Masbou Grabs Maiden Moto3 Pole in Qatar

Alexis Masbou claimed his maiden Moto3 pole position at the 142nd attempt after playing his tactics to perfection in the closing stages of qualifying at Losail. The Frenchman managed to find a slipstream at the ideal moment to snatch pole from Isaac Vinales while the pre-session favourites all underperformed.

Miguel Oliveira and Danny Kent entered the crucial qualifying session as the men to beat having topped the three practice sessions between them and the Portuguese rider led at the halfway stage, clocking a 2:06.378. Unfortunately for Red Bull KTM Ajo, their new signing failed to improve in the time that remained and subsequently slipped down the leaderboard.

Niccolo Antonelli looked the rider most likely to depose Oliveira with the Italian three quarters of the way into a potential pole lap but as he pulled onto the start/finish straight, Masbou, the rider he replaced at Ongetta, locked his Saxoprint Honda into his slipstream and breezed past on the run to the line. Antonelli slotted in just behind Oliveira but Masbou leapfrogged the pair of them with a 2:06.170.

With a minute remaining, Antonelli embarked on another blistering lap, leading Masbou by almost half a second at the second checkpoint, but traffic in the final sector denied him a certain pole and left him a frustrated third. Isaac Vinales ghosted into second after some clever tactics of his own while Francesco Bagnaia used a slipstream to tow his Mahindra up to fourth.

John McPhee produced a last ditch flyer to take fifth ahead of leading rookie Fabio Quartararo and Andrea Locatelli while Oliveira and Kent were relegated to eighth and ninth, meaning they will share the third row tomorrow as opposed to the front as many had predicted. Efren Vazquez completes the top ten on the second Leopard Honda with just three tenths separating him from the polesitter.


Moto3 Commercial Bank Grand Prix of Qatar: Qualifying Classification

PosRiderConstructorTeamBest Time
110. Alexis MasbouHondaSaxoprint-RTG2:06.170
232. Isaac VinalesHusqvarnaHusqvarna Factory Laglisse2:06.237
323. Niccolo AntonelliHondaOngetta-Rivacold2:06.245
421. Francesco BagnaiaMahindraMapfre Mahindra Team2:06.253
517. John McPheeHondaSaxoprint-RTG2:06.254
620. Fabio QuartararoHondaEstrella Galicia 0,02:06.293
755. Andrea LocatelliHondaJunior Team Gresini Moto32:06.323
844. Miguel OliveiraKTMRed Bull KTM Ajo2:06.378
952. Danny KentHondaLeopard Racing2:06.426
107. Efren VazquezHondaLeopard Racing2:06.465
1111. Livio LoiHondaRW Racing GP2:06.551
129. Jorge NavarroHondaEstrella Galicia 0,02:06.574
1341. Brad BinderKTMRed Bull KTM Ajo2:06.729
1498. Karel HanikaKTMRed Bull KTM Ajo2:06.815
1576. Hiroki OnoHondaLeopard Racing2:06.829
1631. Niklas AjoKTMRBA Racing Team2:06.891
175. Romano FenatiKTMSky Racing Team VR462:07.099
1895. Jules DaniloHondaOngetta-Rivacold2:07.195
192. Remy GardnerMahindraCIP2:07.235
2040. Darryn BinderMahindraOutox Reset Drink Team2:07.250
2133. Enea BastianiniHondaJunior Team Gresini Moto32:07.308
2265. Philipp OettlKTMSchedl GP Racing2:07.320
2319. Alessandro TonucciMahindraOutox Reset Drink Team2:07.325
2458. Juanfran GuevaraMahindraMapfre Mahindra Team2:07.387
2588. Jorge MartinMahindraMapfre Mahindra Team2:07.459
2684. Jakub KornfeilKTMDrive M7 SIC Racing Team2:07.602
2791. Gabriel RodrigoKTMRBA Racing Team2:08.035
2863. Zulfahmi KhairuddinKTMDrive M7 SIC Racing Team2:08.040
2916. Andrea MignoKTMSky Racing Team VR462:08.350
3012. Matteo FerrariMahindraSan Carlo Team Italia2:08.497
3124. Tatsuki SuzukiMahindraCIP2:08.753
326. Maria HerreraHusqvarnaHusqvarna Factory Laglisse2:09.431
3353. Marco BezzecchiMahindraSan Carlo Team Italia2:09.757
3461. Loris CressonKTMRBA Racing Team2:13.015