Romano Fenati denied Livio Loi his maiden Moto3 pole position with a sensational last gasp effort in qualifying at Losail. Loi had been the dominant rider in free practice and looked set for pole after taking top spot midway through the session but Fenati’s final lap of the evening triggered celebratory scenes in the Sky Racing VR46 camp.
Under the Losail floodlights, Fenati made the brightest start, becoming the first rider to break into the 2:06s bracket seven minutes in. The balance of power would soon shift from Sky VR46 to Leopard Racing with Fabio Quartararo and Joan Mir towing each other to first and second respectively but the French youngster found improvements tough going from that point onwards, sliding off the track twice in the space of a lap as he chased a quicker lap time.
Quartararo’s mood wasn’t helped by the sight of Loi snatching provisional pole, the Belgian clocking a 2:06.520 shortly after halfway and when the RW Racing rider improved by a further three tenths on his final run, pole appeared to be his. That still seemed to be the case when the chequered flag flew but despite a deficit of two tenths heading into the final sector, Fenati hauled it back with a superb run through the final sequence of bends, seeing him pip Loi to pole by 0.047s.
Red Bull KTM Ajo teammates Brad Binder and Bo Bendsneyder worked expertly to slipstream themselves up the order, finishing third and eighth respectively, but three-place penalties for both will drop them down the grid after they were found guilty of riding too slowly on the racing line. Quartararo will be promoted onto the front row as a result while Estrella Galicia duo Jorge Navarro and Aron Canet will line up fourth and fifth, just ahead of Binder.
Niccolo Antonelli will start seventh despite a crash at turn thirteen with Enea Bastianini and Philipp Oettl alongside on row three while Bendsneyder’s penalty lifts fellow rookie Joan Mir into the top ten.
Moto3 Commercial Bank Grand Prix of Qatar (Qualifying Classification)
|1||5. Romano Fenati||KTM||Sky Racing Team VR46||2:06.131|
|2||11. Livio Loi||Honda||RW Racing GP BV||2:06.178|
|3||41. Brad Binder||KTM||Red Bull KTM Ajo||2:06.245|
|4||20. Fabio Quartararo||KTM||Leopard Racing||2:06.399|
|5||9. Jorge Navarro||Honda||Estrella Galicia 0,0||2:06.448|
|6||44. Aron Canet||Honda||Estrella Galicia 0,0||2:06.462|
|7||23. Niccolo Antonelli||Honda||Ongetta-Rivacold||2:06.536|
|8||64. Bo Bendsneyder||KTM||Red Bull KTM Ajo||2:06.539|
|9||33. Enea Bastianini||Honda||Gresini Racing Moto3||2:06.657|
|10||65. Philipp Oettl||KTM||Schedl GP Racing||2:06.707|
|11||36. Joan Mir||KTM||Leopard Racing||2:06.728|
|12||21. Francesco Bagnaia||Mahindra||ASPAR MAHINDRA Team Moto3||2:06.733|
|13||8. Nicolo Bulega||KTM||Sky Racing Team VR46||2:06.786|
|14||88. Jorge Martin||Mahindra||ASPAR MAHINDRA Team Moto3||2:06.931|
|15||58. Juanfran Guevara||KTM||RBA Racing Team||2:06.939|
|16||84. Jakub Kornfeil||Honda||Drive M7 SIC Racing Team||2:06.948|
|17||89. Khairul Idham Pawi||Honda||Honda Team Asia||2:06.982|
|18||19. Gabriel Rodrigo||KTM||RBA Racing Team||2:06.983|
|19||16. Andrea Migno||KTM||Sky Racing Team VR46||2:07.101|
|20||55. Andrea Locatelli||KTM||Leopard Racing||2:07.170|
|21||10. Alexis Masbou||Peugeot||Peugeot MC Saxoprint||2:07.209|
|22||95. Jules Danilo||Honda||Ongetta-Rivacold||2:07.220|
|23||98. Karel Hanika||Mahindra||Platinum Bay Real Estate||2:07.359|
|24||6. Maria Herrera||KTM||Team Laglisse||2:07.371|
|25||24. Tatsuki Suzuki||Mahindra||CIP-Unicom Starker||2:07.441|
|26||40. Darryn Binder||Mahindra||Platinum Bay Real Estate||2:07.558|
|27||7. Adam Norrodin||Honda||Drive M7 SIC Racing Team||2:07.582|
|28||4. Fabio di Giannantonio||Honda||Gresini Racing Moto3||2:07.611|
|29||76. Hiroki Ono||Honda||Honda Team Asia||2:07.801|
|30||17. John McPhee||Peugeot||Peugeot MC Saxoprint||2:07.847|
|31||43. Stefano Valtulini||Mahindra||3570 Team Italia||2:08.336|
|32||3. Fabio Spiranelli||Mahindra||CIP-Unicom Starker||2:10.229|
|33||77. Lorenzo Petrarca||Mahindra||3570 Team Italia||2:10.433|