Antonelli Snatches Last Gasp Pole from Binder

Niccolo Antonelli left it late before claiming his first pole position of the season at Le Mans, denying Brad Binder in the dying seconds. The championship leader topped the session midway through and looked set to hang onto top spot until Antonelli found a gap in the traffic to outpace him on his last lap of the afternoon.

After the free practice leaderboard took on an unfamiliar look, there didn’t appear to be a clear favourite for pole position and Jakub Kornfeil was the surprise pacesetter early on, clocking a 1:43.214. The Czech rider was usurped by Romano Fenati at the ten minute mark and his session soon took another turn for the worse with a heavy crash at turn twelve effectively ending his session.

Fenati later improved to a 1:42.888 but he was immediately demoted to second by his Sky VR46 teammate Nicolo Bulega, the rookie chasing back-to-back poles. Like Kornfeil, his hopes would be ended by a crash with the Italian highsiding at the Dunlop chicane but despite initially favouring his wrist, Nicolo was declared ok afterwards.

With a quarter of an hour remaining, the session looked to have taken its decisive turn with Binder, who had early been stripped of a provisional pole time for exceeding track limits, going fastest on a 1:42.823. Antonelli had other ideas though, and with the chequered flag waving, the Ongetta rider shaved six hundredths of a second off the South African’s time to claim his fourth career pole.

Aron Canet, winner of the CEV Moto3 race here last year, took a fine third for Estrella Galicia, edging out his teammate Jorge Navarro, while the Sky VR46 KTMs of Fenati and Bulega complete the second row. Juanfran Guevara will start a superb seventh ahead of leading Frenchman Fabio Quartararo while rookie duo Khairul Idham Pawi and Fabio Di Giannantonio completed the top ten.


Moto3 Monster Energy Grand Prix de France (Qualifying Classification)

PosRiderConstructorTeamBest Time
123. Niccolo AntonelliHondaOngetta-Rivacold1:42.756
241. Brad BinderKTMRed Bull KTM Ajo1:42.823
344. Aron CanetHondaEstrella Galicia 0,01:42.825
49. Jorge NavarroHondaEstrella Galicia 0,01:42.842
55. Romano FenatiKTMSky Racing Team VR461:42.865
68. Nicolo BulegaKTMSky Racing Team VR461:42.888
758. Juanfran GuevaraKTMRBA Racing Team1:43.084
820. Fabio QuartararoKTMLeopard Racing1:43.092
989. Khairul Idham PawiHondaHonda Team Asia1:42.106
104. Fabio Di GiannantonioHondaGresini Racing Moto31:43.198
1184. Jakub KornfeilHondaDrive M7 SIC Racing Team1:43.214
1211. Livio LoiHondaRW Racing GP BV1:43.224
1324. Tatsuki SuzukiMahindraCIP-Unicom Starker1:43.275
1455. Andrea LocatelliKTMLeopard Racing1:43.330
1510. Alexis MasbouPeugeotPeugeot MC Saxoprint1:43.353
1676. Hiroki OnoHondaHonda Team Asia1:43.376
1716. Andrea MignoKTMSky Racing Team VR461:43.448
1865. Philipp OettlKTMSchedl GP Racing1:43.458
1921. Francesco BagnaiaMahindraASPAR MAHINDRA Team Moto31:43.496
2019. Gabriel RodrigoKTMRBA Racing Team1:43.643
2164. Bo BendsneyderKTMRed Bull KTM Ajo1:43.687
2240. Darryn BinderMahindraPlatinum Bay Real Estate1:43.725
2388. Jorge MartinMahindraASPAR MAHINDRA Team Moto31:43.732
2436. Joan MirKTMLeopard Racing1:43.766
2517. John McPheePeugeotPeugeot MC Saxoprint1:43.767
2698. Karel HanikaMahindraPlatinum Bay Real Estate1:43.807
2795. Jules DaniloHondaOngetta-Rivacold1:44.056
2843. Stefano ValtuliniMahindra3570 Team Italia1:44.214
2999. Enzo BoulomKTMProcercasa - 42 Motorsport1:44.314
306. Maria HerreraKTMMH6 Team1:44.378
317. Adam NorrodinHondaDrive M7 SIC Racing Team1:45.207
3277. Lorenzo PetrarcaMahindra3570 Team Italia1:45.526
333. Fabio SpiranelliMahindraCIP-Unicom Starker1:45.603
NQ37. Davide PizzoliKTMProcercasa - 42 MotorsportNo Time