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Light rain on Saturday morning at the Gran Premio Motul de la Comunitat Valenciana saw none of the Moto3™ riders able to improve their Friday times, meaning World Championship leader Albert Arenas (Gaviota Aspar Team Moto3) has to contest Q1 this afternoon. There were no such troubles for his main rivals though, one of those being fastest man Tony Arbolino (Rivacold Snipers Team) who remains top of the pile. Jaume Masia (Leopard Racing) and Sergio Garcia (Estrella Galicia 0,0) complete the top three ahead of qualifying, Ai Ogura (Honda Team Asia) is safely through to Q2.
The riders headed out for Saturday morning in an attempt to try and keep a top 14 place, or get themselves into the automatic Q2 slots ahead of qualifying this afternoon. Deniz Öncü (Red Bull KTM Tech3) led the early stages but the times were around a second off from challenging Arbolino’s fastest time from Friday, before light rain fell in Valencia.
This wasn’t good news for Championship leader Arenas. The Spaniard was currently P15 despite just being 0.351 seconds from the fastest time, but with 20 minutes to go, it looked highly unlikely that anyone would be going faster in FP3. Highly unlikely turned to pretty much impossible with 14 minutes left, as Celestino Vietti (SKY Racing Team VR46) headed out on wet tyres before immediately coming back in.
So with most of the riders choosing not to head out, with the rain now really starting to fall, the standings from Friday would stay as they are and the automatic Q2 places were set. The three Hondas of Arbolino, Masia and Garcia remain your top three before Öncü and Romano Fenati (Sterilgarda Max Racing Team) complete a top five split by 0.146 seconds. Niccolo Antonelli (SIC58 Squadra Corse) and teammate Tatsuki Suzuki are sixth and seventh, with Valencia GP race winner Raul Fernandez (Red Bull KTM Ajo) pocketing P8 after Free Practice.
Title contender Ogura, who is three points behind Arenas, is into Q2 after finishing P9 on Friday, Jeremy Alcoba (Kömmerling Gresini Moto3) rounds out the top 10 as just 0.267 seconds separates the riders. Vietti is also into Q2, so Arenas has work to do to join his title rivals in the pole position shootout. John McPhee (Petronas Sprinta Racing) will join the Spaniard, the Scotsman finished P21 after Friday’s running.
It’s not given that Arenas is making it through either, with the likes of Gabriel Rodrigo (Kömmerling Gresini Moto3), Darryn Binder (CIP Green Power), Dennis Foggia (Leopard Racing), Ayumu Sasaki (Red Bull KTM Tech3), Alonso Lopez (Sterilgarda Max Racing Team) and others more than capable of earning a top four spot in Q1. You don’t want to miss it.
Will the rain clear for qualifying? Tune in to find out at 13:15 local time (GMT+1).
Top 10 combined:
1. Tony Arbolino (Rivacold Snipers Team) – 1:38.413
2. Jaume Masia (Leopard Racing) + 0.066
3. Sergio Garcia (Estrella Galicia 0,0) + 0.083
4. Deniz Öncü (Team Suzuki Ecstar) + 0.098
5. Romano Fenati (Sterilgarda Max Racing Team) + 0.146
6. Niccolo Antonelli (SIC58 Squadra Corse) + 0.150
7. Tatsuki Suzuki (SIC58 Squadra Corse) + 0.151
8. Raul Fernandez (Red Bull KTM Ajo) + 0.191
9. Ai Ogura (Honda Team Asia) + 0.253
10. Jeremy Alcoba (Kömmerling Gresini Moto3) + 0.267
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