Fabio Quartararo will start his first ever home Grand Prix from pole position after rain brought a halt to qualifying at Le Mans. The French teenager clocked the fastest time in a frantic first few minutes before the weather turned nasty, ruining any chance of his rivals challenging him.
Conditions started to take a turn for the worse in the moments before qualifying got underway and predictably, a queue formed at the end of the pitlane to set a banker lap immediately. Many made mistakes as the drizzle steadily got heavier but Quartararo was the bravest rider of all, clocking a 1:44.763 to take pole by a tenth of a second from Estrella Galicia teammate Jorge Navarro.
The team’s initial joy was short-lived as Quartararo lost the front end of his Honda at turn one, seconds after setting the eventual pole time. The home favourite appeared to be suffering serious discomfort with his right hand but the smile soon returned once his pole position was confirmed. The timing of the shower wasn’t his only stroke of good fortune with Navarro barrelling into the gravel trap moments after him, thankfully avoiding his teammate.
The worst luck of all was saved for the Leopard Racing squad with all three of their riders failing to get a representative time in before the rain came down. As a result, championship leader Danny Kent will be at a serious disadvantage after qualifying 31st, although a penalty for Karel Hanika will promote him onto the tenth row.
Behind the Estrella Galicia Hondas, Francesco Bagnaia will start from the front row in third on his Mapfre Mahindra while Jakub Kornfeil will head the second row, just ahead of Romano Fenati and French youngster Jules Danilo. Niccolo Antonelli lines up seventh with Miguel Oliveira and Isaac Vinales for company on row three while Japanese rookie Tatsuki Suzuki took full advantage of the conditions to qualify a career-best tenth.
MOTO3 MONSTER ENERGY GRAND PRIX DE FRANCE: QUALIFYING RESULT
|1||20. Fabio Quartararo||Honda||Estrella Galicia 0,0||1:44.763|
|2||9. Jorge Navarro||Honda||Estrella Galicia 0,0||1:44.885|
|3||21. Francesco Bagnaia||Mahindra||Mapfre Mahindra Team||1:45.457|
|4||84. Jakub Kornfeil||KTM||Drive M7 SIC Racing Team||1:45.575|
|5||5. Romano Fenati||KTM||Sky Racing Team VR46||1:45.665|
|6||95. Jules Danilo||Honda||Ongetta-Rivacold||1:45.671|
|7||23. Niccolo Antonelli||Honda||Ongetta-Rivacold||1:45.689|
|8||44. Miguel Oliveira||KTM||Red Bull KTM Ajo||1:46.011|
|9||32. Isaac Vinales||Husqvarna||Husqvarna Factory Laglisse||1:46.234|
|10||24. Tatsuki Suzuki||Mahindra||CIP||1:46.846|
|11||6. Maria Herrera||Husqvarna||Husqvarna Factory Laglisse||1:46.885|
|12||12. Matteo Ferrari||Mahindra||San Carlo Team Italia||1:46.974|
|13||55. Andrea Locatelli||Honda||Junior Team Gresini Moto3||1:47.019|
|14||29. Stefano Manzi||Mahindra||San Carlo Team Italia||1:47.027|
|15||58. Juanfran Guevara||Mahindra||Mapfre Mahindra Team||1:47.037|
|16||16. Andrea Migno||KTM||Sky Racing Team VR46||1:47.130|
|17||2. Remy Gardner||Mahindra||CIP||1:47.171|
|18||33. Enea Bastianini||Honda||Junior Team Gresini Moto3||1:47.220|
|19||17. John McPhee||Honda||Saxoprint-RTG||1:47.225|
|20||31. Niklas Ajo||KTM||RBA Racing Team||1:47.556|
|21||19. Alessandro Tonucci||Mahindra||Outox Reset Drink Team||1:47.623|
|22||11. Livio Loi||Honda||RW Racing GP||1:48.004|
|23||91. Gabriel Rodrigo||KTM||RBA Racing Team||1:48.134|
|24||98. Karel Hanika||KTM||Red Bull KTM Ajo||1:48.380|
|25||41. Brad Binder||KTM||Red Bull KTM Ajo||1:48.402|
|26||10. Alexis Masbou||Honda||Saxoprint-RTG||1:48.474|
|27||40. Darryn Binder||Mahindra||Outox Reset Drink Team||1:49.631|
|28||22. Ana Carrasco||KTM||RBA Racing Team||1:51.344|
|29||7. Efren Vazquez||Honda||Leopard Racing||1:52.610|
|30||63. Zulfahmi Khairuddin||KTM||Drive M7 SIC Racing Team||1:52.778|
|31||52. Danny Kent||Honda||Leopard Racing||1:52.819|
|32||76. Hiroki Ono||Honda||Leopard Racing||1:53.276|
|33||65. Philipp Oettl||KTM||Schedl GP Racing||1:54.836|
|34||88. Jorge Martin||Mahindra||Mapfre Mahindra Team||2:06.206|