Petronas SRT rider Ayumu Sasaki claimed his first ever Moto3 pole position, beating out compatriot Kaito Toba for a Japanese 1-2.
The Japanese rider was strong through free practice and after the first run in the session, Sasaki found himself in a provisional second row start. With the chequered flag out, Sasaki hooked his Honda up and produced a perfect 1:26.135 to claim pole and become the first Japanese rider to claim pole in the lightweight World Championship since Youichi Ui’s pole in South Africa 16 years ago.
Toba was 0.057 seconds behind his fellow Japanese rider, and 0.114 seconds ahead of free-practice fast man Marcos Ramirez, with the front row covered by just 0.171 seconds.
Lorenzo Dalla Porta’s last gasp lap saw him jump onto the second row and with World Championship rivals Aron Canet and Tony Arbolino both failing to make Q2, the Italian has a fantastic chance to capitalise.
Romano Fenati will start from fifth after his best lap was scratched out for just drifting onto the green paint on the outside of the last corner. Jakub Kornfiel will round out the second row in sixth place. Albert Arenas, Dennis Foggia and Gabi Rodrigo make up the third row of the grid, with John McPhee in tenth, leading off row four.
Both Canet and Arbolino with work to do after abysmal qualifying performances. The Spaniard failed to post a final fast lap after being sent out too late, failing to beat out the chequered flag, leaving him down in 22nd.
It wasn’t much better for Arbolino with the Italian stalling his bike as he left pit lane. Whilst he managed to post a fast lap, he towed Ai Ogura around who ended up knocking him out, capitalising on his slipstream, leaving Arbolino down in 19th.