MotoGP Aragon #2: Fifth Moto3 pole for Fernandez

| | MotoGP
Picture: GeeBee Images

Raul Fernandez secured his fifth Moto3 pole position of the 2020 season in dominant style at Motorland Aragon this afternoon, holding off Tony Arbolino and Celestino Vietti for front row honours as he topped the Spanish qualifying for the second time in as many weeks.

Despite securing automatic promotion through to Q2, John McPhee concluded a challenging session in 17th and will start Sunday’s 19-lap race on the sixth row.

Q1 for the Teruel GP began with Filip Salac setting the pace from Gabriel Rodrigo, Niccolò Antonelli and Stefano Nepa; Alonso Lopez, Barry Baltus and Carlos Tatay demoting the latter three out of the promotion zone with their second laps of the session before Tatay advanced again, to second, on his next attempt.

The majority of the field waited to leave the pits en masse for the final four minutes, leaving the standings flickering as the session reached its conclusion, Salac won out in the final dash from Nepa, Kaito Toba and Rodrigo with Antonelli relegated at the flag to finish fifth. There was further disappointment for Andrea Migno as the Sky VR46 rider concluded the session in an uncharacteristic 12th, the result placing him 26th on Sunday’s grid.

The final shootout saw Fernandez strike the initial blow with an impressive first effort of 1’57.535, Ai Ogura slotting in behind from Dennis Foggia, Jeremy Alcoba and Toba before McPhee demoted the latter KTM to claim fifth on his third lap.

Mid-session endeavours from Rodrigo and Tatsuki Suzuki saw the pair advance to the top-three as Albert Arenas now secured fifth, with the usual slow riding antics calling the final times, or future penalties, into question yet again.

Vietti challenged for pole with three minutes to go but his lap fell just 0.009 shy of Fernandez before the KTM man set another stunning effort to increase the pace once again, this time to 1’57.199, as he searched for a successive triumph.

As the flag dropped, Arbolino advanced, taking second in the dying seconds from Vietti and demoting Rodrigo to the second row, in fourth. Arenas secured fifth alongside Ayumu Sasaki with last-week’s winner Jaume Masia, Toba and Suzuki lining up on row three. Ogura qualified 10th ahead of Salac and Foggia with Romano Fenati, Alcoba and Darryn Binder down on row five. A difficult session for McPhee left the Scot in 17th, Nepa and Deniz Öncü either side of the Petronas rider on tomorrow’s grid.