Advantage Masia: Spaniard completes hat-trick of poles

Momentum favours the Leopard rider, but his Championship rivals are keeping tabs on him

Momentum continues to swing the way of Jaume Masia after the Leopard Racing rider secured his third consecutive pole position in Moto3™ qualifying at the Motul Grand Prix of Japan. The young Spaniard posted a 1:56.331 which left his on track rivals trailing in his wake, but he will be joined on the front row by Deniz Öncü (Red Bull KTM Ajo) and Matteo Bertelle (Rivacold Snipers Team).

Prior to the session, Q1 graduates Riccardo Rossi (SIC58 Squadra Corse), Joel Kelso (CFMoto Racing Pruestel GP), Taiyo Furusato (Honda Team Asia) and Jose Antonio Rueda (Red Bull KTM Ajo) ensured they joined the 14 already qualified riders, and Q2 got underway.

Initially, David Muñoz (BOE Motorsports) and Ayumu Sasaki (Liqui Moly Husqvarna Intact GP) were the early pacesetters, but all eyes were on the in form Masia, and for good reason too. Receiving a tow from teammate Tatsuki Suzuki down the back straight, he moved the goalposts. Öncü, who followed the Honda machine, joined him in the top two. The Turk, a genuine contender in the title race, improved on the next lap, but so did Masia and that was how P1 and P2 on the grid was decided.

With two minutes remaining, Bertelle launched himself onto the front row of the grid at the expense of Muñoz, while Stefano Nepa (Angeluss MTA Team) then went fourth as he took the chequered flag, equalling his best-ever qualifying result.

The Italian’s teammate Ivan Ortola joins him on the second row. Championship leader Daniel Holgado (Red Bull KTM Tech3) pulled a good time out of the fire to position him sixth on the grid.  

Collin Veijer recorded the 7th best time of the session, but a three place grid penalty is coming his way, which promotes Liqui Moly Husqvarna Intact GP teammate Ayumu Sasaki and David Muñoz up a place, and David Alonso (Gaviota GASGAS Aspar Team) onto the third row. Diogo Moreira (MT Helmets – MSI) also has a grid penalty coming his way, as does Joel Kelso, meaning home rider Kaito Toba (SIC58 Squadra Corse) and Ryusei Yamanaka (Gaviota GASGAS Aspar Team) join Veijer on the fourth row.

The grid is set, and the next chapter of this thrilling and unpredictable title fight is ready. Lights out is at 12:00 local time (GMT +9) on Sunday. You won’t want to miss it!

The top 10:


Jaume Masia (Leopard Racing)



Deniz Öncü (Red Bull KTM Ajo)



Matteo Bertelle (Rivacold Snipers Team)



Stefano Nepa (Angeluss MTA Team)



Iván Ortolá (Angeluss MTA Team)



Daniel Holgado (Red Bull KTM Tech3)



Collin Veijer (Liqui Moly Husqvarna Intact GP)



Ayumu Sasaki (Liqui Moly Husqvarna Intact GP)



David Muñoz (BOE Motorsports)



David Alonso (GASGAS Aspar Team)


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