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12 days ago
By motogp.com

Fernandez profits from pitlane dawdling to take debut pole

Nearly all of the Moto3™ field only put one flying lap in, meaning Fernandez benefited and took a debut pole position

Red Bull KTM Ajo's Raul Fernandez was the main man to benefit from some Moto3™ gameplaying at the Monster Energy Czech Republic Grand Prix as the Spaniard's only flying lap of the session was good enough for him to clinch a debut pole position. He'll be joined on the front row for Sunday's Round 4 of the lightweight title chase by Kömmerling Gresini Moto3's Gabriel Rodrigo and SIC58 Squadra Corse's Tatsuki Suzuki, who lost his perfect pole record in 2020.

The 15-minute Q2 session ended in bizarre circumstances when everybody waited and waited in pitlane before only two minutes were left in the session. It meant any chance of putting in a final flying lap had disappeared, solely because of the lightweight class field were all waiting for a tow, and what is usually a frantic ending to Moto3™ qualifying instead petered out. Afterwards, Red Bull KTM Ajo boss Aki Ajo shared his frustration at the tactics deployed by the field whilst speaking with MotoGP™ pitlane reporter Simon Crafar, despite his own rider taking top spot.

It means Fernandez will line-up alongside Rodrigo and Suzuki on the front row, with Honda Team Asia's Ai Ogura fronting the second row of the grid. Leopard Racing's Dennis Foggia and Kömmerling Gresini Moto3's Jeremy Alcoba complete row two, with the top six riders seperated by half a second. World Championship leader Albert Arenas' frustration was clear at missing a final shot at pole position, but the last time the Spaniard fronted row three he went on to win the Spanish Grand Prix.

Having ended Q1 fastest moments earlier, Rivacold Snipers Team's Tony Arbolino bagged eighth on the grid,  just ahead of fellow Italian Romano Fenati (Sterilgarda Max Racing Team). Rookie Yuki Kunii (Honda Team Asia) enjoyed his best qualifying of his young career by taking tenth, and the Japanese youngster will be joined on row four by Andrea Migno (SKY Racing Team VR46) and Niccolo Antonelli (SIC58 Squadra Corse).

Scotland's John McPhee will have it all to do on Sunday from 18th on the grid after the Petrona Sprinta Racing man highsided out of Turn 9 during his first flying lap of the session. Lights will go out on Round 3 of the Moto3™ World Championship at 11:00 local time (GMT+2) on Sunday and with some pent up frsutration following the conclusion to qualifying it is not be missed.

Top 10:
 1. Raul Fernandez (Red Bull KTM Ajo) – 2:08.372
 2. Gabriel Rodrigo (Kömmerling Gresini Moto3) + 0.211
 3. Tatsuki Suzuki (SIC58 Squadra Corse) + 0.336
 4. Ai Ogura (Honda Team Asia) + 0.401
 5. Dennis Foggia (Leopard Racing) + 0.429
 6. Jeremy Alcoba (Kömmerling Gresini Moto3) + 0.492
 7. Albert Arenas (Gaviota Aspar Team) + 0.597
 8. Tony Arbolino (Rivacold Snipers Team) + 0.689
 9. Romano Fenati (Sterilgarda Max Racing Team) + 0.833
 10. Yuki Kunii (Honda Team Asia) + 1.042

Round 4: Moto3™ Q2 at the Czech Republic Grand Prix

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