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Salom earns third pole of 2013

Moto3™ championship leader Luis Salom has clinched pole position for the Shell Advance Malaysian Motorcycle Grand Prix, his third of the season. Alexis Masbou and Niccolo Antonelli shone for front row placings, while title contenders Alex Rins and Maverick Viñales qualified sixth and ninth, respectively.

Having been seemingly off the pace at Sepang on Friday, Salom (Red Bull KTM Ajo) sent out a warning to rivals by topping the final practice session on Saturday morning. He went on to clinch his first pole for almost four months courtesy of a leading lap time of 2’13.867. The Mallorcan now targets a first victory since Silverstone.

The standout performers were arguably France’s Masbou and Italy’s Antonelli, riding FTR Hondas for their respective Ongetta-Rivacold and GO&FUN Gresini Moto3 outfits. Second place marks Masbou’s best ever World Championship qualifying result, while Antonelli’s first front row slot of the season equals a career best.

Miguel Oliveira will start fourth for Mahindra Racing, ahead of Estrella Galicia 0,0 duo Alex Marquez and Alex Rins, with Rins having won the last two races and heading into this event only nine points behind championship leader and pole-sitter Salom. Caretta Technology – RTG’s Jack Miller and Mahindra’s Efren Vazquez will head Row 3 from Team Calvo’s Viñales.

Viñales - who has demonstrated tremendous consistency so far this year - is currently third in the standings and only 12 points in arrears of Salom, but finds himself ninth on the grid after qualifying seven tenths of a second slower. The top ten was completed by Mapfre Aspar Team Moto3’s Jonas Folger, while local favourite Zulfahmi Khairuddin managed 14th for Red Bull KTM Ajo despite having undergone surgery only last week in order to assist a fractured right wrist.

Also suffering a fractured right wrist, due to separate incidents in this morning’s respective final practice and qualifying sessions, were Kiefer Racing’s Florian Alt and La Fonte Tascaracing’s Alessandro Tonucci; as a result, neither will take any further part in the event. At the end of Qualifying, there was a crash for Ambrogio Racing’s Brad Binder who will start 23rd on the grid.

Sunday’s race begins at 1pm local time (GMT +8).

Tags:
Moto3, 2013, QP

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