Moto2 Qatar: Pol Espargaro takes pole, despite early crash

Pol Espargaro recovered from a first-minute crash to take a stunning Moto2 pole position for this weekend's season-opening Qatar Grand Prix

Moto2 Qatar: Pol Espargaro takes pole, despite early crash

The Spaniard looked dead and buried when he missed his turn-in point for Turn 6 on his first flying lap of the Losail circuit and fell in the gravel on the outside of the corner.

But after remounting his Pons Kalex and stopping in the pits for checks, Espargaro headed back out and occupied seventh spot by the mid-way point of the session.

He seemed set for a second-row starting spot as he broke the timing beam in sector three of his last lap 0.4s adrift of Takaaki Nakagami's previous benchmark.

But, aided by a tow down the start/finish straight from Johan Zarco, Espargaro crossed the line in 2m00.882s to knock the Japanese rider off pole by just over a tenth of a second.

It was Espargaro's ninth pole in Moto2 and Italtrans rider Nakagami equalled his career-best too.

A late flyer from Mika Kallio snuck the Marc VDS rider in ahead of his British team-mate Scott Redding - who had led the session for the opening 30 minutes.

Dominique Aegerter was another to improve late on. The Swiss rider will start fifth ahead of Julian Simon and Nico Terol, who ran into the gravel immediately after setting his best time with two minutes remaining.

Among the other crashers were Moto3 world champion Sandro Cortese, who is making his Moto2 debut this weekend, Axel Pons, Mattia Pasini and Sergio Gadea.

Pos  Rider                   Team/Bike          Time       Gap
 1.  Pol Espargaro           Pons Kalex         2m00.882s
 2.  Takaaki Nakagami        Italtrans Kalex    2m01.014s  + 0.132s
 3.  Mika Kallio             Marc VDS Kalex     2m01.041s  + 0.159s
 4.  Scott Redding           Marc VDS Kalex     2m01.089s  + 0.207s
 5.  Dominique Aegerter      Technomag Suter    2m01.120s  + 0.238s
 6.  Julian Simon            Italtrans Kalex    2m01.447s  + 0.565s
 7.  Nicolas Terol           Aspar Suter        2m01.454s  + 0.572s
 8.  Esteve Rabat            Pons Kalex         2m01.462s  + 0.580s
 9.  Marcel Schrotter        SAG Kalex          2m01.541s  + 0.659s
10.  Mike di Meglio          JIR Motobi         2m01.573s  + 0.691s
11.  Simone Corsi            Forward Speed Up   2m01.619s  + 0.737s
12.  Alex de Angelis         Forward Speed Up   2m01.647s  + 0.765s
13.  Sandro Cortese          Intact Kalex       2m01.841s  + 0.959s
14.  Johann Zarco            Ioda Suter         2m01.885s  + 1.003s
15.  Anthony West            QMMF Speed Up      2m01.944s  + 1.062s
16.  Jordi Torres            Aspar Suter        2m02.001s  + 1.119s
17.  Xavier Simeon           SAG Kalex          2m02.125s  + 1.243s
18.  Ricky Cardus            Forward Speed Up   2m02.266s  + 1.384s
19.  Ratthapark Wilairot     Gresini Suter      2m02.335s  + 1.453s
20.  Toni Elias              Avintia Kalex      2m02.403s  + 1.521s
21.  Axel Pons               Pons Kalex         2m02.432s  + 1.550s
22.  Louis Rossi             Tech 3             2m02.607s  + 1.725s
23.  Yuki Takahashi          Tady Moriwaki      2m02.800s  + 1.918s
24.  Randy Krummenacher      Technomag Suter    2m02.908s  + 2.026s
25.  Mattia Pasini           Forward Speed Up   2m03.006s  + 2.124s
26.  Danny Kent              Tech 3             2m03.039s  + 2.157s
27.  Doni Tata Pradita       Gresini Suter      2m04.177s  + 3.295s
28.  Kyle Smith              Avintia Kalex      2m04.436s  + 3.554s
29.  Steven Odendaal         Arginano Speed Up  2m04.657s  + 3.775s
30.  Rafid Topan Sucipto     QMMF Speed Up      2m04.731s  + 3.849s
31.  Alberto Moncayo         Arginano Speed Up  2m04.873s  + 3.991s
32.  Sergio Gadea            Gresini Suter      2m05.869s  + 4.987s
Moto2/Moto3 testing: Pol Espargaro and Maverick Vinales fastest
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