Honda riders dominated Moto3 qualifying, with NSF250RW riders first, second, fourth and sixth fastest. The man who took pole position – for the first time in his career – was Lorenzo Dalla Porta (Leopard Racing Honda NSF250RW), who will tomorrow chase his first victory of the year. Currently the 21-year-old Italian stands third in the points chase, with one podium so far, at the season-opening Qatar GP.
Tatsuki Suzuki (Sic58 Squadra Corse Honda NSF250RW) equalled his best-ever qualifying performance in second place, just four thousandths of a second slower than Dalla Porta. This was a particularly impressive performance from the 21-year-old from Chiba, who had to graduate into Q2 from the Q1 session and suffered a tumble earlier in the day.
The two Honda riders on the second row are Suzuki’s team-mate Niccolo Antonelli (Sic58 Squadra Corse Honda NSF250RW) and Gabriel Rodrigo (Kömmerling Gresini Moto3 Honda NSF250RW), who will start tomorrow’s race from fourth and sixth on the grid. Antonelli’s best lap was only two tenths off pole and the 23-year-old Italian might have made it onto the front row if he hadn’t had a nasty moment exiting the final corner near the end of the session.
Rodrigo’s speed and his place on the second row should give him a good chance of battling for his first Grand Prix victory tomorrow.
Spaniard Marcos Ramirez (Leopard Racing Honda NSF250RW) qualified on the third row, just behind Rodrigo, with 2010 Jerez winner Romano Fenati (Snipers Team Honda NSF250RW) rounding out the top ten and Ayumu Sasaki (Petronas Sprinta Racing Honda NSF250RW) in 11th.
Today was a challenging day for team-mates Ai Ogura (Honda Team Asia Honda NSF250RW) and Kaito Toba (Honda Team Asia Honda NSF250RW). Toba won the first race of the season in Qatar and finished tenth in Argentina, but was unable to make it into Q2 today after crashing at turn one during the Q1 session. The 19-year-old from Fukuoka will start this race from 24th on the grid, while his 18-year-old Tokyo team-mate will start from 20th, just six tenths of a second behind Dalla Porta.
This weekend’s Spanish GP is the first of 11 consecutive rounds in Europe. Next stop on the MotoGP calendar is the French GP on May 19.