27 September 2014
Moto3 Aragon: Rins overcomes clutch issues for pole
Alex Rins secured pole position in qualifying for the Aragon Moto3 Grand Prix in a session dominated by technical issues and crashes.
Alex Rins chalked up his third pole of the season, as he continues his late assault for the championship title by topping the timesheets in Aragon for the Moto3 Grand Prix.
At a track where the top three Moto3 qualifiers have always been the top three finishers, it was advantage to the Estrella Galicia rider at the MotorLand circuit, despite the Spaniard being one of many riders to overcome an issue with his bike, returning his Honda to the pits at the mid-way point.
Rins' mechanics impressed with a speedy clutch change allowing him twenty minutes to find his fast lap, eventually taking pole with an 1m 58.318, at the circuit where he was also last year's pole man and winner.
Danny Kent had been pushing his Husqvarna hard all weekend and found some extra speed at just the right time to steal second in the closing stages for Husqvarna, just 0.116 shy of Rins' best lap. It marks the Britons best qualifying result of the season improving on his third place start in Argentina.
Mapfre Aspar rider Juanfran Guevara continued to impress, the Kalex KTM rider saw success after setting a new lap record last time out in Misano and was fastest in free practice which he topped with a 1m 57.930 in Spain on his way to his best ever qualifying finish in third.
Guevara took the flag shaking his head as the pole time did not surpass his best lap, a new record at Aragon, set in FP3.
Championship leader Jack Miller ran into trouble on a busy track, an altercation with Gabriel Rodrigo and Jorge Navarro ending the Red Bull KTM Ajo riders best chance of a fast lap laving him in fourth.
Also on row two are Alex Marquez on the second of the Estrella Galicia entries in fifth after aborting his final attempt at a quick lap and Enea Bastianini in sixth fighting chatter on his Junior Tean Go&Fun bike all the way.
Seventh went to Team Calvo's Isaac Vinales while re-signing for the SaxoPrint-RTG team settled John McPhee as the British rider pushed late for eighth finding speed following Marquez around the track for his best qualifying since Indianapolis.
The injured Nico Antonelli had sat out FP3 but returned for qualifying to place ninth for Junior Team Go&Fun, McPhee's team-mate Efren Vazquez completes the top ten on the grid.
Just missing out on a top ten start was Marc VDS rider Navarro in 11th, while one time title contender Romano Fenati struggled to make an impact again in 13th.
Relative newcomer Andrea Migno was the top Mahindra qualifier taking 14th on the grid.
Niklas Ajo's session got off to the worst possible start with his bike failing before the Finnish rider had set a lap. The Husqvarna was returned to the pits for a engine change, the huge task only leaving Ajo just minutes to move from last to 26th.
Also having a bad day at the office was San Carlo Team Italia rider Andrea Locatelli who also failed to bank a lap before being sent to the medical centre for a check-up on a finger wound. He starts 30th.
Jasper Iwema returns to Moto3 at the CIP Team, replacing Bryan Schouten, but an early crash saw the front of his bike destroyed with no chance to recover, leaving him in 31st.
Also crashing out was Sky Racing Team VR46 rider Francesco Bagnaia, ruining his qualifying chances and leaving him down the grid in a slightly better 22nd.
Aragon wild-cards Hiroki Ono (Honda Team Asia) and Gabriel Rodrigo (RBA Racing Team) qualified well in 19th and 29th respectively.
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