It’s a first pole position since the 2020 Styrian GP for Gabriel Rodrigo (Indonesian Racing Gresini Moto3) as the Argentine beat teammate Jeremy Alcoba by 0.317s in Moto3™ Q2 at the Gran Premi Monster Energy de Catalunya. Avintia Esponsorama Moto3’s Niccolo Antonelli completes the front in Barcelona as World Championship leader Pedro Acosta (Red Bull KTM Ajo) fails to make it out of Q1.
Rodrigo came out the blocks flying in qualifying and managed to fend off a bunch of riders all eager to tag onto the back of his Honda, as the Argentine shot to P1 with a 1:48.257. John McPhee (Petronas Sprinta Racing) had progressed through Q1 as the fastest rider and was in the groove, the Scotsman setting two personal best laps in the row to sit just under a tenth from Rodrigo. Jaume Masia (Red Bull KTM Ajo), another Q1 graduate, was third heading into the final minute as every rider squeezed over the line for a final flying lap.
Tucked in behind teammate Rodrigo, Alcoba managed to make it a Gresini 1-2 as the former improved his time once again, setting that new lap record to seal a pole. Antonelli set his best time on the final flying lap as a large qualifying freight train formed, as did Free Practice pacesetter Stefano Nepa (BOE Owlride) in fourth, Izan Guevara (Solunion GASGAS Aspar Team) also found pace on his last effort to claim P5. McPhee slipped to P6 from second place as the rest of the field took the chequered flag, but Row 2 from Q1 is a job well done.
McPhee’s teammate Darryn Binder will start from P7 at the circuit he won at in 2020, the South African fronts a star-studded third row that includes Tatsuki Suzuki (SIC58 Squadra Corse) and second in the title race Jaume Masia (Red Bull KTM Ajo). Le Mans podium finisher Riccardo Rossi (BOE Owlride) completed the top 10 in Moto3™ qualifying.
Work to do for Championship leader Acosta
From 25th on the grid, Acosta has a mountain to climb on Sunday morning if the Spaniard is going to keep his 52-point Championship lead intact. The rookie sensation didn’t hook up a lap in Q1, and it cost him a chance of heading into Q2, so it was a disappointing Saturday on home soil. However, Sergio Garcia (Solunion GASGAS Aspar Team) and Andrea Migno (Rivacold Snipers Team) – two of the top seven in the overall standings – also didn’t make it into Q2, so there’s going to be plenty of action in the opening stages of the Moto3™ Catalan GP.
As always, the Moto3™ race promises to be a spectacle. Rodrigo is looking in scintillating form ahead of Sunday, but the race is a different kettle of fish to Free Practice and qualifying. Tune into the lightweight class encounter at 11:20 local time (GMT+2).
1. Gabriel Rodrigo (Indonesian Racing Gresini Moto3) – 1:47.597
2. Jeremy Alcoba (Indonesian Racing Gresini Moto3) + 0.317
3. Niccolo Antonelli (Avintia Esponsorama Moto3) + 0.361
4. Stefano Nepa (BOE Owlride) + 0.698
5. Izan Guevara (Solunion GASGAS Aspar Team) + 0.721
6. John McPhee (Petronas Sprinta Racing) + 0.753
7. Darryn Binder (Petronas Sprinta Racing) + 0.892
8. Tatsuki Suzuki (SIC58 Squadra Corse) + 0.901
9. Jaume Masia (Red Bull KTM Ajo) + 0.903
10. Riccardo Rossi (BOE Owlride) + 0.955