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For the first time since Youichi Ui started from pole in the 125cc class at the 2003 South African GP, there will again be a Japanese rider start from pole in the lightweight class thanks to Petronas Sprinta Racing’s Ayumu Sasaki taking top spot at the HJC Helmets Motorrad Grand Prix Deutschland.
It gets better for Japanese fans though because, thanks to Honda Team Asia’s Kaito Toba, Sunday’s German Grand Prix will start with Japanese riders first and second on the grid 18 years on from the last time it happened, the 2001 South African GP thanks to Youichi Ui and Nobby Ueda.
Joining the Japanese riders on the front row of the grid will be Spanish GP winner Marcos Ramirez (Leopard Racing) after the Spaniard failed to match his fastest-ever Sachsenring lap in FP3 earlier in the day. Leopard Racing enjoyed a strong session with Lorenzo Dalla Porta, teammate to Ramirez, ending up just a place further back in fourth on the grid.
VNE Snipers’ Romano Fenati salvaged fifth, matching his best qualifying performance since returning to the Moto3™ class, after having his lap time cancelled halfway through the session despite jumping to the top of the timesheets. Fresh from a podium in Assen, Redox PrüstelGP’s Jakub Kornfeil completes the second row of the grid, just under half a second adrift of Sasaki, after progressing through from the earlier Q1 session.
Albert Arenas (Sama Qatar Angel Nieto) will front row three of the grid ahead of Dennis Foggia (SKY Racing Team VR46), another man to move through from Q1, and Gabriel Rodrigo (Kömmerling Gresini Moto3). Petronas Sprinta Racing’s John McPhee clinched the final Q1 spot before then going on to complete the top ten and subsequently earning himself the front grid slot on row four.
Missing from Q2 were two big names: this year’s only double race winner, Tony Arbolino (VNE Snipers) and World Championship leader, Aron Canet (Sterilgarda Max Racing Team). Arbolino was shuffled out of the top four in Q1 with the chequered flag already out meaning he will start Sunday’s race from 19th on the grid, whereas Canet got his tactics all wrong and paid the price.
The Spaniard exited pitlane for his second and final time attack too late and missed the chance at setting another flying lap meaning he will start from the eighth row of the grid in 22nd, his worst qualifying performance since 2016.
Moto3™ top ten:
1. Ayumu Sasaki (Petronas Sprinta Racing) – 1:26.135
2. Kaito Toba (Honda Team Asia) + 0.057
3. Marcos Ramirez (Leopard Racing) + 0.171
4. Lorenzo Dalla Porta (Leopard Racing) + 0.325
5. Romano Fenati (VNE Snipers) + 0.357
6. Jakub Kornfeil (Redox PrüstelGP) + 0.453
7. Albert Arenas (Sama Qatar Angel Nieto Team) + 0.551
8. Dennis Foggia (SKY Racing Team VR46) + 0.594
9. Gabriel Rodrigo (Kömmerling Gresini Moto3) + 0.671
10. John McPhee (Petronas Sprinta Racing) + 0.718
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