Bezzecchi blitzes Buriram qualifying to take pole

Italian is joined by Masia and Masaki on the front row with Championship leader Martin down in P13

Marco Bezzecchi (Redox PruestelGP) will start Sunday’s Moto3™ race from pole position at the PTT Thailand Grand Prix after blitzing the final lap dash, going 0.462 faster than second place Jaume Masia (Bester Capital Dubai), with Kazuki Masaki (RBA BOE Skull Rider) completing the front row of the grid.

It was the latter who sat on provisional pole with less than ten minutes to go in the session before the lightweight class field headed back out for a phenomenal one lap shoot out in Thailand. Bezzecchi was fourth as he started his final lap, but it soon became clear that the KTM rider wouldn’t be staying there. The Italian set the timing screens alight and despite hitting traffic in the final sector, the man second in the Championship was able to fire in a 1:42.235 – nearly half a second quicker than anyone else.

Shortly after, Masia was able to propel himself into the middle of the front row – P2 for the second consecutive race for the Spaniard, with Masaki improving his time on the final lap to earn his best qualifying result of the season in third. Tony Arbolino (Marinelli Snipers Team) converted P4 in FP3 into P4 in qualifying, this the Italian’s best Saturday afternoon result since his Argentina pole – 0.004 off the front row. Niccolo Antonelli (SIC58 Squadra Corse) will start P5 in Thailand, his best qualifying result since Jerez, as Darryn Binder (Red Bull KTM Ajo) secured his first top ten grid slot of the season – a much needed P6 for the South African after a great final lap.

Nicolo Bulega (SKY Racing Team VR46) had to settle for P7 after sitting in provisional P2 before the last lap dash, with compatriot Enea Bastianini (Leopard Racing) qualifying eighth. However, the Italian tucked the front at the final corner in a gaggle of riders just as he was about to take the chequered flag. He was collected by the helpless Somkiat Chantra (AP Honda Racing Thailand) and despite initially getting back to his feet immediately, Bastianini then had to be carried off on a stretcher as he headed to the medical centre for a checkup.

Fabio Di Giannantonio (Del Conca Gresini Moto3) set the quickest time in FP3 in the morning, but the Italian will have to launch an attack at the podium from P9 on the grid, just ahead of Misano race winner Lorenzo Dalla Porta (Leopard Racing), who rounds out the top ten. Championship leader Jorge Martin (Del Conca Gresini Moto3), after setting the second quickest time of the session, visited the medical centre midway through qualifying after suffering with no feeling in his injured left hand. Sporting heavy bandaging, the Spaniard did come back out for one flying lap as the clock ticked down, but he could only manage P13 despite improving his time – advantage Bezzecchi heading into Sunday.

Make sure you tune into what promises to be another spectacular lightweight class race of 2018, as the Moto3™ field get the racing underway in Buriram at 11:00 local time (GMT +7). Can Bezzecchi claw back points on Martin?

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