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MotoGP Portimao: Migno takes pole as Moto3 antics continue to wreak havoc

Snipers’ Andrea Migno scored pole for the Portuguese GP with a determined lap just 0.025s off the Portimao Moto3 lap record. 

Dennis Foggia and Jeremy Alcoba initially secured the remaining front row positions, with the latter Gresini rider forsaking his place thanks to his Doha penalty, Sergio Garcia the lucky promotion recipient. John McPhee will likewise relinquish a strong, second row, start after qualifying sixth. 

Blue skies and scattered clouds presented a perfect picture as qualifying began ahead of the PortugueseGP. The rollercoaster layout recording 38℃ track temperatures for the Moto3 Q1 as Romano Fenati returned directly to the pitlane after an exploratory lap on track, two BOE Owlride machines, belonging to Riccardo Rossi and Stefano Nepa, following suit. 


Ayumu Sasaki led the way with a 1’48.980, as the first times registered, Adrian Fernandez, Andi Farid Izdihar and Filip Salac initially securing the last of the promotion places. The Italian trio finally returned to the action with seven minutes to go just as the remaining pack headed back to the pits. 

Dominant from the outset, Fenati was on a charge as he claimed second with his first attempt, one-tenth down on the fastest time so far, before raising the bar once again to head the session with a 1’48.845. Nepa and Rossi slotting into eighth and 11th respectively with the pair unable to follow the Max Racing rider for the coveted slipstream advantage.  

As the rest of the pack returned for their flying laps, Kaito Toba fell foul of turn five, the CIP man’s previous best only enough for seventh before the remaining times came in.

The flag dropped with Fenati easily in command from Sasaki, Salac and Fernandez. Izdihar forced to settle for fifth and lining up 19th on Sunday’s grid after a promising performance from the Honda Asia rider in the morning’s free practice. 

Q2 fired up instantly with Alcoba leading the way with an impressive 1’48.153, McPhee joining him on front row pace moments later, despite the pair facing pitlane starts for Sunday’s contest. Migno took charge with his third lap, followed closely by Gabriel Rodrigo as the pair circulated in the high ’47’s, Garcia sweeping through for fourth as the Scot was demoted to fifth, ahead of his Petronas teammate Darryn Binder. The remaining top-10 positions held en masse by four KTM’s before Foggia spoilt the pattern by stealing 10th from Pedro Acosta. 

The riders rolled out of pitlane for their second runs with just two minutes remaining, the pack tripping over each other in the final corners as they approached the line for their final hot-lap, Niccolò Antonelli missing out as he found the flag before attempting a fast time. A crash for Rodrigo and Salac at turn three also ruining the pair’s attempts. 

Migno stole the show with a 1’47.423 from Foggia and Alcoba, Garcia, Rodrigo and McPhee claiming times worthy of a second row start. Deniz Öncü, Binder and Xavier Artigas will sit behind on row three. Sasaki claimed 10th ahead of Jaume Masia and Acosta with Tatsuki Suzuki, Fenati, and Izan Guevara on row five. Fernandez, Antonelli and Salac concluded the top-18.

Yuki Kunii and Toba join Izdihar on row seven after Q1’s battle with Ryusei Yamanaka, Max Kofler and Carlos Tatay behind on row eight. Nepa, Rossi and Jason Dupasquier take row nine starts with Lorenzo Fellon concluding the standings in 28th, however, with McPhee and Alcoba removed from Sunday’s grid there will be a two place reshuffle for the remaining players. 

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