Red Bull KTM Ajo’s Daniel Holgado claimed his maiden Moto3 pole position for the team’s home Austrian Grand Prix.
Sterilgarda Husqvarna’s Ayumu Sasaki staked his claim on the Red Bull Ring’s front row with a lap worthy of pole until the final seconds, the KTM rookie denying the Japanese rider by just one hundredth of a second with further home success for Tech3 as Deniz Öncü claimed third.
Qualifying for the lightweight class found Rivacold Snipers’ Andrea Migno and Leopard’s Tatsuki Suzuki heading the Q1 charge for the final four promotion places. Cloud cover intensifying as only CIP Green Power’s Joel Kelso and VisionTrack’s Josh Whatley ventured out on circuit in the opening five minutes.
Mind games continued across the session until the action finally ignited in the final five minutes as Suzuki took charge on 1’42.357 pace followed by MTA’s Ivan Ortola and Honda’s Taiyo Furusato.
Furusato improved next time around to top the standings from Migno as Adrian Fernandez slotted the Red Bull KMT Tech3 machine into fourth in front of the home fans. Suzuki returning to the fore with a 1’41.977 as MT Helmets’ Ryusei Yamanaka, Ortola and Furusato staked their claim on promotion.
A final flurry as the flag dropped found the top two safe while Kelso and Migno collected entry to Q2 in the dying seconds.
The fight for pole began with Leopard’s Dennis Foggia heading teammate Suzuki at the front on 1’41.6 pace as Sasaki circulated just 0.026s adrift in third. Rookie Diogo Moreira, Migno, Kaito Toba and Yamanaka sitting mid-pack with Izan Guevara, Ricardo Rossi and morning pace-setter Öncü rounding out the top ten.
Sasaki stormed to the top next time around with a 1’41.2 as Guevara improved to fourth while the Red Bulls of Jaume Masia and Holgado arrived to the top six. Max Racing’s second rider, John McPhee seeming t o struggle from the back of the pack with VisionTrack’s Scott Ogden two ahead.
Masia suffered the first crash of the session at turn three at the halfway stage as his teammate's personal best was discarded due to track limits. Championship leader Sergio Garcia circulating in 13th with five minutes left on the clock.
The final flurry saw the pack exit pit lane with just 90 seconds left of the session. Holgado the first to strive for success with a move to second as Moreira claimed fourth in the middle of the two Leopards. McPhee meeting the flag unable to improve from 18th with a 1’42.951 best as his Sterilgarda teammate maintained control.
Holgado continued to improve in the final seconds with a 1’41.234 to take the session by one hundredth of a second as Öncü and Sic58’s Rossi bettered the Silverstone winner in the top five. AutoSolar GasGas Aspar’s Garcia lining up for Sunday’s 23-lap race from eleventh on the grid with Guevara three ahead in eighth.