Jaume Masia, much like he has been in recent weeks, finds himself P1 on the Moto3™ timesheets after an excellent showing during Friday's Practice 2. A 1:57.068 sees the Leopard Racing rider lead the lightweight class charge into Saturday’s action at the Motul Grand Prix of Japan.
The session took on an added importance at Motegi, with the threat of rain looming large over Saturday’s action, so it was absolutely pivotal that riders recorded a banker lap before then, something which the leading lights in the class managed to do. Ivan Ortola (Angeluss MTA Team) sits in P2, just 0.108s off the lead, while Ayumu Sasaki’s (Liqui Moly Husqvarna Intact GP), P3 in the Championship, late efforts sees the home hero occupy third.
Crucially for Daniel Holgado, who leads the title race tied on points with Masia, he is among the provisional Q2 places having missed out in India amid a checkered run of form. The Red Bull KTM Tech 3 rider is P4, ahead of Diogo Moreira (MT Helmets – MSI) and fellow Championship challenger Deniz Öncü (Red Bull KTM Ajo). Indeed, all the main protagonists involved in the title race can rest easy tonight knowing they have all but secured a Q2 spot should rain arrive in the morning, with David Alonso (Gaviota GASGAS Aspar Team) sneaking into P13 late on.
Stefano Nepa (Angeluss MTA Team), Kaito Toba (SIC58 Squadra Corse) and Jose Antonio Rueda (Red Bull KTM Ajo) all sit safely inside the top 10, while three Japanese riders, Ryusei Yamanaka (Gaviota GASGAS Aspar Team), Taiyo Furusato (Honda Team Asia) and Tatsuki Suzuki (Leopard Racing) join Alonso in the danger zone, should the skies remain clear on Saturday morning. Collin Veijer (Liqui Moly Husqvarna Intact GP) is one of the bigger names who will be hoping the sun shines through as the young Dutch rider missed out, with a near highside not helping his case.
We await to see how conditions will unfold in the hours ahead with Practice 3 underway at 08:40 (GMT +9) before a qualifying blockbuster awaits 12:50 local time. Make sure you join us then!
|Combined Top 10|
|1||Jaume Masia (Leopard Racing)||1:57.068|
|2||Ivan Ortola (Angeluss MTA Team)||+0.108|
|3||Ayumu Sasaki (Liqui Moly Husqvarna Intact GP)||+0.123|
|4||Daniel Holgado (Red Bull KTM Tech3)||+0.158|
|5||Diogo Moreira (MT Helmets - MSI)||+0.192|
|6||Deniz Öncü (Red Bull KTM Ajo)||+0.209|
|7||Stefano Nepa (Angeluss MTA Team)||+0.243|
|8||Kaito Toba (SIC58 Squadra Corse)||+0.316|
|9||David Muñoz (BOE Motorsports)||+0.398|
|10||Jose Antonio Rueda (Red Bull KTM Ajo)||+0.405|