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12 days ago
By motogp.com

Ogura pulls off magic last sector to steal debut Moto3™ pole

The Japanese rider was over a tenth down as he entered the final sector but conjured up something special to take a last-gasp pole

Honda Team Asia's Ai Ogura was forced to dig deep in the final sector of the Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli to steal a last-gasp pole position at the Lenovo San Marino and Rimini Riviera Grand Prix; a career-first for the Japanese star in the lightweight class. He will front the grid for Sunday's 150th Moto3™ Grand Prix, with Gabriel Rodrigo (Kömmerling Gresini Moto3) and Tatsuki Suzuki (SIC58 Squadra Corse) joining him on the front row.

In a typically manic lightweight class Q2 session, all eyes were on Rodrigo with the chequered flag out as the Argentinian looked set to secure back-to-back pole positions. Over a tenth adrift as he entered the final sector, nobody gave the 19-year-old from Tokyo a chance at taking pole position but he conjured up something quite remarkable in the final sector. He was the last man to come across the line, having only just snuck through before the chequered flag, but, more importantly, he was the fastest man around Misano too.

Rodrigo was forced to settle for second, the South American's fourth front row start of 2020 as he tries to finally convert it into a first rostrum of the year. Suzuki, poleman twelve months ago, will be gunning for back-to-back Misano victories from the outside of the front row after he slipped back from provisional pole with three minutes remaining.

SKY Racing Team VR46's Andrea Migno will front the second row of the grid after a late charge of his own, and will be joined there by Romano Fenati (Sterilgarda Max Racing Team). The experienced Italian claimed his best qualifying since Austria 2019 thanks to moving out of Q1 and then taking full advantage of a useful slipstream from Migno's SKY Racing Team VR46 teammate Celestino Vietti.

Friday's pacesetter Raul Fernandez (Red Bull KTM Ajo) will line-up on the outside of row two after leaving it too close for comfort when it comes to setting a valid lap. The Spaniard's first two flying laps of the session were cancelled for exceeding track limits but eventually put a valid lap in, good enough to take sixth.

Vietti will start seventh on the grid and will be on row three alongside Jeremy Alcoba (Kömmerling Gresini Moto3) and Tony Arbolino (Rivacold Snipers Team). World Championship leader Albert Arenas (Pull&Bear Aspar Team Moto3) will have to defend his title lead from 13th on the grid, meanwhile, after only setting one final lap in Q2.

Moto3™ always delivers and with qualifying delivering some late drama, we're surely going to be in for more of the same during Sunday's Round 7 of the lightweight class World Championship. Lights go out at 11:00 local time (GMT+2)!

Top 10:
 1. Ai Ogura (Honda Team Asia) – 1:42.403
 2. Gabriel Rodrigo (Kömmerling Gresini Moto3) + 0.016
 3. Tatsuki Suzuki (SIC58 Squadra Corse) + 0.031
 4. Andrea Migno (SKY Racing Team VR46) + 0.042
 5. Romano Fenati (Sterilgarda Max Racing Team) + 0.201
 6. Raul Fernandez (Red Bull KTM Ajo) + 0.253
 7. Celestino Vietti (SKY Racing Team VR46) + 0.378
 8. Jeremy Alcoba (Kömmerling Gresini Moto3) + 0.405
 9. Tony Arbolino (Rivacold Snipers Team) + 0.462
 10. Filip Salac (Rivacold Snipers Team) + 0.505

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