Fernandez and Acosta complete demanding qualifying in Malaysia


Augusto Fernandez will start from the second row, in sixth. Pedro Acosta will do so from the third row, in eighth place.

The Sepang International Circuit hosted qualifying for the Malaysian Grand Prix on Saturday. Augusto Fernandez and Pedro Acosta both went directly into Q2 and will start from the second and third rows of the grid, respectively.

The third and final Free Practice session of the weekend was used by the Red Bull KTM Ajo Moto2 riders to make their final adjustments before qualifying. Fernandez, who had been the fastest rider on Friday, searched for a good pace and feeling for the race. A small crash hindered his progress, but he would complete the session after returning to the track. Fernandez’ best time in FP3 was a 2:07.177, putting him fourth. He could not improve his top time from the previous day, which kept him among the fastest competitors on the combined timesheets, in second. Acosta has also worked to find a good pace and tried to stay in the Top 5. Despite not bettering his times early on, he finally did so to claim eleventh with a 2:07.629. He also had a small crash in the closing minutes, on route to taking eleventh place.

Moto2 qualifying was held under demanding conditions. The high temperatures, together with the high humidity typical of Malaysia, continued to take their toll. Fernandez rode slower than in Free Practice and worked hard to set a good time. After seven laps attempting to get into the top positions on the grid, it was a time of 2:06.738 on his third attempt that gave him sixth place. Acosta made progress and continued to feel more and more comfortable at Sepang in Q2. After completing six laps, he was eighth with a time of 2:06.934.

The 18-lap Moto2 Malaysian Grand Prix will start at 1:20 PM local time on Sunday.


Results (Qualifying session)
1. Ai Ogura (Kalex) 2:06.405
2. Tony Arbolino (Kalex) 2:06.488 +0.083
3. Aron Canet (Kalex) 2:06.652 +0.247
4. Jake Dixon (Kalex) 2:06.701 +0.296
5. Manuel Gonzalez (Kalex) 2:06.705 +0.300
6. Augusto Fernandez (Red Bull KTM Ajo) 2:06.738 +0.333
8. Pedro Acosta (Red Bull KTM Ajo) 2:06.934 +0.529


“I had a good feeling today, although I expected to be higher up on the grid. There was a lot of traffic on track and I wasn’t able to do well on some sectors. With the second tyre I didn’t feel as good and I couldn’t improve my times. I tried to avoid the crash but I braked late and couldn’t save it. We will start from the second row, which is not bad at all, and we have a good pace for the race. It’s going to be important to be able to manage the tyres but I feel strong for tomorrow.”


“I’m happy with how Saturday went. In FP3 we worked a lot on our pace and I felt comfortable. In qualifying we made some mistakes that made us start a little further back, and I think we could have achieved a better result, but I’m satisfied. Tomorrow we will have to manage the race well because it will be tough, but we will go out there and give our all.”