Remy Gardner found extra pace in the final sector compared to the rest of the field after massively improving his own second and third sector times on Friday to take pole for the final round of the Moto2 Championship, the Portuguese Grand Prix.
Powering around Portimao, the Onexox TKKR SAG Team rider lowered his own lap record from FP3 as to take the chequered flag with a best of 1m 42.592s.
It is the Australian’s second pole of the season, his first coming back in Austria.
Luca Marini was the best of the riders in with a chance at claiming the Moto2 crown, keeping the pressure on Enea Bastianini as he continues his return to form. The Sky Racing Team VR46 man was just 0.118s slower.
Fabio Di Giannantonio claimed third by just one thousandth to break up the Kalex dominance at the front of the grid for Beta Tools Speed Up.
Bastianini may hold the advantage in the overall standings but struggled down the foot of the timesheets for much of the session. The Italtrans rider chipped away at his time to climb to ninth, with a final all or nothing run pulling him up to fourth.
Riding through the agony of his right wrist injury sustained in Valencia and with another fall in the morning session, Sam Lowes has found the going difficult in Portimao.
The Brit battled through qualifying and topped the timings briefly before retiring to the pits early, earning himself fifth on the grid and keeping his title hopes alive.
Jorge Martin moved up from the first qualifying session. The Red Bull KTM Ajo rider has been playing catch-up after missing FP2 with a mechanical issue after smoke poured from the back of his bike in the opening moments.
Gaining all the time, the Spaniard rode to sixth by the chequered flag.
Nicolo Bulega has enjoyed a late run of form, he too came through Q1 on his way to eighth for Federal Oil Gresini, his best qualifying performance of the season.
Ramirez was the best of the rookie riders in the class in ninth for Tennor American Racing, while Tetsuta Nagashima rallied to complete the top ten.
Hector Garzo was a front row starter and podium finisher in Valencia but had a tougher time at the Algarve track, the Flexbox HP 40 rider started the session well before fading to eleventh.
The title remains a distant hope for Marco Bezzecchi, he needed to move up from Q1, which he did with the best time.
Once in Q2 he couldn’t match the pace of the frontrunners, and although the session was close – 18th placed Joe Roberts was only just over half a second off the pole time – he failed to find the vital thousandths for a better grid slot, leaving him 12th on the second Sky entry.
Aron Canet had a particularly scary fall right at the start of Q2, highsiding from his Pull & Bear Moto2 Speed Up over the drop near turn eight. Slipping down the track behind his bike with the other riders on track completely blinded by the slope to his accident, the Spaniard was incredibly lucky not to be hit by any of the bikes behind him on track.
His mechanics quickly fixed any damage from the crash allowing him to return to track and claim 13th. His main rival for the rookie honours in Moto2 is Garzo who starts two places ahead.
Stefano Manzi just missed out on moving into Q2, fifth after the first session, he will line up 19th after securing pole last time out in Valencia.