Andrea Migno (Rivacold Snipers Team) is the Moto3™ man to beat heading into qualifying at the Grande Prémio 888 de Portugal, the Italian was fastest in FP3’s top 14 shootout with a 1:48.214. It’s a lap time that sees Migno beat second place Gabriel Rodrigo (Indonesian Racing Gresini Moto3) by 0.052s, Jaume Masia (Red Bull KTM Ajo) is the third quickest rider.
A sunlit Algarve International Circuit greeted the Moto3™ field for FP3 and this meant one thing: Friday’s times would tumble. Rodrigo’s 1:49.538 was the time to beat, and it didn’t take long for us to witness some quicker times as the lightweight class pushed for an automatic top 14, Q2 place. Heading into the closing stages, Niccolo Antonelli (Avintia Esponsorama Moto3) was the pacesetter with a 1:48.506, but it wasn’t all plain sailing for the Italian. Antonelli suffered a small crash at Turn 3 with 15 minutes left on the clock, thankfully there was no damage to the rider and limited damage to his KTM.
Dennis Foggia (Leopard Racing) and Rodrigo were inside the top three with six minutes to go, with all the riders – bar John McPhee (Petronas Sprinta Racing) – were patiently waiting inside their boxes for a last gung-ho time attack. And there were plenty of changes on the timing screens. Rodrigo returned back to the summit before a final flying lap from Migno saw the Italian rise to P1 from outside the top 10, and he stayed there with little improvements coming in at the sharp end.
World Championship leader Pedro Acosta (Red Bull KTM Ajo) is fourth behind his third fastest teammate, with Darryn Binder (Petronas Sprinta Racing) needing a late fast lap to get into the top 14 – P5 for the South African. Pitlane start bound Jeremy Alcoba (Indonesian Racing Gresini Moto3) was briefly top but slipped to P6, the Spaniard sits just under a tenth clear of seventh place Foggia. Antonelli managed to get back out on track but fell to P8 at the end, his KTM stopped after the chequered flag too.
Another late crasher was Tatsuki Suzuki (SIC58 Squadra Corse) at Turn 8, but he too safely makes it straight into the Q2 shootout. Sergio Garcia (GASGAS Valresa Aspar Team) completes the top 10, ahead of Xavier Artigas (Leopard Racing), Deniz Öncü (Red Bull KTM Tech3), McPhee and Filip Salac (Rivacold Snipers Team).
Heading into Q1 is some names we might not have expected to be there. Romano Fenati (Sterilgarda Max Racing Team) was on a lap to put him into the top 14, but he tucked the front at Turn 13 – rider ok. Ayumu Sasaki (Red Bull KTM Tech3), Izan Guevara (GASGAS Valresa Aspar Team) and Kaito Toba (CIP Green Power) are just three names hoping to make it through later on this afternoon.
Tune in for Moto3™ qualifying at 12:35 local time (GMT+1).
Top 10 combined:
1. Andrea Migno (Rivacold Snipers Team) – 1:48.214
2. Gabriel Rodrigo (Indonesian Racing Gresini Moto3) + 0.052
3. Jaume Masia (Red Bull KTM Ajo) + 0.107
4. Pedro Acosta (Red Bull KTM Ajo) + 0.120
5. Darryn Binder (Petronas Sprinta Racing) + 0.151
6. Jeremy Alcoba (Indonesian Racing Gresini Moto3) + 0.200
7. Dennis Foggia (Leopard Racing) + 0.287
8. Niccolo Antonelli (Avintia Esponsorama Moto3) + 0.292
9. Tatsuki Suzuki (SIC58 Squadra Corse) + 0.344
10. Sergio Garcia (GASGAS Valresa Aspar Team) + 0.437