MotoGP Catalunya: Vietti back on pole after Moto2 Q1 fight| Christina Bulpett | MotoGP
Celestino Vietti bolstered his Moto2 championship chances by claiming pole position in the blistering Barcelona heat on Saturday.
The Mooney VR46 rider set a 1’43.832 lap in the dying seconds of qualifying to steal the glory from session leader Aron Canet on the Flexbox HP40. Italtrans’ Joe Roberts backed up his Mugello podium with a front row start for the Catalan GP in third.
Speed Up’s Alonso Lopez opened his qualifying account with a weekend personal best 1’44.446 to top the initial times from Vietti, Tony Arbolino and Somkiat Chantra. Jorge Navarro demoting the Honda rider out of contention next time around as Arbolino leapfrogged the Italian for position with his third lap before the championship leader struck back.
Limited improvements throughout the rest of the session left the leading quartet safe with Chantra and the second Speed Up of Fermin Aldeguer the first to miss out.
The final afternoon action was greeted with track temperatures of 57℃ as Aron Canet led the charge for Moto2 pole with a 1’404.210. Roberts and Sam Lowes narrowly in check for provisional front row until Jake Dixon bettered the pair and Canet claimed the first 1’43 of the weekend.
The American consolidated third with his own personal best at Barcelona until Albert Arenas joined his Aspar teammate on lap four. The GasGas duo on near identical time with just 0.004s between them and 0.028 in hand over Roberts in fourth.
The halfway stage found KTM’s Pedro Acosta running 18th and over a second adrift of the leading times with five minutes left on the clock. Vietti in the middle of the pack with the ninth fastest time of the session so far.
Late improvements found Lowes repeatedly refining his time on the Elf Marc VDS from fifth but unable to rise up the standings. Roberts finding second before Vietti arrived to steal pole as the chequered flag dropped.
Dixon, Arenas and Lowes completed the second row as the action concluded, with Bo Bendsneyder, Augusto Fernandez and Marcel Schrotter behind. Joint championship leader Ai ogura claimed a disappointing tenth ahead of Lopez and Acosta with Filip Salac, Manuel Gonzalez, Lorenzo Dalla Porta, Navarro, Barry Baltus and Arbolino at the back of the top 18.