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Kent juggernaut rolls on at #ItalianGP

Kent juggernaut rolls on at #ItalianGP

Danny Kent claimed his second Moto3™ pole position of the year, and his first-ever front row start at Mugello, in dominant fashion.

The Gran Premio d’Italia TIM has so far seen almost ideal conditions, resulting in lap records being broken in all three classes. Prior to this weekend the Moto3™ lap record stood at 1’57.633, however this would not last. Already in FP3 Fabio Quartararo and Miguel Oliveira went under the record and a close fight for pole looked certain.

With the long straight at Mugello the slipstream out of the final corner is vital, as Fenati demonstrated last year when he used it to go from third to take victory in the Moto3™ race. The slipstream offers an advantage to many, but for the top riders it can be a hindrance, as other riders lap slowly in an attempt to follow and improve their grid position.

Danny Kent did not require the aid of a slipstream to set his stunning lap of 1’56.615, the fastest ever Moto3™ lap around Mugello and the first sub 1’57 time. When he initially set this lap it put him 0.7s clear of Fenati, a large gap in any class but especially in Moto3™ where machines and riders are so closely matched. The Brit last claimed pole in Austin where he went on to take one of the most dominant Moto3™ victories to date, appearing untouchable for much of the race. “This weekend we decided not to make the race hard for ourselves by getting a good qualifying. It’s going to be a big group in the race but if you come out of the last corner leading you can end maybe fifth or sixth so it’ll be tough,” reflected Kent.

Despite the difference in time, Romano Fenati will no doubt be a threat come race day. The SKY Racing Team VR46 rider starts from the front row for just the second time in his career. Fenati, like many other Italian riders such as Enea Bastianini and Valentino Rossi, has proven himself capable of fighting through the field, starting third should give Fenati the boost he needs to stick with and battle Kent, providing the home fans with an exciting race. On his front row, Fenati reflected: “We put a new tyre in the second run to avoid traffic in the last run. I’m happy with this because we improved our feeling through the season and the day. The team has made a good job.”

Perhaps the biggest surprise of Qualifying was Kent’s teammate Hiroki Ono who qualified second, the only other rider into the 1’56s.  Ono used the slipstream to perfection to claim his career first front row start, his previous best grid position being eighth which he achieved in Argentina earlier this year. Efren Vazquez, the third Leopard Racing rider, starts from 15th. “I crashed this morning but no major issues this weekend. Tomorrow we are trying to get the podium. It’ll be a hard race but I’ll be pushing,” beamed an enthusiastic Ono.

The Red Bull KTM Ajo team flew around the track in formation to try to maximise the benefit of the slipstream and it was Karel Hanika who gained the most from this. The Czech rider starts from fourth on tomorrow’s grid, his best ever Qualifying in Moto3™ and a drastic change in fortunes after having to start from pit lane in Le Mans. Teammates Miguel Oliveira and Brad Binder start in 11th and 12th respectively. Oliveira suffered from having his best lap time cancelled due to exceeding the track limits.

Enea Bastianini will be another to watch ahead of tomorrow’s race as the Italian starts from seventh on the grid. Last year’s race saw him fighting for the podium before being caught up in an incident with Alex Marquez and Jack Miller that resulted in the trio crashing out.

The 2014 Mugello race saw the top three in Moto3™ split by just 0.011 seconds, the closest grand prix podium of all time. Fans and riders can expect another close battle come Sunday at the fast and flowing Italian track.

Fabio Quartararo crashed while on his fastest lap, prematurely ending his Qualifying session, and he will have to start from 13th tomorrow. The French rookie has been able to learn Mugello quickly and could be a podium threat if he can latch on to the leading group.

Check out the full Moto3™ Qualifying results, the 20-lap race is due to start at 11:00am local time in Mugello on Sunday.

Moto3, 2015, GRAN PREMIO D'ITALIA TIM, QP, Danny Kent, Romano Fenati, Hiroki Ono, SKY Racing Team VR46, Leopard Racing

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