Sasaki and Garcia end qualifying over half a second clear as Guevara lines up on Row 3 and Foggia Row 4.
Another week, another new lap record! This time it’s Ayumu Sasaki (Sterilgarda Max Racing Team) as the number 71 backed up his fastest lap on Friday with the fastest lap of Phillip Island ever, taking pole by nearly two tenths and putting in the only 1:35. Sergio Garcia (Gaviota GASGAS Aspar Team) is the only other rider in Sasaki’s postcode, and he has a half-second gap behind him back to Ivan Ortola (Angeluss MTA Team) as the rookie completes the front row.
Championship leader Izan Guevara (Gaviota GASGAS Aspar Team) heads up Row 3 in seventh place, giving him a reasonable launch position ahead of his first match point in the fight for the crown. He has an advantage of 49 points and needs more than 50 by the flag on Sunday to secure the Championship. Dennis Foggia (Leopard Racing), now his closest challenger, lines up in P12 on Row 4 – his equal worst result of the season as he failed to improve late on.
Row 2 is Carlos Tatay (CFMoto Racing PrüstelGP), Diogo Moreira (MT Helmets – MSI) and Stefano Nepa (Angeluss MTA Team). Between Guevara in seventh and Foggia in 12th are Deniz Öncü (Red Bull KTM Tech3), Jaume Masia (Red Bull KTM Ajo), Taiyo Furusato (Honda Team Asia) – for whom it’s a best ever qualifying – and David Muñoz (BOE Motorsports). In the session, one dash of spice saw Muñoz get a behaviour warning for getting a little close to Masia, too.
The first Championship of the season is on the line on Sunday, and the grid sets us up for a stunner. Tune in for Guevara’s first match point at 11:00 (GMT +11)!
Moto3™ FRONT ROW
1 Ayumu Sasaki (Sterilgarda Husqvarna Max) – Husqvarna – 1’35.854
2 Sergio Garcia (Gaviota GASGAS Aspar Team) – GASGAS – +0.187
3 Ivan Ortola (Angeluss MTA Team) – Husqvarna – +0.725
Ayumu Sasaki: “Well, before qualifying, I knew that it’s going to be a group, as always, in Moto3™. So, my target was to put a new tyre on at the beginning and try to make a lap time. I went out quite far from the group, but I guess that group was slowing down in our out laps, so I could catch them perfectly in two laps, so that helped me a lot as well. But, a good two laps, I felt good on the bike, and after that, I thought there was no point using another tyre. I wanted to keep it for tomorrow. So, that was the plan, and I had good enough laps, so it went as a plan and it was good lap.
“As you can see, the last three races have been very good for me; we have consistency. I came here, the bike was working very well admittedly, so I didn’t change the set-up so much as well. I just felt good on the bike. Here, it’s always a big group in the race, but this year, top riders in Moto3™ seem to be at a higher level than the rest, so that’s why you can see may times this year that if someone gets to the front, we can separate the group. Here, I feel like I have the pace to pull the group, so that’s my plan. Last race, it was Foggia and we can see four or five riders every time that are competitive, can pull from the group, and I guess that I have the chance to do that, so hopefully we can make it a small group and fight for the win.”
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