Impressive Raul Fernandez qualifies on front row for debut GP in Moto227/03/2021
The Red Bull KTM Ajo Moto2 rider finishes second, just one tenth off pole position. Competitive Remy Gardner will start from sixth place tomorrow.
The Losail International Circuit hosted the first day of qualifying of the 2021 season this Saturday, in which Raul Fernandez sprung a surprise in the Moto2 class and he will be on the front row for the Qatar Grand Prix contest. The Red Bull KTM Ajo rider, who has made a promising adaptation to the class, will begin his debut race in the intermediate series from second on the grid. Both he and teammate Remy Gardner went directly into Q2, where the Australian finished sixth for a spot on the second row.
The Red Bull KTM Ajo Moto2 duo dedicated the last of the Free Practices to confirming some setup adjustments to their bikes, as the high temperatures in Losail made it impossible to cut their lap times. Gardner finished the session eighth, with a time of 2:00.766 – four tenths slower than the fastest rider. The Australian talent completed 13 laps of the Qatari track, whilst teammate Fernandez put in 11. The Spaniard was 16th thanks to his 2:01.189 time.
The duo were strong in Q2, commanding the session in first and second position, respectively, at one point. In the final minutes, Fernandez took a big step forward and, courtesy of a fastest lap on his penultimate attempt, he qualified second with a time of 1:58.866. Gardner took sixth place – 1:59.197 – and tomorrow will kick off the Qatar Grand Prix from the second row of the grid.
Tomorrow’s 20-lap Qatar Grand Prix, the first Moto2 race of the 2021 season, will take place at 6:20 PM local time.
Results (Qualifying session)
1. Sam Lowes (Kalex) 1:58.726
2. Raul Fernandez (Red Bull KTM Ajo) 1:58.866 +0.140
3. Bo Bendsneyder (Kalex) 1:58.959 +0.233
4. Marco Bezzecchi (Kalex) 1:59.052 +0.326
5. Joe Roberts (Kalex) 1:59.168 +0.442
6. Remy Gardner (Red Bull KTM Ajo) 1:59.197 +0.471
87 REMY GARDNER
“I’m very pleased with the work we did today. At the end of the session a yellow flag prevented us from improving our lap time and being able to qualify a little higher up the grid. However, we have a good pace and I feel strong for tomorrow’s race. The aim was to be on one of the front two rows of the grid, and we achieved that. I can’t wait to start the first race of the year, in which we will do our best.”
25 RAUL FERNANDEZ
“I’m very happy to qualified on the front row for my debut Grand Prix. I want to thank the team and Remy [Gardner], who helped me on my hot lap. Tomorrow we will see how we fare in the race, since it is a new class for me, and testing is different to racing. We have not yet been able to verify that we can do what we’ve done in the practice sessions in a race situation. However, I am really looking forward to it and face this new challenge with enthusiasm.”