Danny Kent stormed to his third career pole position in Moto3 after completely dominating the qualifying session at the Circuit of the Americas. The Briton was virtually in a class of his own with his competitors struggling to get within half a second of his Leopard Racing Honda, let alone challenge him for pole position.
Kent began the session as favourite having topped Saturday morning’s practice session but the afternoon couldn’t have got off to a worse start for fellow Briton John McPhee. Exiting the penultimate corner of his out lap, the Saxoprint rider glanced over his shoulder, only to encounter a touring Livio Loi when his focused switched back to the circuit ahead of him. The Belgian was pulling across the track at slow speed on the approach to turn 20 and McPhee was unable to avoid piling into the back of him. Although both riders were uninjured, they may have to explain their actions to race direction.
The session continued despite the collision but the red flags were soon out following a crash for Hiroki Ono which left the Japanese rookie prone in the middle of the track. Sensibly, race direction called an immediate halt to the session while Ono was treated but the youngster was soon back to his feet and able to re-join the fray.
Following the positive news on the condition of one rider, Leopard Racing were soon able to celebrate another with Kent on top of the leaderboard on a 2:16.577 and the 21 year old was soon in uncharted territory with his next lap breaking the absolute circuit record. The main battle for the remainder of the session wasn’t between Danny and another rider, but the stopwatch, as he improved to a 2:15.344 by the finish.
Miguel Oliveira closed the gap to 0.485s in second with Andrea Locatelli putting in a career-best performance to take the final place on the front row. Niccolo Antonelli trailed his compatriot in fourth with Estrella Galicia duo Jorge Navarro and Fabio Quartararo rounding out the second row. Isaac Vinales will start seventh for Laglisse ahead of Qatar star Enea Bastianini and Francesco Bagnaia while championship leader Alexis Masbou completes the top ten.
Moto3 Red Bull Grand Prix of the Americas: Qualifying Classification
|1||52. Danny Kent||Honda||Leopard Racing||2:15.344|
|2||44. Miguel Oliveira||KTM||Red Bull KTM Ajo||2:15.829|
|3||55. Andrea Locatelli||Honda||Junior Team Gresini Moto3||2:16.090|
|4||23. Niccolo Antonelli||Honda||Ongetta-Rivacold||2:16.101|
|5||9. Jorge Navarro||Honda||Estrella Galicia 0,0||2:16.144|
|6||20. Fabio Quartararo||Honda||Estrella Galicia 0,0||2:16.150|
|7||32. Isaac Vinales||Husqvarna||Husqvarna Factory Laglisse||2:16.335|
|8||33. Enea Bastianini||Honda||Junior Team Gresini Moto3||2:16.400|
|9||21. Francesco Bagnaia||Mahindra||Mapfre Mahindra Team||2:16.417|
|10||10. Alexis Masbou||Honda||Saxoprint-RTG||2:16.576|
|11||41. Brad Binder||KTM||Red Bull KTM Ajo||2:16.735|
|12||88. Jorge Martin||Mahindra||Mapfre Mahindra Team||2:16.849|
|13||58. Juanfran Guevara||Mahindra||Mapfre Mahindra Team||2:16.945|
|14||11. Livio Loi||Honda||RW Racing GP||2:16.954|
|15||17. John McPhee||Honda||Saxoprint-RTG||2:16.992|
|16||7. Efren Vazquez||Honda||Leopard Racing||2:17.012|
|17||76. Hiroki Ono||Honda||Leopard Racing||2:17.173|
|18||95. Jules Danilo||Honda||Ongetta-Rivacold||2:17.434|
|19||5. Romano Fenati||KTM||Sky Racing Team VR46||2:17.469|
|20||98. Karel Hanika||KTM||Red Bull KTM Ajo||2:17.485|
|21||31. Niklas Ajo||KTM||RBA Racing Team||2:17.487|
|22||16. Andrea Migno||KTM||Sky Racing Team VR46||2:17.518|
|23||84. Jakub Kornfeil||KTM||Drive M7 SIC Racing Team||2:17.621|
|24||12. Matteo Ferrari||Mahindra||San Carlo Team Italia||2:17.653|
|25||29. Stefano Manzi||Mahindra||San Carlo Team Italia||2:17.659|
|26||19. Alessandro Tonucci||Mahindra||Outox Reset Drink Team||2:17.894|
|27||2. Remy Gardner||Mahindra||CIP||2:17.894|
|28||63. Zulfahmi Khairuddin||KTM||Drive M7 SIC Racing Team||2:17.941|
|29||24. Tatsuki Suzuki||Mahindra||CIP||2:18.024|
|30||91. Gabriel Rodrigo||KTM||RBA Racing Team||2:18.303|
|31||6. Maria Herrera||Husqvarna||Husqvarna Factory Laglisse||2:18.631|
|32||65. Philipp Oettl||KTM||Schedl GP Racing||2:19.073|
|33||22. Ana Carrasco||KTM||RBA Racing Team||2:19.181|
|34||40. Darryn Binder||Mahindra||Outox Reset Drink Team||2:19.253|