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MotoGP Mandalika: Tatay takes Moto3 pole as Aji delights home crowd

CFMoto’s Carlos Tatay claimed Moto3 pole for the first IndonesianGP in 25 years but it was local rider Mario Aji making headlines.

The Indonesian Honda Team Asia rider secured third with his final lap of qualifying, having fought his way through from Q1, narrowly behind another superb performance from MT Helmets’ rookie Diogo Moreira.

Qualifying kicked off with the lightweight class’ first taste of a dry track on Saturday after morning rain had prevented improvements during FP3. Laptimes over seven-seconds down on Friday’s best with Rivacold Snipers’ Andrea Migno continuing to lead the pace.


As Q1 unfolded CIP Green Power’s Joel Kelso suffered, but saved, a major moment before a twitch over the kerb for Sergio Garcia caught the GasGas rider out at turn 12. Honda’s Aji was out front as the times began to improve. The Indonesian rider’s 1’42.604 lap heading Leopard’s Tatsuki Suzuki, SIC58’s Lorenzo Fellon and PruestelGP’s Xavier Artigas in the promotion zone with Daniel Holgado just a tenth adrift on the KTM and six minutes left on the clock.

Kaito Toba crashed the second CIP machine out of contention at turn two as the final runs prepared, Bye SKX’s Ana Carrasco promoting herself to tenth in the times above Josh Whatley on the VisionTrack Honda.

Garcia was back on track and running red sectors as the final two minutes began, the Aspar securing second at the line for his place in the final shootout. The heat continued as the concluding laps began to register, Stefano Nepa the first to meet the flag on his way to fourth with a precarious wait for the pack to come home.

The late shuffle found Garcia on top with a 1’42.302 and home hero Aji, Artigas and Alberta Surra clinching the remaining promotion places, despite a late wobble from the CFMoto rider in the final sector. Holgado was once again forced to settle for fifth on the Red Bull Ajo with a disappointed Suzuki behind. Carrasco consolidated 10th, for 24th on Sunday’s grid, with Whatley 13th, and 27th overall.

The first push for pole began with Ricardo Rossi suffering a major highside at turn two, and taken to the medical centre for checks, with Aji in charge in the times thanks to a 1’42.051. Ayumu Sasaki sat second on this weekend’s sole Sterilgarda Husqvarna - with John McPhee out due to fractured vertebrae - Leopard’s Dennis Foggia holding the final front row spot at the halfway stage.

Tatay spoiled the local show with seven minutes on the clock as the PruestelGP advanced the pace. Izan Guevara trailing the home talent for third as Foggia crashed out from fifth as turn two claimed its next victim.

Four minutes to go and the pack rolled out of pitlane. Scott Ogden the only rider yet to have qualified a time. Tatay consolidated his provisional pole with the first 1’41 of the day, his teammate following for second until rookie Moreira and Aji demoted Artigas to fourth - much to the delight of the local crowd.

Artigas settled for fourth at the flag from Qatar winner Migno and Foggia with Garcia, Guevara and Deniz Öncü securing row three for Sunday’s 23-lap race. Sasaki sat tenth as qualifying concluded, ahead of Jaume Masia, Surra, Elia Bartolini and Ivan Ortola. Rossi’s earlier effort left him 15th with Matteo Bertelle and Adrian Fernandez completing the set. Ogden failing to record a time in the 15-minute session.

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