Nicolo Bulega showed the form which took him to the Moto3 Junior World Championship by claiming his first pole position at Grand Prix level at Jerez. The Italian, benefiting from his familiarity with the Spanish circuits, outpaced championship frontrunners Brad Binder and Jorge Navarro as traffic prevented any late improvements.
In the early stages, Enea Bastianini set the benchmark on a 1:47.348 ahead of compatriot Niccolo Antonelli but Navarro quickly established his superiority, lapping a third of a second faster. The Spaniard would become the first rider to break into the 1:46s on his second run but Antonelli’s pole position bid soon faltered, the Ongetta rider losing the front end of his Honda at the final corner and hobbling away from the scene.
Binder had been the dominant force through free practice and the South African looked set to launch a pole position challenge in the closing stages but he had already been upstaged by Bulega, the Sky VR46 rider knocking half a second off Navarro’s time to go quickest. Binder did produce a personal best to edge out the Spaniard but Bulega’s stunning improvement left the championship leader to settle for second.
Francesco Bagnaia leapt up to third on the Aspar Mahindra late on, relegating the pain-stricken Antonelli to fifth, while Enea Bastianini tumbled to sixth after a slow-speed crash at turn two on his Gresini Honda. Joan Mir will head the third row on the leading Leopard KTM with Juanfran Guevara and Romano Fenati alongside while Jakub Kornfeil rounds out the top ten.
Moto3 Gran Premio Red Bull de Espana (Qualifying Classification)
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