Danny Kent narrowly missed out on scoring a fifth Moto3 front row start of 2012 at Phillip Island today after this afternoon’s qualifying session was disrupted by a short rain shower just after the halfway stage.
The Red Bull KTM rider was lying in fourth position with a best time of 1.39.222 when a short cloudburst left the Phillip Island surface damp.
A strong win failed to improve conditions enough for Kent to improve on his pace and he heads the second row of the grid in fourth position for the penultimate round of this year’s world championship.
Twin Ring Motegi winner Kent finished just 0.043s behind Efren Vazquez who took third sport, with newly crowned Moto3 world champion Sandro Cortese taking his seventh pole of the season with a quickest lap of 1.38.334.
That put him 0.393s clear of fellow German Jonas Folger, who was 0.452s ahead of Spaniard Vazquez.
Joining Kent on the second row will be Zulfahmi Khairuddin, who created history last weekend by becoming the first Malaysian rider to score a pole position and podium in Grand Prix history. Spaniard Miguel Oliveira finshed sixth.
Maverick Vinales, who is back in action in Australia after controversially walking out on his Avintia Blusens squad on the eve of last weekend’s Sepang clash, set the eighth best time with a 1.39.387 that left him just over a second behind Cortese.
British rider John McPhee clocked a best time of 1.40.984 to qualify in 22nd position, while Danny Webb didn’t take part in today’s qualifying session and he has also been ruled out of tomorrow’s race.
His Mahindra machine has suffered chronic reliability issues during the flyaway triple header and the Kent rider has been forced to withdraw with the Mahindra squad out of parts to continue.