The Red Bull KTM Tech3 rider rules the Red Bull Ring to become the first Turkish rider to take a Grand Prix pole position.
Deniz Öncü (Red Bull KTM Tech3) has taken his maiden pole position at the Michelin® Grand Prix of Styria, the Turkish rider pipping Sergio Garcia (Santander Consumer Bank GASGAS Aspar Team) by just 0.024 to head the Moto3™ grid for the first time on both Red Bull and KTM home turf. Completing the front row is veteran Romano Fenati (Sterilgarda Max Racing Team), despite the former Austria winner having taken a trip through Q1.
A couple of surprises in Q1 were both Fenati and recent momentum man Dennis Foggia (Leopard Racing), but when crunch time appeared the two delivered. Foggia topped the session and headed through, just 0.002 ahead of Tatsuki Suzuki (SIC58 Squadra Corse), with Gabriel Rodrigo (Indonesian Racing Gresini Moto3) third and Fenati the last man joining them in Q1. The latter did a good few laps alone, too…
Q2 had some early drama, late drama, even later drama, and then even more after the flag. The first was for Ayumu Sasaki (Red Bull KTM Tech3) as he took a tumble at Turn 3, but rider ok. The second then came for Niccolo Antonelli (Avintia VR46) as he crashed at Turn 10, and the veteran Italian headed for the Medical Centre. After the flag, it was confirmed he is unfit due to a hand fracture.
The next drama hit later as Garcia crashed out, suffering a highside at Turn 3. Up and ok, heading for a check up and declared fit, the rider currently second in the standings was on for provisional pole but sidelined from the final push… with not long left for the rest to try and leapfrog him, would he tumble down the order?
Not to the extent sometimes seen in the Moto3™ class, but he wouldn’t be keeping pole. On his penultimate lap, Öncü put in a stunner to just get the better of the GASGAS rider, securing his first pole position by just 0.024 and the first for Turkey in motorcycle Grand Prix racing.
Behind that tiny gap in the battle for pole, Fenati was back on the form more expected from the Italian as he leapt up the timesheets to secure third and a front row despite his trip through Q1 – just 0.053 off the number 53 in a close top three.
After the flag, a lap cancelled for Jeremy Alcoba (Indonesian Racing Gresini Moto3) saw him drop from the second row to the third, with Championship leader Pedro Acosta (Red Bull KTM Ajo) promoted to fourth place in Q2 and on the grid, making that his second best qualifying so far in Grand Prix racing.
Öncü, Garcia and Fenati head the grid, with Acosta spearheading Row 2 at the venue that saw him take four Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup victories in a row in 2020. The Championship leader has fellow rookie Izan Guevara (Santander Consumer Bank GASGAS Aspar) alongside him. Foggia came through from Q1 and completes the second row in sixth.
Jaume Masia (Red Bull KTM Ajo) takes seventh place, ahead of Friday’s fastest Darryn Binder (Petronas Sprinta Racing) in eighth. Alcoba’s lap cancellation demotes him to ninth, just ahead of teammate Gabriel Rodrigo.
The fourth row is completed by John McPhee (Petronas Sprinta Racing) and Riccardo Rossi (BOE Owlride), with Antonelli 11th quickest but ruled out.
Tech3 have some good memories of the Red Bull Ring in the MotoGP™ class… can Öncü add another for the Red Bull KTM Tech3 team in Moto3™? The lights go out for the lightweight class at 11:00 (GMT +2), so make sure to tune in for another stunner in Styria.
Moto3™ top three
1 Deniz Öncü – Red Bull KTM Tech3 – KTM – 1:36.453
2 Sergio Garcia – Santander Consumer Bank GASGAS Aspar – GASGAS – +0.024
3 Romano Fenati – Sterilgarda Max Racing Team – Husqvarna – +0.053
Deniz Öncü: “This is very special for me because it’s the first Turkish pole. Honestly this weekend we were not expecting pole position because yesterday we came back from summer break and I was struggling in the morning to get back the feeling on my Moto3 bike, but the team did a great job and amazing setup, especially in FP3, and I’m on pole position… and at the same time I won my first watch haha. But I’m so happy and ready for tomorrow’s race!”
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