Ivan Ortola for the Angeluss MTA Team takes his first career pole position today in Moto3 at the Catalunya circuit. Ortola takes pole position right at the end of the session with Deniz Öncü in 2nd and Joel Kelso rounding off the front row in 3rd.
It's a first-ever POLE position for @IvanOrtola48! 🔥
— MotoGP™🏁 (@MotoGP) September 2, 2023
AS IT HAPPENED
There were some big names in the first round of qualifying, including championship leader Daniel Holgado along with Xavi Artigas and Diogo Moreira. Holgado will be keen to make the top 4 to progress into Qualifying 2.
Both CFMOTO Racing riders, Artigas and Kelso, were posting the quickest times early on in the session.
The rest of the field were now coming across the line but it was still Holgado topping the timesheets with Moreira in 2nd, David Salvador in 3rd and David Munoz making up the top 4 heading to Q2.
There was lots of gesturing and head shaking from riders in this Q1 session – they were clearly frustrated as every rider is keen to be bunched up, looking for any extra tenth of a second getting by finding a tow around this circuit. There was a common theme of just follow Holgado around the circuit emerging in Q1, with everyone hoping to be dragged into Q2.
Moreira was the surprise rider to be knocked out at the end of the session, as he was beaten by Scott Ogden. Moreira thought he’d done enough to get through at the end of the session but that wasn’t the case. This weekend, Moreira is sporting an Ayrton Senna themed helmet but I don’t think this is a qualifying session Ayrton Senna would have written home about.
Holgado eventually topped the session with Kelso, Taiyo Furusato and Ogden also progressing into Q2.
Into Q2 we go – Can Collin Veijer take back-to-back pole positions in Barcelona, with the Dutchman on a superb run of form lately? Veijer had set the fastest time in FP3 this morning.
Holgado took the pace he found in Q1 quickly into Q2, setting the fastest time for the rest of the field to chase early in the session. Masia ran into traffic and had to bail on his first flying lap.
Usual suspects of Ayumu Sasaki and Öncü topped the leader board as the session progressed, with 9 minutes remaining. Öncü with the quickest time set of 1:49.326, and on provisional pole.
Sector 2 then lit up in yellow flags as Veijer suffered a high side crash on the exit of turn 5. Veijer seems ok though and was thankfully quickly back up onto the bike, as Öncü manages to avoid the crash.
😮 @Denizoncu53 wasn't expecting that!
— MotoGP™🏁 (@MotoGP) September 2, 2023
Masia then got his first flying lap in and took over at the top of the leader board. Masia was frustrated by the riders behind who were hounding him to get a tow.
With 6 minutes left of the session, there was still time for a few flying laps and pole position was still very much up for grabs. The riders were now heading back to the pits to make any last minute adjustments before heading back out to fight to pole position.
Less than 3 minutes were on the clock when all of the riders were heading out for their 2nd run. As the chequered flag fell, all of the riders on track just had one last shot at taking pole position. Championship leader Holgado leads the pack into turn 1.
With fastest sectors lighting up for several riders, the pack made their way round on the final flying lap. Coming into sector 3 we had Holgado, Ortola, Öncü and Masia all on flying laps and chasing pole position.
As the bunch came round the final two corners the lap times came thick and fast, with Ivan Ortola taking pole position from Öncü and Kelso also managing to get onto the front row by taking 3rd.
It’s the third time in the last four Grand Prix we’ve seen maiden pole positions in Moto3. I’m sure Öncü will be looking for back-to-back victories when he starts on the front row tomorrow. Holgado also will be looking to make up as much ground as possible, starting from the middle of row 4 tomorrow. Can Masia bring himself back into the championship fight with a win? With the starting grid as it is for tomorrow, Moto3 is all set for another crazy Grand Prix.
Feature Image Credit: MotoGP