Rabat takes first ever pole position, Espargaro just misses out on front row, Pons 23rd
Spanish rider Tito Rabat (Tuenti HP40 Pons Kalex) claimed a career first pole in the Honda-powered Moto2 class, the 23-year-old seizing control from Scott Redding (Marc VDS Racing Team Kalex) to prevent the British points leader from taking a second successive pole.
Rabat’s hard-won margin, on a track where increasing heat meant reducing levels of grip, was by better than four tenths of a second, in a class where gaps are more usually measured in tenths and hundredths. It came two laps from the end of the session, while Redding had set his best time after only six of 18 laps.
Less fortunate was Axel Pons who crashed in the early in the session and will start tomorrow’s race from the eighth row on the grid.
Tito Rabat, pole position, 1m 43.251s
“This is my first time on pole position, and it feels great, especially here in Jerez. In the afternoon we started to slide a lot in the heat – but we found a good setting from the beginning of the weekend, so I am happy. During qualifying in the last sector, especially the last two corners I had some problems, but the team changed something and I was able to make it easier… and that is when I set my time.
The team was working incredibly well and thanks to them I could take my first pole position. The whole weekend we’ve been very competitive and my laptimes improved regularly. The setup of the bike is right and if we refine it a little more for the durability of the tyres then I think we’re set to fight for victory. Tomorrow I will have to start well, find a good pace and not look back.”
4. POL ESPARGARÓ, 1.43.950 “This weeekend has been very difficult, we still haven’t found the setup for the fast corners. During the whole session I posted the fastest time in the first three sectors, but in the fourth, with two very fast corners, I lose everything and I also had huge moment, miraculously escaping a crash. We’re fourth and with the chance to be in front, but I’m not going comfortably like on other occasions.”
23. AXEL PONS, 1.45.050 “I made a mistake in the first part of the session and since I did I good laptime I decided to continued despite the bike being damaged by the fall. Then I ran out of fuel and it was impossible to finish higher than the eighth row on the grid. It’s a shame, because we have three races now with bad qualifyings and I have to start from far behind. We have a good pace, so I hope there won’t be any incidents in the first laps and that I can recover some positions little by little.”
Sources: Honda Racing, Team Pons