Lorenzo Dalla Porta (Leopard Racing) will start the Gran Premio Red Bull de España from his first ever pole position, taking the honour by an infinitesimal 0.004 seconds from second on the grid Tatsuki Suzuki (SIC58 Squadra Corse) in a tight session in Jerez. Impressive rookie Celestino Vietti (Sky Racing Team VR46) joins them on the front row after his best qualifying yet as well, with both he and Suzuki having gone from Q1 to front row.
A cloudier day greeted the grid on Saturday and there were a good few names in Q1 to keep an eye out for – including the two men who would go on to qualify near the top. Qatar winner Kaito Toba (Honda Team Asia), preseason pace man Tony Arbolino (VNE Snipers) and Championship leader Jaume Masia (Bester Capital Dubai) were other key players in a busy session, it all went down to the wire with Suzuki and Vietti joined in Q2 by Masia and his teammate Andrea Migno.
With the clock then reset for the session that would decide the top 18 on the grid, it was go time for Q2 and Dalla Porta, Suzuki and Vietti took to the top. They’re followed by a second row of Niccolo Antonelli (SIC58 Squadra Corse), Dennis Foggia (Sky Racing Team VR46) and Gabriel Rodrigo (Kömmerling Gresini Moto3), with second in the Championship Aron Canet (Sterilgarda Max Racing Team) pushed down to seventh. The Spaniard suffered some key drama in the session and encountered a mechanical problem, leaving him out of the battle for pole but fast enough on his first run to remain on the third row.
Eighth fastest was home hero Marcos Ramirez (Leopard Racing), with the returning Albert Arenas (Sama Qatar Angel Nieto Team) in ninth and two-time Jerez winner Romano Fenati (VNE Snipers) completing the top ten. Behind them come Ayumu Sasaki (Petronas Sprinta Racing), Jakub Kornfeil (Redox PrustelGP), Migno and John McPhee (Petronas Sprinta Racing), with Championship leader Jaume Masia down in fifteenth and looking for a fight back on Sunday.
Who can take the heat in Jerez? It’s still anyone’s game, so tune in at 11:00 (GMT+2) local time on Sunday as the lights go out for Moto3™.
1 – Lorenzo Dalla Porta (ITA – Honda) 1’46.011
2 – Tatsuki Suzuki (JPN – Honda) +0.004
3 – Celestino Vietti (ITA – KTM) +0.184