The visors have come up, the data has been crunched and the first of the Tissot watches have been handed out. Welcome to the 2019 MotoGP season.
As the Moto3 field took to the track for their new and improved qualifying session, it was a mixed evening for the young field but who are the real winners and losers of qualifying?
Aron Canet – Sterilgarda Max Racing
Aron Canet will be hoping today is an omen of things to come as he claims the first pole position of the season. The Spanish rider, who finished sixth in the championship last year and is tipped to be Moto3 world champion this season, put in a beautiful 2’05.308 lap time to put his Sterligarda Max Racing machine onto the front of the grid. This is Canet’s first pole position since the Sachsenring in 2017 so he will be hoping he can convert it into victory as his last win was back in 2017 at Silverstone .
John McPhee – Petronas Sprinta Racing
John McPhee ended the 2018 season in amazing fashion with a third-place finish and it looks like he’s starting the 2019 season in a similar fashion as he starts tomorrow’s race from fourth after having to battle his way through Q1 to earn his position.
McPhee’s troublesome 2018 season saw him only amass four front row starts and two podium finishes so the Scottish rider will be hoping for better fortunes with his new Petronas Sprinta team.
Kaito Toba -Honda Team Asia
Kaito Toba certainly surprised us all as he delivered an incredible 2’06.109 lap time to snatch up his first front row start.
Toba had automatically earned his spot in Q2 after finishing third fastest in the combined times but it doesn’t make his achievement any less impressive as 2019 is only his second year in the Moto3 field.
Toba will no doubt be praying he can hold on to his position when the lights go out in Losail as he tries to take his first every podium in the senior Moto3 field.
Romano Fenati – Snipers Team
It was a bitter sweet afternoon for Romano Fenati after a strategy miscalculation saw him fail to improve on his time and have to settle for 11thposition,
The returning Fenati was hoping to step away from the controversy of last year and focus on his title campaign so this set back will taste extra bitter. However, the Italian did display a calmer and more mature side when the session finished, showing that he may well have learn from his past mistakes.
Jaume Masia – Bester Captial Dubai
Injured Jaume Masia’s year kicked off in the worst way possible as the Spaniard found himself taking a heavy tumble in Q1, ruining any chances of a season opening pole position but also extending his recovery time as he landed heavily on his already injured left foot.
Masia had been tipped to be one of the hopefuls for the Moto3 title this year so he will be devastated with the way today has played out as he will start tomorrow’s race from 27th position.
Riccardo Rossi – Kommerling Gresini Moto3
Riccardo Rossi was one of the two rookie crashers who failed to set a time in qualifying. The Italian was luckily left uninjured from his crash but, after failing to set any lap times, he will start at the back of the grid in 29th position alongside fellow rookie Filip Salač.
With Rossi being their only rider at 100% fitness, Kommerling Gresini Moto3 will be less than thrilled with his debut starting position, however, the only way Rossi can go is forwards and with his mentor Mattia Pasini watching on, he will be hoping to put on a show.
The Moto3 field is a mixed bag of rookies and veterans but they’re all equally hungry for the win so who will walk away with some added hand luggage and who will be left licking their wounds?