Ahead of the final round of the Moto2 season at the Gran Premio Motul de la Communitat Valenciana, the 600cc class took to the Ricardo Tormo circuit in Valencia, Spain, for the final Free Practice session prior to their last Qualifying ahead of the race.
Having being tormented by rain over the last several rounds, the Moto2 class were again greeted by sunshine on day two of the meeting, and although the other classes experienced a very cool start to the meeting, the temperatures had increased by the time the Moto2 class made it out onto the track.
Syharin returned from illness after missing day one
Hafizh Syharin had recovered from his stomach flu; the Petronas Raceline Malaysia rider was forced to miss day one as he felt too weak to go out an ride the bike on the track. A good rest, and fluids provided by a drip, were enough to help him feel much better and ready to compete.
The final Free Practice session got underway and Garage Plus Interwetten rider Thomas Luthi shot to the top of the timesheets with his time of 1:35.532. Several more riders put in strong lap times in as they settled in and adapted to the conditions. A few laps later, Luthi was again able to improve, taking 0.295 seconds off his own time, and looked as if he had the chance to break the record.
Wildcard Clere crashes out as does Simeon
It was not long before the class saw their first crash of the day. Wildcard rider for the season finale, Hugo Clere (Promoto Sport) crashed his Transflormers bike at turn 11 of the circuit after narrowly avoiding contact with Jesko Raffin (Sports-Millions-EWME-SAG). Clere’s bike slid out, and he was able to get back to his feet with the momentum from the slide and he ended up running after it.
A few minutes later, Xavier Simeon (QMMF Racing Team), crashed at turn six. He approached the turn with a slightly wider turn and the front tucked under braking. He was unhurt and immediately ran to the bike to try and recover it.
Marquez looking strong on track
The riders spent the majority of the session in and out of the pits, adjusting settings and spending as much time as possible on track in preparation for Qualifying. Things began to heat up in the final stages of the session. Alex Marquez (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS) was on form and looking like he was able to challenge Luthi for the top spot. However, Simone Corsi (Speed Up Racing), got in his way ruining his lap, and Marquez made sure he knew how he felt about it as he expressed his annoyance at the Italian.
Axel Pons (AGR Team) was next to crash out of the session as he came off at turn seven with just a few minutes remaining. Moments later Julian Simon (QMMF Racing) crashed out at turn 14, and Jonas Folger (Dynavolt Intact GP) fell victim to turn two; he either screamed in frustration, or was trying to squeeze the air out of the airbags in his leather that had deployed as he crouched in a ball at the side of the track.
Luthi remained the quickest at the end of Free Practice 3
Despite trying, no one was able to contend with Luthi’s time set in the first half of the session. He remained on top as the man to beat ahead of Franco Morbidelli (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS) and British rider Danny Kent who looked promising in third aboard the Leopard Racing Kalex.
The 206 Moto2 champion Zarco was fourth quickest ahead of Folger and Japanese rider (Takaaki Nakagami (Idemitsu Honda Team Asia) in sixth. Simon, Marcel Schrotter (AGR Team), Sandro Cortese (Dynavolt Intact GP) and Alex Rins (Paginas Amarillas HP 40) made up the top 10 going into Qualifying.
The final Moto2 Qualifying session of 2016 begins with another crash for Axel Pons
The final Qualifying session of the 2016 Moto2 season got underway. Axel Pons experienced his second crash of the day early on in the session at turn 12 when he came off and slid out before tumbling through the gravel.
It was Zarco who claimed the top spot immediately during the session with a time of 1:34.879. Although it is warm in Valencia, Spain, the session ran late into the day and conditions were again becoming cooler at the track which prevented the riders from pushing as hard; as they would have struggled to get heat into the tyres.
Morbidelli completes a time attack on track
On several occasions, Morbidelli attempted a time attack only to end up coming across traffic on the circuit. With 10 minutes of the session remaining, after the Italian had displayed two red sectors on the timing displays, he first encountered Luca Marini (Forward Racing) in front of him, spoiling his ap. Later on he got stuck behind Isaac Vinales (Tech 3 Racing) which again ruined another chance.
Rins, who is contending for second in the championship was able to progress up to fifth on the grid as he continued to push towards the end of the session. Luthi had been seen wrestling his bike around the circuit for several laps and also looked set to steal pole position, however he was let down by his final sector. He lapped again completing a personal best time; it was just 0.054 seconds slower than that of Zarco’s frustratingly for the German rider.
The same happened with Morbidelli. On his final challenge for pole position he was too displaying two red sectors indicating he was quicker than pole man Zarco, but his third sector let him down. He crossed the line just 0.005 seconds behind Zarco.
Zarco claims the final pole position of the year
Zarco remained the man and top and therefore the pole position man ahead of the season finale; his last race in the Moto2 class as he is one of four riders set to be promoted to the MotoGP next season. He will be joined on the front row by Luthi and Morbidelli. Mattia Pasini (Italtrans Racing Team), overcame a big crash on day one of the meeting to claim fourth on the grid, he will be joined on the second row by Alex Rins and Simon.
Brits dominate the third row
The Brits have taken over the third row which is led by Sam Lowes (Federal Oil Gresini Racing Moto2), who is also competing in his last race in the class, and Kent is seventh. They are joined by Nakagami in ninth. Alex Marquez will lead the fourth row from 10th ahead of Jonas Folger (Dynavolt Intact GP) who is also competing in his last race, and Marcel Schrotter (AGR Team) will join them in 12th.
Best of the rest
Simeon, Cortese are 13th and 14th ahead of Miguel Oliveira (Leopard Racing) who is returning from injury for the final round of the season and will start in 15th. Axel Pons had to settle for 16th row on the grid ahead of Australian rider Remy Gardner (Tasca Racing Scuderia Moto2) and Marini in 18th. Xavi Vierge (Tech 3 Racing) is the highest placed Tech 3 rider on the grid in 19th ahead of Edgar Pons (Paginas Amarillas HP 40), Raffin, Simone Corsi (Speed Up Racing) and Lorenzo Baldassarri (Forward Team) in 23rd.
Syahrin qualified in 24th after his illness ahead of Ratthapark Wilairot (Idemitsu Honda Team Asia), CarXpert Interwetten teammates Iker Lecuona and Robin Mulhauser in 27th. Wildcard rider Federico Fuligni (Team Clattl), Vinales and wildcard rider Clere complete the grid of 30 riders due to line up for the season finale in Valencia.