Moto3: Rodrigo on pole as title challengers penalised

Published: 12 August 2017

Gabriel Rodrigo will start tomorrow’s Austrian Grand Prix at the Red Bull Ring from pole position after taking the top spot for the second weekend in a row, in a dream qualifying session that saw his RBA Racing teammate Juanfran Guevara join him on the front row after title leader Joan Mir was penalised.

Looking fast all day for the squad at their home race, the Argentine rider struck at the right time to find a gap in traffic and ended the day 0.112 ahead of his teammate, with Aron Canet joining the duo on the front row.

“I’m very happy. Today already in the FP3 we proved that we are competitive: we finished with the third position, after a long run on worn-out tyres. I felt really strong. In the qualifying, at the beginning I got stuck in a bit of traffic and I struggled to be quick. However, in the end I found some space and I could set two hot laps, achieving another pole position.

“It’s incredible, both for me and the team, as well as KTM, since this is their home Grand Prix. I believe it’s a nice present for all the work they’ve done to improve the bike throughout the summer. Both riders from RBA BOÉ Racing are on the first row, and it’s an excellent result: it means the team has been doing a superb job. Hopefully tomorrow the weather will be just fine for a solid race.”

Enea Bastianini was fourth, just ahead of John McPhee, with a much-needed good qualifying performance setting the British Talent Cup rider up for a strong race tomorrow.

“With the times being so close, we can be happy with fifth today. I feel strong on the bike and with a good start tomorrow I'm confident I can fight for the podium. Again, qualifying was a gamble today but being in the front few rows is key for the race.”

Bo Bensneyder rounded out the second row, ahead of Andrea Migno, Philipp Oettl and Fabio Di Giannantonio on the third row, while Mir ended up in tenth after losing his best lap time for exceeding track limits, just ahead of title rival Romano Fenati in 11th.