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Quartararo fulfils potential to take maiden Moto3™ pole

Quartararo fulfils potential to take maiden Moto3™ pole

Fabio Quartararo converted his knowledge of the Jerez track to a career first Moto3™ pole position in the World Championship.

At 16 years and 12 days, Fabio Quartararo becomes the second youngest rider to claim a World Championship pole position, behind Marco Melandri who was 15 years and 345 days old. The Estrella Galicia 0,0 rider has shown considerable pace in the opening three rounds of the 2015 season, despite having never raced at those circuits before. Having won two FIM CEV Repsol Championships the French rookie has considerable experience around the Circuito de Jerez and demonstrated this with a 1’46.791 to claim pole.

The afternoon session was once again warmer than the morning, with a recorded track temperature of 44°C which saw several slides from Quartararo on his Honda Moto3™ machine. Quartararo’s race pace looked steady at the 1’48.8 mark throughout most of FP3. “It was really difficult to make a good time and hard to find a good setting for this condition but we’re really happy with pole position,” said Quartararo.

Qualifying was a frustrating affair for Danny Kent who found himself hindered by other riders multiple times, while on a fast lap. Towards the end of the session Kent left the pits alongside Romano Fenati and slowed to force the Italian ahead so he would not benefit from the Brit’s slipstream. Despite this Kent was forced to sit up and wait again for a clear track, leaving him with just one opportunity for a flying lap. His first two sectors were both quicker than Quartararo but he encountered Zulfahmi Khairuddin on track, forcing him slow. “We put ourselves in a good position for the race, just like in Argentina. I’m not worried as we have a good feeling with the bike,” said a somewhat frustrated Kent.

Miguel Oliveira rounds out the front row, also able to dip into the 1’46s along with Quartararo and Kent. This is the KTM’s rider third consecutive front row start as he searches for a first podium of the year. “Honestly, there wasn’t much strategy for today because of the hot conditions. I was lucky to set a quick lap during the middle of the session which helped me relax for the final exit,” said Oliveira.

It was an overall positive day for the Red Bull KTM Ajo squad as both Brad Binder and Karel Hanika managed to qualify on the second row in fourth and sixth respectively. This is the first time Binder has qualified inside the top ten this year and the second time Hanika has started from sixth. It was not a flawless session however, as Hanika suffered a large highside towards the end of the session.

One of the biggest surprises of the weekend has been Philipp Oettl. The German rider and his Schedl GP Racing team switched from the Kalex-KTM to a full KTM machine this year, and despite a tricky start to the season, seems to have found something with the bike. He starts fifth on the grid for Sunday’s race, his best Qualifying since he was fourth at Aragon in 2013. As we saw with Hanika in Argentina, one solid weekend can provide a big confidence boost to the young Moto3™ riders and kick start their season.

John McPhee has had a tough weekend with clutch problems limiting his track time on the opening day. He has struggled for feeling with Honda in the hotter conditions causing the track to feel greasy, and will start the race from 25th on the grid.

It was an unusual end to the qualifying session for Stefano Manzi and Miguel Oliveira, as Manzi collided with the back of a stationary Oliveira while not paying attention. Manzi landed on the tail unit of the KTM and both riders were fortunately unhurt.

Check out the full Moto3™ Qualifying results and grid positions for Sundays race, which is due to start at 11:00 local time.

Moto3, 2015, GRAN PREMIO bwin DE ESPAÑA, QP, Danny Kent, Fabio Quartararo, Miguel Oliveira, Red Bull KTM Ajo, Leopard Racing, Estrella Galicia 0,0

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