Rins claims pole at third round of the Moto2 season at COTA

Mix weather conditions and a red-flag limit Moto2 riders time on track during FP3 and Qualifying at Cota ahead of the third round of the Moto2 season.

Rins claims pole at third round of the Moto2 season at COTA
Rins claims fourth pole position ahead of third round at COTA - www.motogp.com

It was Speed Up Racing team rider Simone Corsi and Paginas Amarillas HP 40 rider Alex Rins who made it in to the 2:10 minute laps at the start of FP3 for the Moto2 class; soon British Federal Oil Gresini Racing team rider Sam Lowes joined them and claimed the lead.

Lowes continued to fly around the Circuit of the Americas and got through the 2:10 minute barrier when he lapped at 2:09.981 with 36 minutes to go. He continued to improve his own time but appeared to be losing time in the third sector. Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS rider Alex Marquez was brought out of his seat as he went wide at turn one near the start of the final practice session.

The crashes and near-misses came

Axel Pons (AGR Racing) crashed out of turn six with 36 minutes to go, he slid into the run-off section however his bike continued to slide going across the track and into the run-off area of the next corner. Luckily Dynavolt Intact GP rider Jonas Folger, who was following Pons, was able to avoid the rider and the bike as they came to an eventual halt. The only Suter rider Efren Vazquez (JPMoto Malaysia) crashed out at turn 14 but was able to return to the track.

Rain prohibited Moto2 riders

With 26 minutes to go the rain flag was waved for the second time again today due to a heavy shower which forced riders into the pits. The riders returned to the track with approximately twelve minutes left on full wet tyres; riders were now well off the pace due to the conditions on the wet track which had areas of still water.

Riders crashed out in wet conditions

Corsi was one of the first riders to venture out in the wet and it was not long until a crash came from the Italian and crashed out on turn thirteen with just under nine minutes to go. Corsi’s crash was a low speed slide as he teetered round cautiously when the front tucked under on a slippery part of the track. He was able to get straight up and return to the pits with his bike which was damaged on the right hand side.

Riders tried to push for experience in the wet in case conditions were similar on race day. Johann Zarco (Ajo Motorsport) crashed out not long after again on turn thirteen in a similar incident to Corsi and was quickly able to re-join to participate for the rest of the session which had six minutes remaining; however he did leave debris as he ventured round.

Turn thirteen claims more victims

It was not long before turn thirteen almost claimed another victim, as Marquez was exiting the turn he was lifted out of his seat as the rear end spun. The Spaniard managed to control it though and stayed on however he did go into the run-off area; he decided to call it a day and return to the pits.

AGR Team rider Marcel Schrotter was also caught out on in the slippery conditions on turn 20 in the final few minutes after he lost the front. He slid out into the run-off area and was able to return to the track for the remainder of the session. Zarco almost lost again in a similar incident to Marquez in the same corner. As the flags were waved to signal the end of the session, Luca Marini crashed out of the fast corner of turn nine as the rear spun and threw him off the bike.

Lowes remained fastest at end of FP3

Lowes remained fastest ahead of Corsi, Dominique Aegerter (CarXpert Interwetten) and Folger. EG 0,0 Marc VDS rider Franco Morbidelli ahead of Takaaki Nakagami (IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia), Marquez, Rins and Garage Plus Interwetten rider Thomas Luthi who was the last rider within a second of leader Lowes.

Final qualifying session of the day ahead of third round at COTA

Qualifying session began for the Moto2 class on a track that had now dried out completely as the rain had subsided. Rins took the lead once again straight away; it was not long until he took half a second off his own time leaving 2:09.190 as the time to beat.

Lowes accepted this challenge and took pole position from Rins with a time of 2:09.114. With thirty-six minutes remaining, Rins retaliated and regained the lead, at the same time he managed to break through the 2:08 minute barrier setting a pole position time of 2:08.80

Folger forced to abandon his lap

The remainder of the session seemed dull in comparison to that of the MotoGP class qualifying that had taken place previous to the Moto2 session. Riders began to re-enter the pits to make final settings ready for their last attempt to improve their grid positions. Towards the end of the session though, Folger had a flying lap spoiled as he came across Mattia Pasini (Italtrans Racing Team) at turn nineteen who was lapping much slower than the German which forced Folger to abandon his lap.

Crash for Vazquez meant session red-flagged so he could receive medical attention

With just ten minutes remaining, the red flag came out signalling an abrupt end to the qualifying session. Vazquez had crashed again at turn seven,. However, this time he needed to receive medical attention at the side of the track. The session was stopped due to the incident occurring at a precarious part of the track and so it was better to not jeopardise the safety of those attending to Vazquez.

Vazquez was taken from the track via ambulance to the medical centre where he was examined, the latest at qualifying came to a close was that he was being checked for a suspected head trauma, however, Vazquez was conscious and able to communicate.

Qualifying restarted and Rins remained pole

The session restarted and the riders made one final attempt to gain the best qualifying positions. No-one was able to knock Rins off the top spot despite being able to improve. On what was Zarco’s last lap of the session we watched as the graphics remained red indicating that Zarco was on track to go fastest. However, he lost time in the final sector and could only manage second knocking British rider Lowes down to the third and completing the front row of the grid.

Aegerter led the second row ahead of Luthi and Nakagami who was unable to place higher despite riding fast through the first two sectors. Folger was in seventh ahead of the fastest Speed Up bike Corsi who was 0.571 seconds slower than the fastest Kalex. He was ahead of Morbidelli, Sandro Cortese (Dynavolt Intact GP), Julian Simon (QMMF Racing) ahead of Lorenzo Baldassarri who completed the fourth row aboard his Forward Team Kalex.

British rider Danny Kent (Leopard Racing) finished in sixteenth on the grid, the fastest Tech 3 bike was that of Xavi Vierge (Tech 3 Racing) and Vazquez remained in last place on the grid as the only Suter, although it is not confirmed whether he will race tomorrow in the third round of the Moto2 season at COTA.