Martin Snatches Le Mans Pole after Bulega Penalty

Jorge Martin - Photo Credit:

Jorge Martin claimed his third pole position from five races at the start of 2017 after a dramatic conclusion to qualifying at Le Mans. The Spaniard appeared to have been beaten to pole by Nicolo Bulega but the Sky VR46 rider saw his fastest lap deleted for exceeding track limits, dropping him to second on the grid.

Shortly after the halfway point, Moto3’s form rider Romano Fenati established himself as the man to beat, clocking the first sub-1:43 lap of the afternoon. The Italian, who has scored 45 points from a possible 50 in the last two races, looked on course for pole when drizzle started to fall, forcing most riders back into the pits.

Fortunately, the weather cleared up again and the chief beneficiary was Martin who had previously languished back in twentieth. Bulega had moved to the top with a minute to go and while the Italian was going about improving his time, Martin was locked onto the KTM’s slipstream. Bulega did set a new benchmark but crucially, had run beyond the kerb on the exit of the Chemin aux Boeufs chicane, attracting the attention of race direction.

Martin’s last gasp effort initially looked to have secured second spot but once the penalty had been applied, Jorge inherited pole. Juanfran Guevara also improved late to claim the final spot on the front row with Fenati relegated to fourth while Albert Arenas produced his and Mahindra’s best performance of the season to qualify fifth.

Niccolo Antonelli was held up by traffic, keeping him back in sixth, while Jerez star Marcos Ramirez took seventh ahead of championship leader Joan Mir. Returning former champion Danny Kent qualified tenth on his wildcard outing with Red Bull KTM Ajo but John McPhee’s tough run continues, the British Talent Team rider down in 25th.

Moto3 HJC Helmets Grand Prix de France – Qualifying Result

PosRiderConstructorTeamBest Time
188. Jorge MartinHondaDel Conca Gresini Moto31:42.813
28. Nicolo BulegaKTMSky Racing Team VR461:42.844
358. Juanfran GuevaraKTMRBA BOE Racing Team1:42.961
45. Romano FenatiHondaMarinelli Rivacold Snipers1:42.999
575. Albert ArenasMahindraMAHINDRA Northgate Aspar1:43.038
623. Niccolo AntonelliKTMRed Bull KTM Ajo1:43.051
742. Marcos RamirezKTMPlatinum Bay Real Estate1:43.051
836. Joan MirHondaLeopard Racing1:43.057
964. Bo BendsneyderKTMRed Bull KTM Ajo1:43.086
1052. Danny KentKTMRed Bull KTM Ajo1:43.186
1133. Enea BastianiniHondaEstrella Galicia 0,01:43.320
1244. Aron CanetHondaEstrella Galicia 0,01:43.352
1311. Livio LoiHondaLeopard Racing1:43.391
1496. Manuel PaglianiMahindraCIP1:43.420
1521. Fabio Di GiannantonioHondaDel Conca Gresini Moto31:43.489
1695. Jules DaniloHondaMarinelli Rivacold Snipers1:43.572
1740. Darryn BinderKTMPlatinum Bay Real Estate1:43.652
1884. Jakub KornfeilPeugeotPeugeot MC Saxoprint1:43.671
197. Adam NorrodinHondaSIC Racing Team1:43.711
2048. Lorenzo Dalla PortaMahindraMAHINDRA Northgate Aspar1:43.717
2112. Marco BezzecchiMahindraCIP1:43.740
2224. Tatsuki SuzukiHondaSIC58 Squadra Corse1:43.793
2316. Andrea MignoKTMSky Racing Team VR461:43.824
2414. Tony ArbolinoHondaSIC58 Squadra Corse1:43.891
2517. John McPheeHondaBritish Talent Team1:43.893
2627. Kaito TobaHondaHonda Team Asia1:43.918
2771. Ayumu SasakiHondaSIC Racing Team1:43.928
2865. Philipp OettlKTMSüdmetall Schedl GP Racing1:44.092
296. Maria HerreraKTMAGR Team1:44.173
3041. Nakarin AtiratphuvapatHondaHonda Team Asia1:44.719
314. Patrik PulkkinenPeugeotPeugeot MC Saxoprint1:45.337
3219. Gabriel RodrigoKTMRBA BOE Racing TeamNo Time