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Fenati snatches first lightweight class pole of 2016

Fenati snatches first lightweight class pole of 2016

High winds saw riders unable to improve on the fastest times of the weekend in Qualifying as Fenati takes pole from Loi and Binder.

With conditions slightly warmer than previous days and a high wind, the Moto3™ World Championship headed out for their first Qualifying session of 2016. Livio Loi (RW Racing GP BV) was the rider to beat heading into the session with the provisionally fastest time of the weekend, a 2’05.832 set on Thursday.

Ahead of the session it was announced that both Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Ajo) and Bo Bendsneyder (Red Bull KTM Ajo) were handed a three-place grid penalty for riding slowly in three sectors in excess of the 110% limit of their fastest sector times in Free Practice 3.

Riders were out for a slipstream, a tow down the 1,068-meter long straight worth over half a second, an eternity in Moto3™. As a result formation flying between teammates was a common sight throughout the session.

A lap in the dying seconds rocketed Romano Fenati (Sky Racing Team VR46) to pole position, just the second pole of his long career in the lightweight class. His first came at the Japanese GP in 2015, where he went on to finish 28th. The young Italian set a 2’06.131 to end 0.047s ahead of Loi.

Loi had been in control of the session until Fenati’s lap but the Belgian remains pleased with his second place start, having never started on the front row before. His time from the opening day of practice still remains as the fastest time of the weekend and he knows there is more to come on race day.

Completing the front row was Brad Binder, the South African setting a 2’06.245 but due to his penalty he will start sixth. This promoted Fabio Quartararo (Leopard Racing) to the front row of the grid for Sunday’s Commercial Bank Grand Prix of Qatar.

In turn Jorge Navarro (Estrella Galicia 0,0) moves to fourth and heads the second row.

Aron Canet (Estrella Galicia 0,0), Brad Binder, Niccolo Antonelli (Ongetta-Rivacold), Enea Bastianini (Gresini Racing Moto3), Philipp Oettl (Schedl GP Racing) and Joan Mir (Leopard Racing) rounded out the top ten. In classic Moto3™ style, the top 19 riders were split by under a second and there's little indication that Sunday's race will be anything other than a battle of bravery and wits.

Rookie Bendsneyder had been eighth but like his teammate Binder, was demoted three places.

There was a fall mid session for Niccolo Antonelli at Turn 13, his third crash of the weekend. This was quickly followed by Jorge Navarro (Estrella Galicia 0,0) going down at Turn 6 and Lorenzo Petrarca (3570 Team Italia) falling at Turn 14. Joan Mir also fell after setting his fastest time. All riders were unhurt.

Racing begins at 18:00 Local Time on Sunday the 20th, the Moto3™ riders doing battle over 18 laps of the Qatar International Circuit.

Full Qualifying results can be viewed here.

Moto3, 2016, COMMERCIAL BANK GRAND PRIX OF QATAR, QP, Livio Loi, Brad Binder, Romano Fenati, RW Racing GP BV, SKY Racing Team VR46, Red Bull KTM Ajo

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