Oliveira seals pole for Mahindra Racing

oliveira moto3 assen qp
Friday, 28 June 2013

Miguel Oliveira has earned the first Moto3™ pole position for Mahindra Racing, having set an identical Assen lap time with Estrella Galicia 0,0’s Alex Marquez. Maverick Viñales will start on the front row for Team Calvo, whereas championship leader Luis Salom held pole until retiring from the session with four minutes to go.

A threat of rain saw the majority of riders streaming out of the pits in the opening moments with the sole aim of posting competitive dry weather lap times. No showers would come during the session, which resulted in a quiet patch before track activity increased for the final efforts in the closing 15 minutes of the session.

Championship leader Salom (Red Bull KTM Ajo) looked to have sealed the top spot, but ran off-track and was unable to restart his KTM. His rivals proceeded to push hard and just thousandths of a second separated those filling places two to five. Oliveira delivered 1’43.588 before Marquez matched it just seconds later; when the second lap times were taken into account, the former became the first Portuguese rider in history to achieve pole in any of the three classes.

Salom will start fourth and one position behind Viñales, who is his closest title rival, whereas Marquez’s teammate Alex Rins and Mapfre Aspar Team Moto3’s Jonas Folger complete Row 2; incidentally, the German saw one lap being removed for exceeding track limits. On the sidelines, Red Bull KTM Ajo’s Zulfahmi Khairuddin did not take part in qualifying as he headed to hospital for a CT scan after suffering concussion in a crash during the final practice session.

The Mahindra pole position is the second for the Indian marque, with the first having come courtesy of Danny Webb at the final ever 125 race in Valencia two seasons ago. Saturday’s Moto3™ Iveco TT Assen begins at 12pm local time (GMT +2).

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