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Moto3: Folger powers to pole, Salom struggles
14 September 2013
By Lisa Lewis
Jonas Folger scored his second pole of the season, as lap times set by the Moto3 bikes fell to new lows in qualifying for the San Marino Grand Prix, at Misano on Saturday.
The German led for most of the session, only really troubled by Alex Rins for the top spot, with his last run aboard his Kalex KTM giving him pole.
The Aspar riders found his rhythm to set a time of 1m 42.707 - almost 1.5 seconds quicker than Sandro Cortese's 2012 pole record and quicker than the best all-time lap from Rins in last years race, leaving him in an excellent position to fight for his third podium finish of the year.
Rins, who had the fastest time heading into qualifying, was competitive aboard his KTM, but had to settle for second place on the grid for the Estrella Galicia team, as he makes a late push to be in contention for the title hunt.
Maverick Vinales rallied after the disappointment of his first off the podium finish at Silverstone to complete the front row starters in third in another not quite there session for the Team Calvo rider.
Zulfahmi Khairuddin crashed at turn 13 after just seven minutes as his 2013 campaign looked set to continue to struggle along. The Malaysian then seemed to be spurred on by his fall and recovered to head up the second row from fourth, the best performance from the Red Bull KTM team of riders.
The honour of being top Italian at Misano went to Niccolo Antonelli as his season continues to improve after a series of retirements at the start of the year. The Go & Fun Gresini rider was also the best qualifying Honda rider in fifth.
In a field swelled with Mahindras after a defection by Ambrogio, Miguel Oliveira was the best rider for the manufacturer, the Portuguese racer being followed by a swarm of riders on a late flying lap, some setting better times, putting him sixth.
Brazilian Eric Granado was one of the group of riders getting a tow, leading to a best of seventh on the grid on the second Mapfre Aspar bike.
Isaac Vinales had a confident session after announcing his move to Gresini for next season and ended up sealing eighth on the grid for Ongetta-Centro Seta.
Alex Marquez suffered an early crash eight minutes into the action but returned to take ninth for the Estrella Galicia team.
Championship leader Luis Salom seemed cautious after landing on his already injured ankle in a Friday fall. The Spaniard went on to set his fastest lap of the weekend and pushed late on but could only muster a fourth row start taking tenth place for the Red Bull KTM Ajo outfit.
British rider John McPhee qualified in 17th after following Rins on a fast lap in the closing minutes, pulling him up from 31st position.
All eyes were on Twelve Racing wild-card Luca Marini - half-brother to multiple title winner Valentino Rossi- who qualifies in 29th on his World Championship debut.
Niklas Ajo missed the all but the last two minutes of the session after a crash at the start of FP3, which he originally was reported to have walked away from with no issues, as he underwent checks in hospital. His CT scan confirmed no damage so he returned to qualify in 21st after just one lap, his quicker lap being cancelled.
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