KTM’s Jaume Masia waited for the final seconds to secure his place at the head of the Moto3 grid for Sunday’s Red Bull GP of the Americas.
The Red Bull rider continued his impressive Saturday form at his title-sponsored event by setting the only 2’15 lap of the class. Dennis Foggia and Jeremy Alcoba will line up alongside the Spaniard on the front row for Sunday’s 17-lap race, with John McPhee heading for a 10th place start after promoting himself through the Q1 battle.
Lorenzo Fellon and Carlos Tatay kicked off Moto3 qualifying with out-lap crashes. The Frenchman able to continue with the Spaniard not so lucky after suffering a highside at turn nine.
Darryn Binder set the early benchmark in Q1, a 2’17.850, with Kaito Toba sitting second before the South African’s time was deleted, along with the rest of the field. McPhee hit the top as the third laps registered, with a time almost identical to his teammate’s earlier offering. Max Kofler the next best, on the bubble of 2’18.
SIC58’s Fellon was the next to lead, setting a 2’17.698 from the Petronas pair of McPhee and Binder. Riccardo Rossi claiming the final promotion place with Kofler and Alberto Surra adrift by just 0.003s and 0.009s respectively.
The final three minutes saw Tatay return to the track after an impressive repair job by the Avintia team, for a one and done effort to set a qualifying time. The remaining riders failing to challenge the dominant quartet, despite third to eighth being covered by just 0.137s.
With the flag preparing, the top three sat in the garage, Rossi on track and looking to improve as Tatay claimed fourth, Snipers’ Surra stealing the position in the final seconds with the BOE Owlride settling for sixth.
Q2 began in equally dramatic style as both KTM’s suffered, but saved, moments in their opening laps, Foggia heading the times with a 2’16.276 over Izan Guevara, Tatsuki Suzuki and Alcoba. Friday’s fastest Filip Salac sitting fifth with Championship leader Pedro Acosta down in 16th.
Alcoba was the next to challenge, refining the pace by a tenth, as Romano Fenati recovered from a near highside at turn nine.
The top two swapped positions next time around. Rookie sensations Guevara and Xavi Artigas looking to impress from third and fourth as Andrea Migno advanced to seventh. McPhee joined the Italian with a provisional third row start, from ninth as Fenati rounded out the top 10.
The Rivacold riders set out in tandem as the final three minutes began, the shootout gearing up for its climactic conclusion as the pack pushed for pole.
Masia hit the top as the flag came out, with the first 2’15 of the day, the Spaniard securing the pole having sat at the back of the field for the entire of the session.
Foggia and Alcoba completed the celebrations with Guevara, Artigas and Suzuki maintaining their places on Sunday’s second row. The pole-man’s effort displacing McPhee to the head of row four, in 10th.