Qualifying for the fourth round of the 2019 Moto3 World Championship in Jerez took place under clouded skies, which characterised the running on Saturday.
Q1 saw the Bester Capital Dubai KTMs joint championship leader Jaume Masia and teammate Andrea Migno make a last-ditch attempt to get themselves through to Q2, and it paid off. The teammates qualified through in third and fourth places, respectively, whilst Tatsuki Suzuki (Sic58 Squadra Corse) was the fastest of the Q1 runners, and Celestino Vietti (Sky Racing Team VR46) survived late fast laps from several riders to advance to Q2 in fourth place.
Q2 took place in similarly overcast conditions. The early pace was set by the Sky Racing Team VR46 pairing of Vietti and Dennis Foggia who sandwiched fellow VR46 Academy rider, Niccolo Antonelli (Sic58 Squadra Corse) on the provisional front row.
It was not until the final moments of the session that Vietti’s time was bettered, as Lorenzo Dalla Porta (Leopard Racing) went to the top. The Italian was not displaced for the remainder of the session, and took his first pole of 2019 – the perfect way to signal his intent after a poor couple of results in the Americas.
Tatsuki Suzuki managed to go from Q1 to the front row as he put the #24 Sic58 Squadra Corse Honda in second place, ahead of fellow Q1 competitor, Vietti, who ended up third, unable to beat his early pace. Whilst he missed out on pole, Vietti did claim the first front row of his World Championship career.
Niccolo Antonelli ended the session fourth, and will be joined on the second row of the grid tomorrow by Dennis Foggia and Gabriel Rodrigo (Kommerling Gresini Moto3).
Joint championship leader Aron Canet (Sterilgarda Max Racing Team) was limited to seventh place thanks to mechanical problems on his final run. The Spaniard will be joined by compatriot and Andalusian local Marcos Ramirez (Leopard Racing), and the returning Albert Arenas (Sama Qatar Angel Nieto Team), who took his first CEV win at Jerez back in 2015, on the third row.
Romano Fenati (VNE Snipers) heads up row four tomorrow in tenth, with Ayumu Sasaki (Petronas SRT) and Jakub Kornfeil (Redox PruestelGP) completing the fourth row; whilst Andrea Migno, John McPhee (Petronas SRT) and Jaume Masia make up row five.
Stefano Nepa (Fundacion Andres Perez 77), who is wildcarding this weekend, will head up the sixth row, and will be joined on it by Raul Fernandez (Sama Qatar Angel Nieto Team) and Makar Yurchenko (BOE Skull Rider Mugen Race) who was the slowest rider in Q2.
Tony Arbolino (VNE Snipers), who, like Arenas, scored his first CEV win in Jerez, will start tomorrow’s race in nineteenth after being the fastest rider in Q1 to not qualify for Q2. The Italian will be joined on row seven by Ai Ogura (Honda Team Asia) and Alonso Lopez (Estrella Galicia 0,0).
Kazuki Masaki (BOE Skull Rider Mugen Race) was only fast enough for twenty-second on the grid, and will be joined on the eighth row by Sergio Garcia (Estrella Galicia 0,0) and former championship leader Kaito Toba (Honda Team Asia).
Row nine will consist of Darryn Binder (CIP Green Power), Can Oncu (Red Bull KTM Ajo) and Riccardo Rossi (Kommerling Gresini Moto3); whilst Filip Salac (Redox PruestelGP), Vicente Perez (Reale Avintia Arizona 77) and Tom Booth-Amos (CIP Green Power) will make up row ten.
There will be only one rider on row eleven tomorrow, the wildcard Meikon Kawakami (Fundacion Andres Perez 77).