Rueda storms to pole in Portugal

The Spaniard takes a career-first pole position ahead of Kelso and Alonso as the build-up to the Portuguese GP begins

Jose Antonio Rueda (Red Bull KTM Ajo) storms to pole position after a near-perfect lap in the closing stages of the qualifying. BOE Motorsports’ Joel Kelso was just 0.059 behind after a brave lap, ending a brilliant Saturday for the Australian. David Alonso (CFMOTO Gaviota Aspar Team) joins them on the front row, unable to take a maiden pole position. Tactics were everything in the second qualifying session of the season after multiple riders missed out in Q1.

It was tight at the top in Q1, but after a stunning lap from Ryusei Yamanaka (MT Helmets – MSI), it placed him top in the opening qualifying session alongside Nicola Carraro (LEVELUP – MTA), Filippo Farioli (SIC58 Squadra Corse), and Vicente Perez (Red Bull KTM Ajo) who would all aim to make their mark in Q2. However, once Q2 started the riders did not wait to put in a fast lap with (Championship leader) Alonso, Rueda, and Red Bull GASGAS Tech3’s Daniel Holgado who were battling for the top spot.

On the final run, BOE Motorsports sent both riders out early to do their final run, resulting in Kelso storming his way to a provisional pole and a new lap record. This provisional pole was short-lived as Perez came through on the final lap of qualifying, bagging a maiden pole position. Behind a tight front row will be (Qatar GP podium finisher) Holgado, who will line up alongside Riccardo Rossi (CIP Green Power) on the second row of the grid. Alongside them will be Dutchman Colin Veijer, who was the sole Liquid Moly Husqvarna Intact GP bike in Q2.

On the third row of the grid was Ivan Ortola (MT Helmets – MSI) who will start Sunday’s race from seventh – hoping to make his way through the field. Farioli managed to fight from Q1 to eighth on the grid, ahead of MLav Racing’s Scott Ogden (spending most of the session outside the top 10), and will start the race from 9th, ahead of Stefano Nepa (LEVELUP – MTA), who rounds out a very competitive top 10. However, some big names missed out on the chance to fight for pole position including podium contender Taiyo Furusato (Honda Team Asia) and Moto3™ veteran Tatsuki Suzuki (Liquid Moly Husqvarna Intact GP).

The Moto3™ field now gets set for an explosive second race of the season on Sunday at 11:00 (UTC), so make sure you keep up to date on

Top 10:

1 Jose Antonio Rueda (Red Bull KTM Ajo) 1:46.379
2 Joel Kelso (BOE Motorsports) +0.059
3 David Alonso (CFMOTO Gaviota Aspar Team)  +0.118
4 Daniel Holgado (Red Bull GASGAS Tech3) +0.168
5 Riccardo Rossi (CIP Green Power) +0.438
6 Colin Veijer (Liquid Moly Husqvarna Intact GP) +0.495
7 Ivan Ortola (MT Helmets - MSI) +0.570
8 Filippo Farioli (SIC58 Squadra Corse) +0.651
9 Scott Ogden (MLav Racing) +0.794
10 Stefano Nepa (LEVELUP – MTA) +0.828