Qatar Moto3: Masbou takes first ever pole

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Alex Masbou has taken his first ever pole in a frantic Moto3 qualifying session at Qatar, exploiting being in the right place at the right time to take a four-bike slipstream over the line.

“We were four riders to ride together, and when Locatelli passed me I didn’t think a fast lap time was possible, but then I was in the right place on the straight. I have already the best lap, so hopefully tomorrow I can improve - I hope I can take a win!”

With a long start finish straight at the desert circuit, the session saw many riders set fast laps through the first three sectors only to get left behind on their own on the straight.

Isaac Vinales was second, while early leader Niccolo Antonelli was third. Francesco Bagnaia headed the second row, just ahead of the best of the Brits John McPhee, who slotted in between him and ultra-fast French rookie Fabio Quartararo.

The second Brit, Danny Kent, was ninth, just ahead of teammate Efren Vasquez and behind Andrea Locatelli and yesterday’s fastest man Miguel Oliveira. However, despite his third row start, Kent finished the day only a quarter of a second off pole – with a second covering the top seventeen.

Speaking afterwards, McPhee admitted that his confidence had taken a knock after a slow start to the weekend.

“I really needed that! Yesterday I made a big step forwards, but I built up consistency in that session and it made all the difference. I didn’t really get a tow, but I got just enough of a slipstream to get me over the line!”

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Simon Patterson

By Simon Patterson

MotoGP and road racing reporter, photographer, videographer