Moto3: Incredible India Pole for Masia

Image Credit: Leopard Racing

Jaume Masia was on fire on the brand new rain soaked Buddh International Circuit. The Spaniard took his 4th pole position of the season and the Leopard Racing team rider was unstoppable today in qualifying.

The championship in Moto3 this year is as hot as the hottest Indian cuisine. Just 29 points cover the top 6 riders battling it out to be crowned champion this year. With championship leader Daniel Holgado and David Alonso starting on row 6 and with Öncü starting at the back of the grid tomorrow.  It’s all set for another crazy race in Moto3. 

Image Credit: Leopard Racing Team

AS IT HAPPENED

Qualifying 1

Both Öncü and Holgado were the surprise names in the Q1 session. After receiving a black flag in practice, Öncü regardless of where he qualified would have to serve a long lap penalty and start at the back of the grid in the race tomorrow.

As the riders came across the line and posted the first set of flying laps, Kaito Toba topped the timings with a with 2:00.225. With a time of 1:59 set in the practice sessions, it wouldn’t be long before that time was beaten at the top.

Öncü with 8mins left of the session came through to top the timings with Holgado quickly to follow, currently up to 2nd and into the top 4 heading through to Q2.

The first set of times completed for the riders and we had a top 4 heading into Q2 of Öncü, Holgado, Scott Ogden and Toba.

Pretty much all of the riders peeled off into the puts for a quick stop to make any changes needed for the final run of the session, Öncü opted to stay out on track with dark clouds rapidly approaching the circuit.

Staying out for Öncü paid off and he continued to improve his time at the top and set the benchmark time to beat with a blistering 1:59.070. The fastest lap of the weekend so far in Moto3 here in India. As the dark clouds descended onto the track, an angry Öncü was clearly unstoppable in Q1.

The riders came through for the final flying laps of the session and Tatsuki Suzuki was unable to set a valid lap in the qualifying session. Disaster for the Leopard Racing team rider. Öncü topped the session followed by Holgado 2nd, Ryusei Yamanaka 3rd and Ogden 4th.

A big shock was announced at the end of the session as Holgado’s lap time was cancelled by the stewards for exceeding the track limits. The championship leader will not be taking part in the Q2 session.

Just as the Q1 session ended, the heavens opened and the session was delayed due to the weather conditions.

Qualifying 2

With the standing water now cleared and track now free of rainfall, the riders headed out of the pits for the 15-minute fight for pole position. With the championship as tight as it is, this qualifying session was vital on a rain-soaked circuit in India.

As the riders now come through with the first attempts at pole position, Masia  topped the timings with Taiyo Furusato 2nd and Diogo Moreira 3rd. The time set of 2:14.515 was over 14 seconds slower than Öncü’s time set in Q1.

As the riders got a feel for the grip and confidence growing the lap times would continue to tumble and we were set for a last lap shootout.

Masia then improved to a 2:11.985 already a few seconds quicker on his next lap compared to the lap time set only a few minutes before.

With 6 minutes left of the session, Masia lit up the sectors red through the first two sectors. Furusato replaced Masia at the top only for a few seconds as Bertelle now went top of the timings. Masia took charge and back to the top of the pile +0.465 seconds quicker to Bertelle in 2nd.

With 4 minutes left of the session, Masia was getting quicker and quicker as through sector 2 was already -0.862 tenths up on his current provisional pole lap time.

As Scott Ogden went up to 2nd, Masia improved to a time of 2:10.033. With Öncü at the back of the grid regardless tomorrow, its clear the team have told Öncü to just come back in one piece with Öncü currently 10th in the session.

As Ayumu Sasaki came through up into 3rd, Yamanaka lit up the flags in sector 1 crashing out at turn 1. Yamanaka was okay and picked up his Aspar GASGAS bike from the gravel.

Last flying laps in Q2 and Masia was on fire. Already under half a second faster than his already provisional pole time. Bertelle came through up into 2nd as Masia took his 4th pole position of the year. 7 tenths clear of his nearest rival in Bertelle 2nd and Sasaki rounding off the front row in 3rd.

A fantastic qualifying session for Leopard Racing’s Masia and Masia will be gunning for victory tomorrow with title rivals Holgado and Öncü way down the order on the grid.

Official Starting Grid

Image Credit: MotoGP

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