Cameron Beaubier gifts the home crowd with his first Moto2 Pole position, as Celestino Vietti and Aron Canet complete the front row.
After a disappointing Friday saw championship leader Celestino Vietti end Day 1 down in P15, the Mooney VR46 Racing Team rider fought his way through Q1 in order to stand a chance at making a mark in the second qualifying question. The Italian joined Bo Bendsneyder through the ranks.
Beaubier proved a strong contender from the first Free Practice session of the weekend, remaining within the Top 3 throughout Friday, and starting Saturday with a P6 in FP3; it was no surprise that Qualifying would be no different. Q2 witnessed Beaubier showing promising times towards the final half of the session, and despite efforts from the likes of Tony Arbolino, the American finally took to the top spot with just 2 minutes remaining, showcasing a time of 2:08.751 which remained untouchable by rivals all the way to the chequered flag.
The start of Q2 saw Somkiat Chantra top the board, as the Thai rider looked set to continue his admirable run across the 2022 season so far. However, the provisional Pole was soon handed over from Chantra, as teammate of Ai Ogura and Vietti both took to the front with 5 minutes of the session remaining. Ogura’s promising run ended soon after, as the Japanese rider crashed at Turn 11 while in a provisional P4, but sank down to 11th place at the chequered flag. Both IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia riders will start towards the middle of the grid, as Chantra starts from P17. The Thai rider claimed that the crash in FP3 resulted in a heavy loss of crucial practice time, and so the focus of the Qualifying session was to continue where he left off in the Practices.
While drama engulfed riders around him, Vietti’s endeavours appeared almost relaxing this time around, as the Italian spent the majority of the session in provisional Pole, and soon settled into a solid P2 for the remainder after being dethroned by Beaubier.
Final-minute drama saw Aron Canet crash at turn 17 while pushing to improve on his provisional P4 time. The crash cemented what we thought would be a second row start for the Flexbox HP40 rider, but a lap cancellation for Arbolino gifted the Spaniard with third position on the grid – a much needed spot next to title rival Vietti. Arbolino was able to recover on his final lap to take 4th position for the race, as Albert Arenas and Jake Dixon follow behind on Row 2.
Jorge Navarro leads Row 3 in 7th place, but due to crashing under yellow flags during FP3, the Spaniard will have to undertake a long-lap penalty during the race. If Navarro can manage a good start off the line, there will hopefully be little consequence to his race. Navarro will be followed by previous pole-man Fermin Aldeguer and Sam Lowes in 8th and 9th, respectively.
Pedro Acosta rounds out the Top 10, as Q1 survivor Bendsneyder will begin the race in P12 behind Ogura. Row 5 will consist of Marcel Schrotter, Marcos Ramirez and Jeremy Alcoba. Despite a promising first half of the session, Joe Roberts will begin the race in 16th position.
Augusto Fernandez suffered from a crash before being able to set a time, and will start from P18 on the grid.
The only rider to win from Pole in the 2022 season so far has been Celestino Vietti back in Qatar, can Beaubier follow the title leader’s example, and take his maiden win at home?
The Moto2 Race will begin at 11:20am Local Time (GMT -5)
Feature Image: MotoGP.com