A risky strategy, along with a huge dose of good luck, has landed Gabriel Rodrigo and his Kömmerling Gresini Moto3 team a brilliant pole position ahead of tomorrow’s Gran Premi Monster Energy de Catalunya.
The risky strategy saw him spend a little too long sitting in the garage and he wasn’t able to set a final flying lap. He was the first rider to meet the chequered flag as he completed his out-lap.
We now have our seventh different pole sitter from seven rounds of Moto3 as Rodrigo took his first of the season.
Seventeen riders took to the track, all fighting for the top four positions and the chance to battle it out in Qualifying 2.
The track was hotter than the previous Free Practice 3 session, that kicked off action earlier in the morning, and the lap times were much quicker as a result. the top eleven riders were all separated by less than a second.
Topping this session was Tatsuki Suzuki on the SIC58 Squadra Corse machine, setting a lap time of 1:48.970. He was joined in the crucial top four by Andrea Migno, Albert Arenas and Ai Ogura, who all sat within half a second of the pace setter.
It was a difficult session for Romano Fenati who only managed to take eight. As a result, he will start tomorrow’s race in a disappointingly low twenty-second.
As the lights went green, we had all 18 riders on track almost immediately. But it was time spent off the track that nearly ruined Gabriel Rodrigo’s day!
His lap time of 1:48.450, which secured him pole, was set in the first half of the session. He then returned to the pit, before attempting to make a last minute attack for an even faster lap time. However, he waited too long and met the chequered flag at the end of his out-lap, stopping him from making one final flying lap.
He waited longer than he should because he was aiming to avoid the traffic on track – he didn’t want to risk helping out his rivals by giving them a slipstream.
Rodrigo may have been unintentionally helped by Lorenzo Dalla Porta, who went down at Turn 5 in the dying moments of the session, bringing out a short yellow flag. He was taken out by Niccolo Antonelli and the pair will, as a result, start tomorrow’s race in ninth and seventeenth respectively.
Back at the front of the grid, Rodrigo will be joined by Ai Ogura on the Honda Team Asia machine. His lap time was just 0.021 seconds off the pacesetter. Completing the front row will be our winner from last time out, Tony Arbolino.
Just behind them, and rounding out the top ten for tomorrow’s starting grid, are Albert Arena, Albert Lopez, Jaume Masia and Lorenzo Dalla Porta.
Dalla Porta would have hoped to be higher up the grid but he faced a difficult session, being knocked off the track by Antonelli during his final flying attempt. This wasn’t Antonelli’s first incident of the day so he will be hoping for a cleaner race.
Similarly to Antonelli, Carlos Tatay failed to set a time in Qualifying 2 and will start the race way back in eighteenth place. He took a tumble at Turn 3 and was lucky to not take Antonelli with him.
With the grid set for a truly enticing race, make sure you don’t miss any action! The Checkered Flag will have all the updates for you throughout the weekend.