Austin Moto2: Rins clinches pole in red-flagged session

Pons Racing rider Alex Rins narrowly held on to his fourth Moto2 pole in a session that was disrupted by a big crash for Efren Vazquez.

Austin Moto2: Rins clinches pole in red-flagged session
Practice action
Alex Rins, Paginas Amarillas HP 40
Johann Zarco, Ajo Motorsport
Johann Zarco, Ajo Motorsport
Johann Zarco, Ajo Motorsport
Sam Lowes, Federal Oil Gresini Moto2

With the track fully dry despite earlier showers, practice pacesetter Rins made a statement right away, putting in a 2m08.850s lap within the first 10 minutes of the 45-minute session.

And during the first half of qualifying, it was only Lowes who got within a second of Rins' lap, going 0.264s slower.

Shortly thereafter, Takaaki Nakagami moved up to third, three-quarters of a second down on the session leader.

In improving, the Japanese rider passed Jonas Folger - who was improving himself, but got held up by Mattia Pasini late in the lap, the German subsequently shaking his fist at the Italian.

The status quo remained until 10 minutes were left on the clock, when rookie Vazquez - the sole Suter rider in the field - fell at Turn 7, the Spaniard's crash bringing out the red flag as he had been knocked unconscious and had to be treated by the medical staff.

With Vazquez taken to the medical centre in an ambulance and regaining consciousness, the session resumed 12 minutes after it had been stopped.

Neither Rins, nor Lowes improved on their first attempts, allowing the field to close in on the duo, with Swiss duo of Dominique Aegerter and Thomas Luthi moving to within a tenth of Lowes.

The big challenge to Rins, however, came from reigning champion Johann Zarco, who was up on the Spaniard's session-best lap through the first three sectors after the chequered flag - before settling for runner-up at the line, two tenths down.

Lowes wound up taking third, ahead of Aegerter, Luthi and Nakagami, who denied Folger a second-row spot at the chequered flag.

Simone Corsi, at 0.571s off the leader, was the last rider within a second of pole in eighth, with Franco Morbidelli making up row three and Sandro Cortese in 10th.

It was a miserable outing for Alex Marquez, brother of two-time MotoGP champion Marc. The 2014 Moto3 champion battled for a top-10 spot early in the session, but slipped down to 21st by the end.

Qualifying results

1 SpainAlex Rins Paginas Amarillas HP 40 Kalex 2:08.850
2 FranceJohann Zarco Ajo Motorsport Kalex 2:09.066
3 United KingdomSam Lowes Gresini Racing Kalex 2:09.100
4 SwitzerlandDominique Aegerter Technomag Racing Interwetten Kalex 2:09.163
5 SwitzerlandThomas Luthi Garage Plus Interwetten Kalex 2:09.171
6 JapanTakaaki Nakagami Idemitsu Honda Team Asia Kalex 2:09.206
7 GermanyJonas Folger Dynavolt Intact GP Kalex 2:09.226
8 ItalySimone Corsi Speed Up Racing Speed Up 2:09.421
9 ItalyFranco Morbidelli Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS Kalex 2:09.910
10 GermanySandro Cortese Dynavolt Intact GP Kalex 2:09.940
11 SpainJulian Simon QMMF Racing Team Speed Up 2:09.999
12 ItalyLorenzo Baldassarri Forward Racing Kalex 2:10.012
13 GermanyMarcel Schrötter AGR Team Kalex 2:10.039
14 SpainLuis Salom SAG Team Kalex 2:10.103
15 SpainAxel Pons AGR Team Kalex 2:10.236
16 United KingdomDanny Kent Leopard Racing Kalex 2:10.274
17 MalaysiaHafizh Syahrin Petronas Raceline Malaysia Team Honda Kalex 2:10.292
18 BelgiumXavier Simeon QMMF Racing Team Speed Up 2:10.299
19 ItalyMattia Pasini Italtrans Racing Team Kalex 2:10.375
20 PortugalMiguel Oliveira Leopard Racing Kalex 2:10.405
21 SpainAlex Marquez Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS Kalex 2:10.418
22 ItalyLuca Marini Forward Racing Kalex 2:10.453
23 SpainXavi Vierge Tech 3 Racing Tech 3 2:10.705
24 ThailandRatthapark Wilairot Idemitsu Honda Team Asia Kalex 2:10.734
25 SpainIsaac Viñales Tech 3 Racing Tech 3 2:11.297
26 SwitzerlandJesko Raffin Sports-Millions-EMWE-SAG Kalex 2:11.539
27 SwitzerlandRobin Mulhauser Technomag Racing Interwetten Kalex 2:12.202
28 ItalyAlessandro Tonucci Tasca Racing Scuderia Moto2 Kalex 2:12.801
29 SpainEfren Vazquez JPMoto Malaysia Suter 2:12.962
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