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13 days ago
By motogp.com

Championship leader Masia snatches Doha pole

The Red Bull KTM Ajo star beats pitlane start bound Garcia by 0.099s in Q2, Gresini’s Alcoba and Rodrigo will line up on the front row

He left it until his final flying lap but Qatar GP race winner Jaume Masia (Red Bull KTM Ajo) will start on pole for the Tissot Grand Prix of Doha, as the Spaniard beats pitlane start bound Sergio Garcia (GASGAS Gaviota Aspar) by less than a tenth. Masia set a 2:05.913, the only sub 2:06 lap time in Q2, as Jeremy Alcoba (Indonesian Racing Gresini Moto3) equals his best Grand Prix qualifying result in P3, which becomes P2 with Garcia’s penalty.

Q1 saw some big hitters aiming to get through into the Q2 pole position shootout, and it was the experienced head of Andrea Migno (Rivacold Snipers Team) who topped the session with a 2:06.925, a tenth faster than Leopard Racing’s Dennis Foggia and Xavier Artigas. Jason Dupasquier (CarXpert PrüstelGP) got the job done to earn the final top four place ahead of Q2 in windy conditions.

With the wind making a big difference, slipstream – an ever-present factor in the lightweight class – was even more important than before. Garcia was the early pacesetter but Migno was soon at the summit as a lot of the riders were working in tandem with teammates. Migno, lapping with the Leopard duo and Dupasquier, improved on his second lap to go over a tenth clear of Garcia with seven minutes to go. Izan Guevara (GASGAS Gaviota Aspar) was provisionally on the front row too, with the likes of John McPhee, Petronas Sprinta Racing teammate Darryn Binder and World Championship leader Jaume Masia (Red Bull KTM Ajo) outside the top 10.

 

The fun and games started as the riders headed out for their second runs, a handful were stopping at the end of pitlane before eventually taking to the track for the final three minutes. It was a one-lap dash for the entire 18-strong field, with Garcia going back to P1 but immediately, Masia went pole by less than a tenth. Further down the road, Indonesian Racing Gresini Moto3 duo Alcoba and Gabriel Rodrigo were able to propel themselves to P3 and P4 with McPhee and Binder also improving in the same gaggle of riders.

A busy end to the session ended with Masia claiming pole position, a perfect Saturday for last week’s race winner. His time was 1.9 seconds slower than seven days ago, an indication of how much worse the conditions are. Garcia finishes second but will start from pitlane on Sunday, however he’ll have a clear run into Turn 1 and will lead the other riders out of pitlane. Alcoba lines up on the front row for his equal-best qualifying performance, he’ll start second though because of Garcia’s grid penalty.

Rodrigo qualified fourth but will jump up to the front row to make it two Gresini machines at the pinpoint of the grid, this domino effect sees Tatsuki Suzuki (SIC58 Squadra Corse) spearhead the second row despite a P5 finish in Q2. Migno eventually slipped to P6 in Q2 but having come through Q1, that’s a great day’s work for the Italian. Last week’s polesitter Binder and teammate McPhee didn’t have the best of times in Q2 but P7 and P8 isn’t a disaster, they’ll both move up a place also thanks to Garcia’s penalty.

Pedro Acosta (Red Bull KTM Ajo) is another rider to feel the wrath of Race Direction for his antics in FP2, the Qatar GP podium finisher picked up a P9 in Q2 but will start behind Garcia in the pitlane. 10th place and fellow rookie Guevara profits from Acosta’s Friday mistake, the reigning FIM CEV Repsol Moto3™ Junior World Champion will start alongside McPhee on the third row in P8.

Another great Moto3™ qualifying session, but it’s your early title race leader Masia who continues to lay down the marker in 2021. Two penalties inside the top 10 will see riders starting further up the grid than where they qualified, with Garcia and Acosta ruing their Friday antics. It promises to be another phenomenal Moto3™ encounter on Sunday, make sure you tune in for Round 2 in Doha at 17:00 local time (GMT+3).

Top 10:
1. Jaume Masia (Red Bull KTM Ajo) - 2:05.913
2. Sergio Garcia (GasGas Gaviota Aspar) + 0.099
3. Jeremy Alcoba (Indonesia Gresini Racing Moto3) + 0.245
4. Gabriel Rodrigo (Indonesia Gresini Racing Moto3) + 0.433
5. Tatsuki Suzuki (SIC58 Squadra Corse) + 0.494
6. Andrea Migno (Rivacold Snipers Team) + 0.706
7. Darryn Binder (Petronas Sprinta Racing) + 0.730
8. John McPhee (Petronas Sprinta Racing) + 0.733
9. Pedro Acosta (Red Bull KTM Ajo) + 0.916
10 Izan Guevara (GasGas Gaviota Aspar) + 0.920

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