Britain’s Danny Kent has taken his first Moto3 pole position of the year at the Motegi MotoGP round, smashing his own outright lap record in the process as John McPhee joins him on the front row.
The Husqvarna man was quickest on Friday at the Japanese venue of his first ever GP win in 2012 Kent produced a superb 1’56’555 to take top spot.
"I'm very happy to have taken a second pole position of my career –o nce again here in Japan – and the first for Husqvarna. Throughout the weekend I have had a very good feeling with the bike and have been very comfortable right from the first free practice session yesterday. We go into the race tomorrow very confident and I hope to put in a good performance," said Kent.
Behind Kent, Niccolo Antonelli on the Junior Team GO&FUN made an improvement in the final stages to qualify second with McPhee’s (SaxoPrint-RTG Honda just 0.008s further back.
Miguel Oliveira (Mahindra Racing) qualified fourth, whilst Jack Miller (Red Bull KTM Ajo) survived a big crash to secure fifth. The second row was completed by Isaac Viñales (Calvo Team).
Championship leader Alex Marquez (Estrella Galicia 0,0), Brad Binder (Ambrogio Racing) and Alex Rins (Estrella Galicia 0,0) make up row three, despite a crash for Rins in the session. The top ten was completed by Juanfran Guevara (Mapfre Aspar Team Moto3) who therefore heads row four.
Rins had an early fall but was able to get his Honda back to the pits where his team quickly repaired the bike. Fellow title rival Miller had a vicious highside exiting Turn 5, but was unhurt and able to quickly rejoin the session.
The final five minutes saw Karel Hanika (Red Bull KTM Ajo) have his second fall of the day, Alexis Masbou (Ongetta-Rivacold) and Matteo Ferrari (San Carlo Team Italia) also fell together but were unhurt. Zulfahmi Khairuddin (Ongetta-AriAsia) crashed on his final flying lap. None of the riders were hurt in their crashes.