The MotoGP circus has touched down at Termas de Rio Honda, Argentina for yet another year of paint swapping, nail-biting madness.
As the Moto3 grid kicked off the qualifying action, we look at who was flying high after Saturday’s session and who was still firmly on the ground?
Jaume Masia – Masia’s year didn’t get off to the start he was hoping. He struggled against injury as we came into the Qatar weekend and was wiped out during the first lap, adding to his woes. But you can’t keep a good man down as the Spaniard claims his maiden pole at Termas. He topped the timings in the first session of the weekend and sat well within the top fifteen for the remaining free practice sessions which gifted him an automatic pass into Q2. Masia will be hoping to make a clean getaway tomorrow as he pursues that elusive first podium finish.
Tony Arbolino – Arbolino has looked strong throughout the entire weekend, claiming second fastest in both FP1 and FP2 before taking ninth in FP3 which gave him a pass through into Q2. The Italian didn’t disappoint as he delivered a stunning 1’49.122 lap to claim his first row start in third. After his seventh to 16th drop in Qatar, Arbolino will be going into tomorrow’s race with a point to prove.
Andrea Migno – Unlike Masia and Arbolino, Migno had to do things the hard way as he battled through Q1 into Q2 to take sixth position. His pace during FP1 looked as if he would be a shoo-in for an immediate Q2 pass as he was eighth in the timings but the pace didn’t last and he dropped into 16th and 17th during FP2 and FP3 respectively, leaving him in Q1. Not to be shown up by his young teammate, Migno put his head down and got to work, topping the Q1 timings and rocketing his way through the field and into sixth position, ahead of the likes of championship hopeful Romano Fenati and Gabriel Rodrigo. As he starts in sixth, this will be Migno’s best starting position for an Argentinian weekend and he will certainly be hoping to capitalise on this success.
John McPhee – McPhee’s weekend was looking fairly rosy as he topped the combined standings after a superb FP3 session saw him deliver a 1’48.959 lap time but that was pretty much where the glow fades. The Scot was unable to dig up that same pace during the afternoon as he put in a 1’49.459 lap time to take 11th position for tomorrow’s race, two positions behind his teammate Ayumu Sasaki. McPhee will have to make a quick getaway to make up some ground and break away from the traffic tomorrow afternoon if he wants to make any headway in the pack.
Darryn Binder – It was late heartache for Binder in Q1 as he narrowly missed out on getting into Q2 by 0.2s to see him start in 20th. It had been a difficult weekend for Binder in the free practice sessions as he failed to make it into the top 10 in any of the session with 16th in FP1 being the best he could muster and seeing him finish 22nd in the combined standings. It’s going to be another uphill battle for the South African rider as the lights go out in Argentina and he tries to fight his way into the points.
Celestino Vietti – From podium fighter to struggling with pace, it was a nightmare session for Vietti who will start tomorrow’s race from 21st. The Italian who previously shone as Nicolo Bulega’s stand-in, seemed to be completely lost during the free practice sessions with his best time of 1’50.443 being 1.5seconds off the pole pace of Jaume Masia. Vietti will be hoping to refind some pace on Sunday as he tries to pick his way into the points.
- All results here.
As we lose an hour tonight, there is even less time to wait until the action kicks off in the turbulent Termas circuit so don’t forget to put your clocks forward.