Moto3: Bastianini comes out top in frantic qualifying
Enea Bastianini (Leopard Racing) will start tomorrow’s Moto3 race at the Gran Premi Monster Energy de Catalunya from pole position as he took top spot in qualifying for the first time since Aragon 2016. Despite a second crash of the weekend, Jorge Martin (Del Conca Gresini Moto3) starts second, with Tatsuki Suzuki (SIC58 Squadra Corse) on the outside of the front row in third.
‘The Beast’ was the rider to beat throughout the session at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, setting a 1:48.806 - the quickest lap of the weekend - just ten minutes into the session to set a benchmark that wouldn’t be beaten.
It was a tricky start for the Del Conca Gresini’s of Martin and Fabio Di Giannantonio, with the latter crashing at Turn 4 without having set a time. Then, Martin was in the gravel, taking down Albert Arenas (Angel Nieto Team Moto3) at Turn 10 with just over ten minutes gone – the bike unable to restart.
Nonetheless, the Championship protagonist went back out with 15 minutes remaining and aggressively leaped to P2 on his second flying lap, 0.107 off Bastianini’s pole lap. Behind the Spaniard was Suzuki, who had another terrific qualifying session to earn his second consecutive front row start.
Ayumu Sasaki (Petronas Sprinta Racing) was up the sharp end throughout the session, the Japanese rider will start one position behind compatriot Suzuki in fourth. On home soil, Aron Canet (Estrella Galicia 0,0) managed to earn a P5 start, with Kaito Toba (Honda Team Asia) making it three Japanese riders in the top six, launching from the outside of row two in sixth after recovering from a crash midway through qualifying.
John McPhee (CIP - Green Power) spearheads the third row of the grid in seventh, a good qualifying session for the Scot, with Gabriel Rodrigo (RBA BOE Skull Rider) finishing the session in eighth despite a late crash at Turn 5. Championship leader Marco Bezzecchi (Redox PrustelGP) will have work to do from P9 on the grid, the Italian was in and around the top ten throughout the session on board his KTM machine.
Championship contender Di Giannantonio managed to salvage P13 on his final run, having set his first flying lap with just ten minutes of the session remaining. Can he work his way forward and fight for the podium?
Nicolo Bulega (SKY Racing Team VR46), who starts from P12, crashed at T5 – rider ok. Then right at the end of qualifying, Arenas tucked the front when trying to overtake wild card rider Vicente Perez (Reale Avintia Academy 77) at Turn 5, taking them both down – with Perez going to the medical centre.