled as the Spaniard looked for a way out of the gravel himself after a fall.
The Italian was undeterred and after and after his own early crash and then demoted to fifteenth, he rallied to bounce back for fourth as the clock hit zero for Elf Marc VDS.
Albert Arenas narrowly edged out Jake Dixon for the honor of being the top Shimoko GasGas Aspar rider, with the pair fifth and sixth respectively.
The British driver had entered qualifying with the fastest time, but two drivers had shown they could go faster – Aron Canet and Fermin Aldeguer dipped below the current lap record before having their laps canceled as the times were set under yellow flag conditions.
Jorge Navarro finished seventh on the grid on the second Flexbox HP40 entry, but already has a long lap penalty to serve in the race for crashing under yellow flags and landing his bike next to the already strewn bike of Lowes during the morning session.
Aldeguer didn’t quite hit the heights of qualifying in Argentina where he became the youngest poleman, dethroning Jorge Lorenzo, but was still a credible eighth on a tough track and the best non-Kalex rider on a Boscoscuro for Mv Speed Up Conveyors.
Lowes often found himself unable to improve and was unlucky under the yellow flags, but was a solid ninth on Elf Marc VDS’ second entry.
Rookie Pedro Acosta showed enough pace in the session to complete the top ten for Red Bull KTM Ajo.
Ai Ogura was running fast before his crash which saw his bike left on the track, rider Idemistu was responsible and waved frantically to let the rest of the field know he was there, but fell to eleventh.
Bo Bendsneyder (Pertamina Mandalika SAG Team) dominated FP1 before claiming twelfth place in the second session.
Somkiat Chantra didn’t leave the podium at every round – the Thai rider was out in Qatar due to injury. The Idemitsu Honda Team Asia rider was let down a lot on race day after qualifying in 17th position.
Augusto Fernandez is 18th for Red Bull KTM Ajo after an accident at the start of Q2.
Gresini’s Filip Salac failed to make it out of Q1, which was kicked out of the progression places and unable to respond after a late crash. Fifth in Q1, the Czech driver is in 19th place on the grid.
Former Moto3 Americas winner Romao Fenati failed to reach the Q2 top four in his last race for MB Conveyors Speed Up, so he will be 21st on the grid.
Lorenzo Dalla Porta explained that his recent form was due to him still struggling with his old shoulder injury. The Italtrans rider lines up 25th.
Can Americans succeed at home?
Moto2 is benefiting from all the American interest in the paddock with a trio of home heroes for the crowd to cheer on – rookie Sean Dylan Kelly, Cameron Beaubier and Joe Roberts.
Beaubier has the best track record, finishing fifth at Austin last season in his freshman year, capitalizing on his home advantage. The Californian has also had a strong start to the season, in the points at every round so far, with a best of ninth in Qatar. Directly into Q1, he is well placed for home success from his very first pole position.
Italtrans driver Joe Roberts has had a less successful home run – he is yet to score a COTA point in three attempts, but has also had a strong start to the season with as many points to his name as Beaubier after all three. first rounds. . Roberts lines up 16th.
Sean Dylan Kelly is racing for American Racing alongside Beaubier this season but has found the transition to Moto2 difficult with two retirements in the last two races. The 2021 AMA Supersport champion is hoping to get his first points under his belt from 28th after a big crash on Friday.
When is Moto2 back on track?
The Moto2 grid will be back in action for the warm-up at 9:20 a.m. on Sunday (GMT -5) with its first race due to the modified schedule taking place this weekend at 11:20 a.m. (GMT -5).