Kornfeil Takes First Moto3 Pole

Brno qualifying was just like any other for Moto3, at least it was for thirty-seven minutes. Everyone went out, set some laps at a reasonable pace, and then came in. Then they waited, and they waited, looked at the clock, waited some more, and finally went out with just under three minutes to go. With a 2’08 lap time, they were up against it to get round in time to set a final qualifying attempt, and sure enough, most didn’t.

However, Jakub Kornfeil did, and set his first ever Grand Prix pole in his home race. He was helped on his way by John McPhee for half the lap, but passed the Scot at turn eleven, towing him up the hill and to the line. In turn McPhee went second, as the two of them fooled the field to snatch the front two places on the grid. With many of the favoured riders starting further back tomorrow, they both have a big chance to grab a podium, or maybe even a win.
Marcos Ramirez completes tomorrow’s front row, and for once he took third without the necessity for penalties for his rivals.

Jacub Kornfeil, John McPhee & Kazuki Masaki .Image courtesy of Gold and Goose /KTM

Philipp Oettl took fourth place on the grid, whilst Fabio Di Giannantonio – who held provisional pole for most of the session – was fifth ahead of Aron Canet who was the first rider to miss the chequered flag on his last run.

Row three is fronted by Gabriel Rodrigo, ahead of Nakarin Atiratphuvapat who had his best performance of 2018, and Niccolo Antonelli who has seemingly seen something of a return to form after the break, although the confirmation of that is still pending.

It was a self-proclaimed disaster for Enea Bastianini, who was tenth and needs a good race here to get his championship challenge back on track, although he hasn’t looked so brilliant this weekend. Jaume Masia and Kazuki Masaki – who has had a stellar weekend, topping FP2 – join Bastianini on row four.

Thirteenth fastest was Dennis Foggia – his best performance since the paddock arrived in Europe back in May – ahead of championship hopeful but Czech GP struggler Marco Bezzecchi and Albert Arenas who suffered a crash at the end of the session but was okay. Speaking for Bezzecchi, a good start is essential for his race tomorrow, even more so as his main title rival Jorge Martin, is out of the weekend with a broken radius. Like all the other championship hopefuls, Bezzecchi must make the most of Martin’s absence this weekend.

Tony Arbolino was sixteenth, ahead of Lorenzo Dalla Porta and Nicolo Bulega, who has looked much better than eighteenth this weekend. Darryn Binder was nineteenth, with Kaito Toba rounding out the top twenty and Adam Norrodin rounding out row seven.

Twenty-second fastest was Andrea Migno, then came Stefano Nepa, Vicente Perez, Alonso Lopez and Filip Salac who was superb in FP3 in the morning but could not translate that to qualifying.

Tatsuki Suzuki and Ayumu Sasaki did not set a qualifying lap as they crashed on the first lap out of the pits and both missed the flag at the end. Sasaki also had a trip to the medical centre and looked in pain at the end of the session. Hopefully he will be okay for tomorrow, and able to mount a comeback from the back of the grid.

As previously mentioned, Jorge Martin is absent this weekend. The championship leader suffered a nasty high side in FP1 at turn ten, and suffered a broken radius bone. That has put him out of this weekend, and also made him a doubt for next weekend in Austria. Hopefully the Spaniard will make a decent enough recovery over the next days to be able to turn up and be at least semi-competitive in Spielberg but right now it is difficult to say.

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