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Le Mans Moto3: Vazquez powers to a career first pole

Efren Vazquez took pole position for the Moto3 Grand Prix of France at Le Mans, his time standing unbeaten during the final stages.
By Lisa Lewis

Efren Vazquez claimed his first grand prix pole position in qualifying for the Moto3 event at Le Mans.

The Spaniard continued his good form with a lap speedy enough for pole for SaxoPrint-RTG, powering to the top in the final four minutes only for his time not to be challenged.

This gave the Spanish veteran of the lightweight class his first ever pole at his 110th grand prix appearance, a good position from which to add to his three podium finishes so far this season.

It also handed Honda their second pole of the season;Rins taking the first back in Qatar; as they look to improve their Moto3 statistics following a dominant 50th KTM grand prix win in Jerez.

Rising temperatures and a lack of wind made for some stunningly quick laps, though none of the riders were on a lap fast enough to push for pole at the chequered flag.

The fastest lap ever of a Moto3 machine had already fallen in FP2 and continued to be smashed further with Vazquez new best a rapid 1m 42.491.

Red Bull KTM Ajo rider Jack Miller had lead the way for much of the session but the championship leader, who had sat in pole position for the last three races in succession, was visibly annoyed to have spent the duration being followed and tripped up by riders slow on the racing line and looking for a tow.

The Australian's time was still good enough for second on the grid while the amount of laps he put in indicated a good pace for Sunday's race.

The final front row spot went to another Honda, the Estrella Galicia bike of a determined Alex Rins who survived a bashing from Juanfran Guevara on his way to third.

Alexis Masbou was the best placed home rider at the front of row two in fourth. The experienced Ongetta-Rivacold man ended his session when he lost the front with 17 minutes remaining, with the marshals pushing his bike away out of the gravel.

Sending out all the Ajo bikes in unison throughout the session benefited Husqvarna rider Niklas Ajo pushing him into the top five for much of qualifying with his momentum seeing him hold on to fifth as the improvements to times halted.

Calvo Team rider Isaac Vinales held on for sixth after surviving a late wobble on his KTM.

Alex Marquez heads up row three for Estrella Galicia in seventh ahead of British hope John McPhee who ground out a hard earned eighth for SaxoPrint-RTG after following his pole sitting team-mate Vazquez to learn from his brake points.

Zulfahmi Khairuddin put in his first strong performance of the season for Ongetta-AirAsia taking ninth on the grid.

Championship challenger and winner of the last two rounds; Romano Fenati; found himself down in 17th for much of the session. He was one of just a handful of riders to improve in the closing moments and left it late to snatch tenth.

The mass movement of Ajo bikes also seemed to build confidence in Red Bull KTM's rookie Karel Hanika who put in some ambitious laps for 11th.

Briton Danny Kent starts from 12th on his Red Bull Husqvarna machine.

The highest qualifying Mahindra was piloted by miguel Oliveira in 14th the Indian manufacturer still seeming to struggle with the transmission issues which have hampered them this season.

French rider Jules Danilo struggled on his Ambrogio Racing Mahindra for 32nd. Fellow countryman; wild-card Renald Castillion; did not start the session after picking up injury in a massive practice crash.
by Lisa Lewis

Tagged as: Moto3 , Vazquez

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