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Cortese nips first Moto3™ pole of season

Cortese nips first Moto3™ pole of season

Sandro Cortese will start the first ever Moto3™ race from pole position in Sunday's Commercialbank Grand Prix of Qatar after just beating Maverick Viñales to top spot in qualifying on Saturday. Frenchman Louis Rossi will complete the front row for the season opener.

Sandro Cortese (Red Bull KTM Ajo) took the first ever Moto3™ pole position for Sunday's Commercialbank Grand Prix of Qatar after posting the fastest lap at the very end of Saturday's qualifying session. The German rider's final effort of 2'08.188 was enough to seal prime position on the grid by a margin of just 0.016s ahead of Maverick Viñales (Blusens Avintia).

Spanish rider Viñales – whose top time from FP2 was faster than Cortese's pole – looked set to take first position on the timesheet with his time of 2'08.204 until Cortese's late salvo, with Louis Rossi (Racing Team Germany) completing the front row following a strong session.

Luis Salom (RW Racing GP) led the session towards the end but eventually had to settle for fourth position, and the Spaniard will be joined on the second row by Niklas Ajo (TT Motion Events Racing) and rookie Romano Fenati (Team Italia FMI).

Starting the season-opening race from the third row will be Zulfahmi Khairuddin (Airasia-SIC-Ajo), Miguel Oliveira (Estrella Galicia 0'0) and another debutant Arthur Sissis (Red Bull KTM Ajo).

British rider Danny Kent (Red Bull KTM Ajo) ended the session 12th fastest and will therefore begin from row four, whilst compatriot Danny Webb was 25th quickest on the Mahindra Racing machine. Italian Simone Grotzkyj (Ambrogio Next Racing) had a crash with 10 minutes of the session left, and qualified in 29th.

The Moto3 riders will be back on track at 9.20pm local time on Saturday evening for their 20-minute warm up session prior to Sunday's race.


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