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Moto3: Cortese takes pole in Qatar

Sandro Cortese finishes on top in the first ever Moto3 qualifying session, Maverick Vinales second after frantic final minutes.
By Lisa Lewis

Red Bull KTM rider Sandro Cortese snatched a last gasp pole position under the floodlights of Qatar to become the first pole sitter of the new Moto3 class, knocking the FTR Hondas of Maverick Vinales and Louis Rossi to second and third respectively.

The German championship hopeful, who had been quickest in Fridays final practice session, crossed the line after the flag to post a time that would snatch pole from Vinales by just 0.016sec, in a session which saw the lead change several times in the closing minutes. Vinales had set the fastest overall practice time during FP2.

The top three was completed by Frenchman Louis Rossi for Racing Team Germany (FTR Honda). Luis Salom, who held the lead with five minutes to go, finished the session fourth with Niklas Ajo a shock fifth.

Sixteen year old Italian Romano Fenati, who had shown his promise in practice qualified sixth, closely followed by Malaysian rider Zulfahmi Khairuddin in seventh, with Miguel Oliveira, Red Bull Rookie runner up Arthur Sissis and Alexis Masbou completing the top ten.

Cortese's team mate Danny Kent qualified twelfth despite the form he had shown in testing and practice. Fellow Brit Danny Webb finished 25th on the Mahindra.

The new 250cc four-stroke Moto3 class replaces the 125cc championship. Unlike Moto2, Moto3 has open engine competition, both championships use Dunlop as their exclusive tyre provider.

Qualifying:

1. Sandro Cortese (KTM) 2m 8.188s
2. Maverick Viñales (FTR Honda) 2m 8.204s
3. Louis Rossi (FTR Honda) 2m 8.303s
4. Luis Salom (Kalex KTM) 2m 8.566s
5. Niklas Ajo (KTM) 2m 8.734s
6. Romano Fenati (FTR Honda) 2m 8.799s
7. Zulfahmi Khairuddin (KTM) 2m 8.847s
8. Miguel Oliveira (Honda) 2m 8.926s
9. Arthur Sissis (KTM) 2m 9.001s
10. Alexis Masbou (Honda) 2m 9.107s


Tagged as: Sandro Cortese , Qatar

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