The weather at MotorLand Aragaon pinned lap times down slightly with both of the support class actually seeing faster times set in practice, but that didn’t stop the competition for grid position being furious.
In Moto3 Alex Rins was one of many riders to experience a bike issue as a mix of early crashes and technical issues saw many stuck in the pits, hoping for improvement. The Estrella Galicia rider overcame his Honda’s clutch problem to return to track and top the timesheets, in a race where a front row start has been essential for a podium finish in Moto3.
|First time for everything – Vinales takes pole in Moto2 Photo: Pons Racing
Joining him up front will be Danny Kent, who squeezed the best from his Husqvarna for his best starting position in Moto3 this season. A full mix of manufacturers make up the front row as they are joined by the fastest man this weekend – Aspar’s Juanfran Guevara on the Kalex KTM, his best qualifying making the experience one of joy and frustration as it was Guevara who holds the quickest time, a new record, from FP3.
Championship leader Jack Miller had traffic trouble leaving the Red Bull KTM Ajo rider in fourth. He is joined on row two by Rins’ team-mate Alex Marquez in fifth and another impressive ride from Junior Team Go&Fun’s Enea Bastianini saw him storm through for sixth.
Row three features Team Calvo’s Isaac Vinales in seventh, a job secure John McPhee in eighth – his best qualifying since Indianapolis – for SaxoPrint-RTG, and Niccolo Antonelli in ninth on the second of the Go&Fun bikes. McPhee’s team-mate Efren Vazquez completes the top ten starters.
Niklas Ajo had the worst of the technical issues leaving him just minutes to move up from last, Andrea Locatelli also had to leave his qualifying late after a crash saw him damage his finger badly enough for a trip to the medical centre. Jasper Iwema, in at CIP, and Francesco Bagnaia also scuppered their qualifying dreams by crashing out.
Moto2 saw a late fast lap give rookie Maverick Vinales his first pole in the class. The Spaniard, who already has a win under his belt after victory in Texas, had looked confident and determined all weekend on the Paginas Amarillas HP 40 Kalex and timed his fast laps to perfection to steal the top spot from Johann Zarco.
The Air Asia Caterham man missed out by just a difference of 0.051, though he had been out of contention for the front row before new tyres gave him a little extra, it proved crucial in a class where the top 21 times were within a second of Vinales best lap.
Joining them on the front row is Mika Kallio, the Marc VDS man remaining consistent to secure his spot on the front row.
Franco Morbidelli continues to improve and heads row two from fourth on the grid for Italtrans. Fifth went to championship leader and Marc VDS rider TitoRabat, who fell just as his rivals picked up the pace. Tom Luthi scored sixth for Interwetten Paddock.
Row three features Taka Nakagami in seventh for Idemitsu Honda Team Asia, Dominique Aegerter giving everything to push his Technomag carXpert bike to eighth and Dynavolt Intact GP’s Sandro Cortese fighting his bike as well as the clock to ninth. Marcel Schrotter completes the top ten for Tech 3.
New parts did little to help the British riders save a tough day – Sam Lowes starts 20th despite gaining Ohlins parts from Speed Up, Gino Rea has a new chassis and starts 24th for AGT REA Racing.
For the full Moto3 result click here
, and for Moto2 here