Moto3: Rodrigo Takes Barcelona Pole

The qualifying session for the seventh round of the 2019 Moto3 World Championship took place in Montmelo in perfect conditions.

In Q1, it was Tatsuki Suzuki (Sic58 Squadra Corse) who topped the session to move through to Q2 after a crash in FP3 limited his chances to qualify for the pole position shootout directly. Joining Suzuki in advancing from Q1 were Andrea Migno (Bester Capital Dubai), Albert Arenas (Sama Qatar Angel Nieto Team) and the returning Ai Ogura (Honda Team Asia).

The action in Q2 started early on, as a crash by the wildcard Carlos Tatay (Fundacion Andreas Perez 77) caught out Niccolo Antonelli (Sic58 Squadra Corse) who was out wide in T3 and had nowhere to go when Tatay lost the front.

There was a big lull in the middle of the session, before the entire eighteen-rider field headed back out for the final two minutes or so.

Despite missing the flag by one second or so on his final run, Gabriel Rodrigo’s first lap in Q2 was fast enough for the Argentinian to take his first pole position for the Kommerling Gresini Moto3 squad. As a rider who lives in Barcelona and has for some time, pole for the Catalan GP will be a special one for Rodrigo, who will be hoping to take his first Moto3 win, and become the twelfth different winner in as many races in the lightweight class.

Ai Ogura resumed his form from before his injury in Le Mans, when he crashed out of the front group on the opening lap of the French Grand Prix. Second place for the Japanese represents his best World Championship qualifying result, beating his Le Mans grid slot by one place.

Mugello pole sitter and winner, Tony Arbolino (VNE Snipers) completes the front row for the 2019 Catalan Moto3 Grand Prix, after his final lap was beaten by Ogura moments after it was set. If Arbolino were to win tomorrow it would be the first time there has been a back-to-back winner in Moto3 since Jorge Martin won Assen and Sachsenring in succession almost one year ago.

Tatsuki Suzuki was able to come from Q1 to qualify fourth, which was an important result for the Sic58 Squadra Corse team with the poor session of Antonelli. Championship leader Aron Canet (Sterilgarda Max Racing Team) will start from the middle of the second row, whilst Albert Arenas completes row two.

Both Estrella Galicia 0,0 riders have looked strong during the weekend, and their tactic of sending both riders out together has mostly worked. However, Alonso Lopez could only manage seventh fastest in Q2. The Spaniard will be joined by Jaume Masia (Bester Capital Dubai) and Lorenzo Dalla Porta (Leopard Racing) who was caught up in Antonelli’s second incident of the session at turn five which limited the #48 to ninth on the grid.

John McPhee (Petronas SRT) had a better qualifying this time compared to Mugello, with tenth place. Andrea Migno and Marcos Ramirez (Leopard Racing) will join him on row four; whilst the second Estrella Galicia 0,0 rider, Sergio Garcia, will head up row five from Makar Yurchenko (BOE Skull Rider Mugen Race) and Raul Fernandez (Sama Qatar Angel Nieto Team) who won a Junior World Championship race in Barcelona last year.

Dennis Foggia, Moto3, Catalunya MotoGP 2019. Image courtesy of Gold and Goose/KTM

Row six will see Darryn Binder (CIP Green Power) in front of the two riders with no time: Antonelli and Tatay.

Kazuki Masaki (BOE Skull Rider Mugen Race) was the fastest of the riders to not make Q2, and heads up row seven from Can Oncu (Red Bull KTM Ajo) and wildcard Ryusei Yamanaka (Estrella Galicia 0,0) who was blocked, somewhat, by Dennis Foggia (Sky Racing Team VR46) in the final corner on his final lap, for which Foggia could well see a penalty coming his way.

Romano Fenati (VNE Snipers) disappointed, and will start a lowly twenty-second, ahead of Ayumu Sasaki (Petronas SRT) and, provisionally, the aforementioned Foggia.

Celestino Vietti (Sky Racing Team VR46) was taken out by Jakub Kornfeil (Redox PruestelGP) on his final lap, and could only manage twenty-fifth, ahead of, ironically, Kornfeil and Kaito Toba (Honda Team Asia) on the ninth row; whilst Riccardo Rossi (Kommerling Gresini Moto3) starts ahead of Vicente Perez (Reale Avintia Arizona 77) and Filip Salac (Redox PruestelGP) on row ten. Tom Booth-Amos (CIP Green Power) will line up at the back of the grid in thirty-first.

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