Moto3 pole position went to Marcos Ramirez (Leopard Racing Honda NSF250RW), who took the second pole of his career and the second in one week! This was an especially tricky qualifying session, with light rain falling at some parts of the track throughout much of Q2.
The 21-year-old Spaniard timed his end-of-session attack perfectly. Like many riders he waited until the rain had eased before returning to the track for his final run, commencing his last lap just a second or two before the chequered flag came out. That last lap put him at the top of an all-Honda front row, 0.127 seconds ahead of San Marino GP Tatsuki Suzuki (Sic58 Squadra Corse Honda NSF250RW) and a further 0.105 seconds ahead of French GP winner John McPhee (Petronas Sprinta Racing Honda NSF250RW).
Last Sunday in Australia Ramirez finished the race in the slipstream of winning team-mate Lorenzo Dalla Porta (Leopard Racing Honda NSF250RW), whose third victory of 2019 won him the Moto3 Riders World Championship and secured the Constructors World Championship for Honda.
Seventh-fastest Dalla Porta will start tomorrow’s Moto3 race from the all-Honda third row of the grid after missing row two by just 0.011 seconds. The 22-year-old Italian will chase another win while doing what he can to help team-mate Ramirez, who currently lies fourth overall in the points standings.
McPhee’s team-mate Ayumu Sasaki (Petronas Sprinta Racing Honda NSF250RW) was eighth, which puts him on the middle of the third row, alongside ninth-quickest Gabriel Rodrigo (Kömmerling Gresini Moto3 Honda NSF250RW). Alonso Lopez (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Honda NSF250RW) completes the top ten.
Ai Ogura (Honda Team Asia Honda NSF250RW) will have to work extra hard in the race after qualifying 14th, the 18-year-old from Saitama struggling to get close to the front of the grid at recent races.
Team-mate Kaito Toba (Honda Team Asia Honda NSF250RW) had an even more complicated day, sliding off in the early stages of the Q2 session, which left him unable to complete a lap. The 19-year-old from Fukuoka will therefore start from 17th, alongside Niccolo Antonelli (Sic58 Squadra Corse Honda NSF250RW) who is hampered by recent injury.
This weekend’s Malaysian GP is the last of three Grands Prix on consecutive weekends and the penultimate round of 2019. The season concludes at Valencia, Spain, on November 17.