Niccolo Antonelli advances through Q1 to get pole position in Misano. The Italian rode two faultless sessions to start from the front of the grid tomorrow. Pedro Acosta ended qualifying in fifth with his challenger Dennis Foggia struggling in 14th.
Pedro Acosta had the chance to win the championship this weekend at the Emilia Romangna Grand Prix at the Circuit de Marco Simoncelli in Misano. He has to score 21 more points than the chasing Dennis Foggia to be crowned Champion in his rookie season.
A couple of additions this week with Sergio Garcia still out with his bruised kidney. He was was replaced this week by Red Bull Rookies Cup Champion, David Alonso. David Holgado was in to replace the banned Deniz Oncu on the Red Bull KTM Tech 3 team. Also, Red Bull Rookies Indonesian Mario Aji was on his Astra Honda as a wildcard.
The Moto3 Q1 contingent rolled out onto a cold, damp Misano circuit to attempt to get into the Top four to get through to the final qualifying shootout. Jaume Masia, Andrea Migno, Jeremy Alcoba, John McPhee and Romano Fenati were all amongst the riders going through Q1.
Jaume Masia set the early pace, going top ahead of Mario Aji but Niccolo Antonelli and Riccardo Rossi quickly went to the top of the charts. Masia pushed again to reclaim top spot but again was knocked off the top by Niccolo Antonelli.
Andrea Migno made a move to the top after his horrific crash involving Deniz Oncu and Pedro Acosta in Austin. He looked in good form early in the session. Tatsuki Suzuki went down with just under four minutes of Q1 to go. He lost the front and slowly skated to the gravel.
With three-minutes to go, Jeremy Alcoba had a tumble at Turn 15. He lost the rear, mid-corner and almost did a full 180° spin. He rolled off into the gravel and looked rather disgruntled with himself. He didn’t re-board his machine because it was smashed to pieces.
Ryusei Yamanaka popped up to second late on behind Niccolo Antonelli, who looked consistently quick throughout the session.
On the final laps, Riccardo Rossi popped up to second with Romano Fenati in third. Jaume Masia went third to knock Fenati down to fourth. At the last gasp, John McPhee went into third to go through to Q2. McPhee has a bad cold this weekend so a good effort from the Scot to advance. But nobody could top Niccolo Antonelli who topped Q1.
Q2 started in still damp and murky conditions. Antonelli started Q2 as he finished Q1, on top and setting the pace for the rest to match. Championship challenger Dennis Foggia had a steady start to the session, slowly building up to a quick time.
Ayumu Sasaki sat in second at the half way point in the session with Stefano Nepa and the very impressive rookie Alberto Surra. Sasaki had a spill at Turn 14. He tucked the front very early into the turn, and stylishly slid into the gravel. He remounted with the assistance of the marshals.
Filip Salac moved quietly into second with a good lap with just over a minute to go with Masia in third. Pedro Acosta was in sixth going into his final attempt at a quick lap with Foggia down in 16th, as it failed to click for the Italian.
Acosta went third with his final attempt, but was demoted to the second row by Riccardo Rossi. And that was the end of the session. Niccolo Antonelli remained at the top of the pile throught qualifying to win pole position in Misano. Filip Salac clung to second with Riccardo Rossi completing the front row in third. Izan Guevara set a last gasp lap to head the second row in fourth with champion elect Pedro Acosta in fifth. He has his wingman in Jaume Masia in sixth with the impressive Alberto Surra in seventh. Dennis Foggia ended up over two seconds off the pace and starts from 14th on the grid. From that position, it is very likely to get caught up in somebody else’s incident on the first lap, but always possible to win from there, so it’s not the end of the world for the Italian.
Dry conditions expected for tomorrow so we are in for an interesting race with very little dry track time had from the riders this weekend. It’s Pedro Acosta’s chance to become the youngest lightweight class champion ever! Can he do it?
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