Sky Racing Team VR46’s Romano Fenati nipped Livio Loi (RW Racing GP BV) for the first Moto3 pole position of 2016 in Qatar as the desert strong winds had the better of Moto3 Qualifying session With conditions reported to be slightly warmer during the Moto3 Qualifiers than it had been during the Free Practice Sessions, the 2016 Moto3™ World Championship could not have waited further. Livio Loi (RW Racing GP BV) maintained his supremacy in the lightweight class having posted the fastest time of 2’05.832 in Free Practice since Thursday with no rider close to his time.
Before the Qualifiers, Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Ajo) and Bo Bendsneyder (Red Bull KTM Ajo) were handed the no so good news when it was announced that both riders were handed a three-place grid penalty for riding slowly in three sectors in excess of the 110% limit of their fastest sector times in Free Practice 3.
Riders were out for a slipstream, a tow down the 1,068-meter long straight worth over half a second, an eternity in Moto3™. As a result formation flying between teammates was a common sight throughout the session.
Romano Fenati (Sky Racing Team VR46) pushed harder in the dying seconds of the session and scored a pole position, just the second pole of his long career in the lightweight class. His first came at the Japanese GP in 2015, where he went on to finish 28th. The young Italian set a 2’06.131 to end 0.047s ahead of Loi.
Loi had been in control of the session until Fenati’s lap but the Belgian remains pleased with his second place start, having never started on the front row before. His time from the opening day of practice still remains as the fastest time of the weekend and he knows there is more to come on race day.
Completing the front row was Brad Binder, the South African setting a 2’06.245 but due to his penalty he will start sixth. This promoted Fabio Quartararo (Leopard Racing) to the front row of the grid for Sunday’s Commercial Bank Grand Prix of Qatar.
In turn Jorge Navarro (Estrella Galicia 0,0) moves to fourth and heads the second row. Aron Canet (Estrella Galicia 0,0), Brad Binder, Niccolo Antonelli (Ongetta-Rivacold), Enea Bastianini (Gresini Racing Moto3), Philipp Oettl (Schedl GP Racing) and Joan Mir (Leopard Racing) rounded out the top ten. In classic Moto3™ style, the top 19 riders were split by under a second and there’s little indication that Sunday’s race will be anything other than a battle of bravery and wits.
Rookie Bendsneyder had been eighth but like his teammate Binder, was demoted three places.
There was a fall mid session for Niccolo Antonelli at Turn 13, his third crash of the weekend. This was quickly followed by Jorge Navarro (Estrella Galicia 0,0) going down at Turn 6 and Lorenzo Petrarca (3570 Team Italia) falling at Turn 14. Joan Mir also fell after setting his fastest time. All riders were unhurt.
Racing begins at 18:00 Local Time on Sunday the 20th, the Moto3™ riders doing battle over 18 laps of the Qatar International Circuit.
(Report Credit MotoGP.com)