Leopard’s Dennis Foggia mastered the Le Mans circuit for his maiden Moto3 pole position on Saturday with a 1’41.621 lap.
The Italian finally claimed his Tissot watch after 79 world championship starts with teammate Tatsuki Suzuki and Red Bull KTM’s Jaume Masia completing the front row.
Qualifying action kicked off as usual with the lightweight class. VisionTrack’s Scott Ogden and Josh Whatley facing a battered and bruised Deniz Öncü - following his monster FP3 highside - Kaito Toba and home hero Lorenzo Fellon amongst the 16-into-4 way fight for promotion.
Oncu set the early pace on the Tech3 KTM with a 1’42.710, Ogden second with Fellon and teammate Riccardo Rossi running third and fourth before the Sic58 duo took charge overall. Ogden and Fellon almost coming together at the Dunlop chicane as the third laps got underway.
The final push saw Öncü back at the front with a 1’42.475. Matteo Bertelle claiming third as he split the Sic58 riders and demoted Ogden out of the promotion zone in the closing minute. The Brit unable to improve with his last lap, as he was forced out of the seat through turn eight and settling for fifth at the flag. A late move from the second Avintia of Elia Bartolini dropping the Honda back another place as the pair looked to line up on row seven for Sunday’s race.
The pole battle opened with Izan Guevara almost tripping up the CFMoto of Carlos Tatay as he dived into pitlane without warning. Öncü harnessing his momentum to head the opening times once again with a 1’42.260 from fellow KTM riders MT Helmets’ Diogo Moreira, and the Ajo duo of Masia and Daniel Holgado.
Leopard’s Foggia and Suzuki sat a dominant first and second at the halfway stage as the pace entered the 1’41’s. Rivacold Snipers’ Andrea Migno claiming third, half a second back before Öncü, Guevara, Joel Kelso and Sergio Garcia arrived and displaced him down to seventh.
The second runs fired up with John McPhee in 15th, one place ahead of Sterilgarda teammate Ayumu Sasaki. Masia pushing first as he aimed to promote himself from ninth, with a lap worthy of third before the pack followed suit. Tatay rose to fourth on the tail of the KTM with Migno fifth a Masia dug deep once again. Moreira crossed the line for the last time in fourth, the leading trio unchanged with the top six covered by three-tenths as Foggia advanced the outright pace with his closing effort to secure the pole.
Garcia claimed seventh from Guevara, Rossi, Öncü and Kelso with Sasaki improving to 12th on his final lap. Ryusei Yamanaka, Holgado, Artigas and Fellon leading McPhee and Bertelle at the back of the top 18.