Qatar Moto3: Suzuki takes first pole of 2020 by 0.008s

Tatsuki Suzuki clinched the first Moto3 pole of the new decade, after beating Raul Fernandez by 0.008 seconds in Qatar Grand Prix qualifying.

Qatar Moto3: Suzuki takes first pole of 2020 by 0.008s

The SIC58 Squadra Corse rider had to go through Q1 after missing out on a top 14 place across the three practice sessions.

Suzuki set the pace immediately in the second 15-minute session on Saturday evening at Losail, guiding his Honda to a 2m04.815s before bailing back to his box. 

No one challenged Suzuki’s time on their first runs, though his provisional pole did come under threat late on when last-minute repairs to his seat meant he was unable to get across the line for a second time attack. 

Ajo KTM’s Fernandez found himself a useful slipstream on the run along the massive one kilometre pit straight, but came up just 0.008s short and will have to start from second – his first front row since last year’s British Grand Prix. 

Three-time Moto3 race winner Albert Arenas (Aspar Team) just made it into the Q2 graduation places at the end of the first session and went onto complete the first front row of 2020 with a 2m04.925s.

Fernandez’s late improvement demoted CIP’s Darryn Binder to the head of the second row in fourth, with Honda Team Asia’s Ai Ogura and the Leopard Honda of Jaume Masia alongside.

Andrea Migno will start his return race to the VR46 team seventh, beating Tech3 rookie Deniz Oncu, Petronas Sprinta Racing’s John McPhee and Tony Arbolino (Snipers Team).

Gresini’s Gabriel Rodrigo was fastest in Q1, but could only muster 13th in the end after he had to abandon his final time attack lap due to a mechanical issue with his Honda machine.

New Leopard signing Dennis Foggia was denied a place in Q2 at the death of the first 15-minute session, with Arenas’ late improvement shuffling the ex-VR46 Academy rider out.

He’ll start 19th on Sunday, having missed a Q2 place by just 0.035s, while Qatar test pacesetter Filip Salac starting alongside after the Snipers Team rider crashed late on.

Salac tucked the front of his Honda after getting out of control on the way into the Turn 6 left-hander on his final lap and was lucky not to wipe out Niccolo Antonelli’s SIC58 stand-in Jose Julian Garcia. 

There was controversy at the end of the session, when Alonso Lopez (Max Racing Team) made what appeared to be deliberate contact with Suzuki at the first turn after punching his shoulder in frustration just after the pair took the chequered flag. 

Q2 results:

Cla # Rider Bike Time Gap
1 24 Japan Tatsuki Suzuki
Honda 2'04.815
2 25 Spain Raúl Fernández
KTM 2'04.823 0.008
3 75 Spain Albert Arenas
KTM 2'04.925 0.110
4 40 South Africa Darryn Binder
KTM 2'05.026 0.211
5 79 Japan Ai Ogura
Honda 2'05.065 0.250
6 5 Spain Jaume Masia
Honda 2'05.086 0.271
7 16 Italy Andrea Migno
KTM 2'05.129 0.314
8 53 Turkey Deniz Öncü
KTM 2'05.176 0.361
9 17 United Kingdom John McPhee
Honda 2'05.242 0.427
10 14 Italy Tony Arbolino
Honda 2'05.327 0.512
11 52 Spain Jeremy Alcoba
Honda 2'05.343 0.528
12 27 Japan Kaito Toba
KTM 2'05.421 0.606
13 2 Argentina Gabriel Rodrigo
Honda 2'05.512 0.697
14 11 Spain Sergio García
Honda 2'05.586 0.771
15 92 Japan Yuki Kunii
Honda 2'05.843 1.028
16 13 Italy Celestino Vietti Ramus
KTM 2'05.906 1.091
17 99 Carlos Tatay
KTM 2'06.003 1.188
18 55 Italy Romano Fenati
Husqvarna 2'06.165 1.350

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