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Kent charges to maiden pole in Motegi

Kent charges to maiden pole in Motegi

In a typically exciting Moto3™ qualifying session at the AirAsia Grand Prix of Japan in Motegi it was Red Bull KTM Ajo’s Danny Kent who charged to his maiden pole position ahead of Maverick Viñales and Sandro Cortese.

Kent looked in ominous form throughout the session, yet left it until the dying seconds to get his head down and take a dominant first-ever Grand Prix pole position with a time of 1.58’371, beating Blusens Avintia’s Maverick Viñales by over two tenths. The Spaniard also looked strong out on track, as he looked to be benefiting from his recent engine upgrade. Kent’s championship leading teammate Cortese could not improve on his time in his final lap, yet maintained a front row start.

Heading the second row is AirAsia-SIC-Ajo’s Zulfahmi Khairuddin, who will be disappointed at missing out on the front row, after having shown top-three form in the preceding sessions. Team Italia FMI’s Alessandro Tonucci put in one of his best qualifying performances of the season in fifth, while RW Racing GP’s Luis Salom looked far from happy as he ended up in sixth.

Seventh spot on the grid went to Mapfre Aspar Team Moto3’s Jonas Folger, who twice had to stop with a mechanical fault, the first being attributed to a problem with the bike’s fuel tank breather hose. This grid position is particularly impressive, considering the lack of track time the German had throughout the session. Racing Team Germany’s Louis Rossi lines up next to him in eighth, while JHK t-shirt Laglisse’s Efrén Vázquez rounds out the third row.

Another rider who suffered bike problems was Team Italia FMI’s Romano Fenati, who had to wait in the pits a while for his clutch to be changed. And despite not looking entirely comfortable out on track, the young Italian managed to fight his way into tenth spot. There was only one crasher in the session in the form of TT Motion Events Racing’s Niklas Ajo, who walked away unhurt and was able to re-join the session.


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