2018 Motegi Moto3 Qualifying Result: New Leaders To The Same Tight Field

The fine weather on Saturday morning attracted some clouds in the backdrop by the time the lightweight class qualifying session was getting to a start, although sunshine was still breaking through. The threat of rain was a slight worry for the teams and they made sure their riders sorted out a banker lap in their first outing. The early benchmark was laid down by Marco Bezzecchi before the usual lull in proceedings halfway through the battle.

The chase for slipstream resumed for the remainder of the session but a challenge to the lead only made itself known in the final 12 minutes, when Gabriel Rodrigo found himself in prime position by six thousandths of a second, with few changes happening behind him at this point. It all came down to the final three minutes, when after a bit of dawdling riders finally got their head down to post one flying lap. The eventual winner was Rodrigo once again, who showed the way for a big group but needed no slipstream to improve on his best time and posted the fastest lap of the weekend to score his third career pole position.

If the poleman showed promise from the start, runner up John McPhee had an underwhelming performance in practice only to jump to the front row of the grid on his final lap. Bezzecchi also found some improvement to stay in the final spot available on the front row, while McPhee’s late success did the Italian a favour and pushed Jorge Martin to the second row of the grid. Martin had some struggles to keep within the lines early on but pulled off a getaway from the chasing pack and posted a time good enough for fourth all on his own. Darryn Binder looked to be threatening pole with a late effort but settled for a respectable fifth position, ahead of Enea Bastiniani who completed row two.

Dennis Foggia was another welcome addition to the top seven, showing the way on the third row of the grid to Kazuki Masaki and Albert Arenas. Some of the few men who failed to improve in the final charge dropped down to row four, Lorenzo Dalla Porta ahead of Marcos Ramirez, who had a late tumble, and with Tony Arbolino completing the line-up.

The likes of Fabio Di Giannantonio in 15th, Jakub Kornfeil 16th and Aron Canet 19th will have a bit more of a challenge on their hands from their lowly positions despite qualifying within a second of the poleman.

Results:

Pos. Num. Rider Bike Time Gap 1st Prev.
1 19 Gabriel RODRIGO KTM 1'56.894    
2 17 John MCPHEE KTM 1'56.969 0.075 0.075
3 12 Marco BEZZECCHI KTM 1'57.014 0.120 0.045
4 88 Jorge MARTIN Honda 1'57.118 0.224 0.104
5 40 Darryn BINDER KTM 1'57.120 0.226 0.002
6 33 Enea BASTIANINI Honda 1'57.194 0.300 0.074
7 10 Dennis FOGGIA KTM 1'57.202 0.308 0.008
8 22 Kazuki MASAKI KTM 1'57.260 0.366 0.058
9 75 Albert ARENAS KTM 1'57.410 0.516 0.150
10 48 Lorenzo DALLA PORTA Honda 1'57.453 0.559 0.043
11 42 Marcos RAMIREZ KTM 1'57.476 0.582 0.023
12 14 Tony ARBOLINO Honda 1'57.507 0.613 0.031
13 71 Ayumu SASAKI Honda 1'57.610 0.716 0.103
14 77 Vicente PEREZ KTM 1'57.627 0.733 0.017
15 21 Fabio DI GIANNANTONIO Honda 1'57.636 0.742 0.009
16 84 Jakub KORNFEIL KTM 1'57.692 0.798 0.056
17 23 Niccolò ANTONELLI Honda 1'57.755 0.861 0.063
18 16 Andrea MIGNO KTM 1'57.862 0.968 0.107
19 44 Aron CANET Honda 1'57.910 1.016 0.048
20 72 Alonso LOPEZ Honda 1'58.002 1.108 0.092
21 5 Jaume MASIA KTM 1'58.020 1.126 0.018
22 65 Philipp OETTL KTM 1'58.034 1.140 0.014
23 7 Adam NORRODIN Honda 1'58.107 1.213 0.073
24 31 Celestino VIETTI KTM 1'58.236 1.342 0.129
25 81 Stefano NEPA KTM 1'58.315 1.421 0.079
26 24 Tatsuki SUZUKI Honda 1'58.411 1.517 0.096
27 41 Nakarin ATIRATPHUVAPAT Honda 1'58.659 1.765 0.248
28 27 Kaito TOBA Honda 1'58.659 1.765  
29 13 Shizuka OKAZAKI Honda 2'03.453 6.559 4.794
30 36 Yuto FUKUSHIMA Honda 2'03.584 6.690 0.131
Round Number: 
16
2018
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