Martin storms to Spanish GP pole

The Championship leader looked in formidable form, with Oettl and Di Giannantonio also on the front row

Jorge Martin (Del Conca Gresini Moto3) grabbed his 11th career pole position on Saturday at the Gran Premio Red Bull de España, with Philipp Oettl (Südmetall Schedl GP Racing) in second - earning his first front row since Qatar last year. Martin’s fellow Del Conca Gresini rider Fabio Di Giannantonio jumped up to third on his final run after some last-minute front-end changes; his first front row start of the season.

The session started with a huge crash for Darryn Binder (Red Bull KTM Ajo) at Turn 4 after colliding with the back of Livio Loi (Reale Avintia Academy) on the exit of the corner. Unfortunately, the South African dislocated his left shoulder and will miss tomorrow's 22 lap race, declared unfit.

There was plenty of cat and mouse action going on throughout the session, with Martin initially coming back into the pits to escape the melee of riders. The Spaniard didn’t have it all his own way during the session though, with Oettl setting a scorching pace to go 0.531 seconds clear of the rest with 20 minutes left on the clock. However, with just over 10 minutes to go, Martin pounced – setting a 1:46.193 to go 0.153 seconds clear of the German.

Niccolo Antonelli (SIC58 Squadra Corse), meanwhile, was up at the sharp end again in qualifying, he’ll spearhead the second row in P4. His compatriot Marco Bezzecchi (Redox PruestelGP) continues his great start to 2018 in fifth, with Angel Nieto Team Moto3 rider Andrea Migno making it an all-Italian second row in P6.

The fastest rookie in Jerez qualifying was Alonso Lopez (Estrella Galicia 0,0), with P7 his best grid position so far this year and his previous form at the venue in the Moto3™ Junior World Championship coming to the fore. Enea Bastianini (Leopard Racing) lines up eighth for Sunday’s race, with teammate Lorenzo Dalla Porta rounding out the third row. Tatsuki Suzuki (SIC58 Squadra Corse) was the leading Japanese rider in P10, with fellow countryman Kaito Toba (Honda Team Asia) a solid 11th and SKY Racing Team VR46 rookie Dennis Foggia in 12th.

Makar Yurchenko (CIP – Green Power), despite a late crash, was able to qualify P13 after a good afternoon’s work for the rookie and some much improved form this weekend, with reiging Red Bull Rookies MotoGP Cup Champion Kazuki Masaki (RBA BOE Skull Rider) a slender 0.002 back in P14.

One of the biggest headlines was Aron Canet (Estrella Galicia 0,0) qualifying in 15th, the Spaniard with a huge task ahead of him on Sunday.

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