Raul Fernandez (Red Bull KTM Ajo) once again sent out a warning shot ahead of the Gran Premio Michelin® de Aragon as he secured P1 in Moto3™ Qualifying with a 1:57.681, after another dominant performance.
The Spaniard sealed a fourth pole of the year and has shown excellent race pace all weekend, and surely now must be considered among the favourites as he seeks to secure a first victory of the season. He will be joined by Championship contenders Celestino Vietti (SKY Racing Team VR46) and leader Albert Arenas (Solunion Aspar Team Moto3) in the front row, with a variety of strategies being employed by riders as they sought to secure their grid positions.
Carlos Tatay (Reale Avintia Moto3) and Ayumu Sasaki (Red Bull KTM Tech3) took P1 & P2 in Q1, as the former Red Bull Rookies Cup Champions had clearly prearranged a game plan to aid one another in their efforts, while Gabriel Rodrigo (Kommerling Gresini Moto3) left it late to seal his place in Q2, exiting pitlane with just three minutes to go. The Argentinian posted a late flying lap to seal his place in Q2 at the expense of Kaito Toba (Red Bull KTM Ajo), while John McPhee (Petronas Sprinta Racing) finished in P4.
The Scot posted the second-fastest time of the weekend early in Q2 before Raul Fernandez showed why he was the man to beat in Qualifying as he riposted with a low 1:58 to take P1, before going into the 1:57s on the following lap, meaning it was job done as he could watch on from the pit box as his Championship rivals scurried to set their times.
Championship contender Ai Ogura (Honda Team Asia) posted his first time with less than five minutes remaining, but it wasn’t good enough to threaten the top of the timesheets, while Vietti then began a series of flying of laps as he aimed to reel in Fernandez, with his final lap a dramatic attempt which saw him become the only other rider to go below 1:58, but he was still five-hundredths off the lead.
Alonso Lopez (Sterilgarda Max Racing Team) looked to have done enough for a front-row spot, having impressed throughout the session, but Arenas had something to say about that as he jumped from P9 to P3 with a low 1.58 on his final effort. The Spaniard found time in the final sector to record the third quickest time of the day and ensured that it is an all KTM front row for the first time in 2020.
Tatsuki Suzuki (SIC58 Squadra Corse) is sandwiched by Sterilgarda Max Racing Team’s Lopez and Romano Fenati in the second row, while Q1 graduates Tatay and Rodrigo are on either side of Ogura.
McPhee edged out Championship rival Darryn Binder (CIP Green Power) to complete the Top 10, as the South African never really got going in the session, and neither did Jaume Masia, with last week’s poleman having to settle for P17 on the grid.
1. Raul Fernandez (Red Bull KTM Ajo) – 1:57.681
2. Celestino Vietti (SKY Racing Team VR46) + 0.059
3. Albert Arenas (Solunion Aspar Team Moto3) + 0.510
4. Alonso Lopez (Sterilgarda Max Racing Team) + 0.531
5. Tatsuki Suzuki (SIC58 Squadra Corse) + 0.587
6. Romano Fenati (Sterilgarda Max Racing Team) + 0.591
7. Carlos Tatay (Reale Avintia Moto3) + 0.634
8. Ai Ogura (Honda Team Asia) + 0.684
9. Gabriel Rodrigo (Kömmerling Gresini Moto3) + 0.868
10. John McPhee (Petronas Sprinta Racing) + 0.869