Antonelli on Pole after Chaotic Qualifying at Sepang

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Niccolo Antonelli snatched pole position for tomorrow’s Malaysian Moto3 Grand Prix in another session dominated by farcical scenes involving traffic. Despite riding on one of the calendar’s longest and widest circuits, riders were seen constantly waiting together for slipstreams with Antonelli finally executing a clean lap at the last attempt to take pole.

Miguel Oliveira, the only rider left with a mathematical chance of catching Danny Kent in the world championship, set the early pace on a 2:12.893 and it looked as though the hard work would be done for him as his rivals proceeded to tip each other up. Kent was among those particularly affected with the points leader a target for riders seeking a slipstream and with time running out, frustration seemed to be getting the better of him.

The leading positions would remain unchanged until the chequered flag was thrown with Jorge Navarro ending Oliveira’s spell at the top with a 2:12.700 but a few metres behind him., Antonelli clocked a 2:12.653 to wrestle pole away immediately. Having failed to improve on his early effort, Oliveira was demoted to third and the outside of the front row.

Efren Vazquez took fourth for Leopard ahead of Jakub Kornfeil who secured fifth place for the Sepang International Circuit squad. Kent finally put the traffic issues behind in the dying seconds to qualify sixth, rescuing a session that looked set to leave him on the fifth row of the grid, while Romano Fenati and Francesco Bagnaia, Kent’s nemesis in Australia, will line up right behind in seventh and eighth.

Enea Bastianini will start ninth ahead of home favourite Zulfahmi Khairuddin while Phillip Island polesitter John McPhee ended the day in thirteenth after a heavy crash in free practice.



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