11 October 2014
Moto3 Japan: Kent speeds to Husqvarna pole - Rins, Miller crash
Danny Kent took pole position in qualifying for the Japanese Moto3 Grand Prix as crashes for first Alex Rins and then Jack Miller brought drama in Motegi.
Danny Kent only got faster as the clock ran down, powering to pole at a sunny Twin Ring Motegi for the Japanese Moto3 Grand Prix on Saturday.
The Red Bull Husqvarna rider will be looking to repeat his heroics of 2012 where the Briton won the race from pole and looks in good shape to do so after setting a series of quickest laps, including a new lap record of 1m 56.555, while riding solo.
Kent's result also gives Husqvarna (effectively a rebadged KTM) its first Moto3 pole.
It was a great day for British racing fans as John McPhee also took his first ever front row start in third for SaxoPrint-RTG.
McPhee was the top Honda on the grid and was was only nudged into third in the closing seconds as Niccolo Antonelli sneaking his Junior Team GO&Fun KTM into second as the chequered flag waved.
Also impressing with a string of speedy solo laps was Miguel Oliveira, who had lead the timesheets heading into a frantic final five minutes, the Mahindra rider pushed down to fourth in a tight session – all the top 15 riders finishing with a time less than a second slower than Kent's pole best.
Jack Miller staged a huge recovery to qualify fifth after a crash which looked certain to damage his title hopes.
Alex Rins, who eventually qualified ninth, was the first of the high profile crashers when with 33 minutes remaining, losing the front at turn 10, removing the gear lever and some of the front fairing.
The Estrella Galicia Honda, though stuck in gear, was capable on limping back to the pits where frantic work from his mechanics began to repair the bike.
Just eight minutes later Jack Miller was flipped over the top of his Red Bull KTM Ajo machine with it landing on top of the Australian as he entered the darkness at turn five.
Remarkably his bike could also be ridden back to the pits and was back out before Rins allowing Miller the maximum time to improve his time.
Team Calvo's Isaac Vinales took sixth on the grid ahead of Estrella Galicia's Championship leader Alex Marquez in seventh, who looked frustrated not to capitalise on his title rivals crashes.
Ambrogio Racing's Brad Binder secured eighth, Rins ninth, while Juanfran Guevara's Mapre Aspar completes the top ten.
Once again Sky Racing Team VR46 rider Romano Fenati has left himself a lot of work to to on race day, the Aragon winner frustrated as his late attempts for a quick lap hit traffic starts from 17th.
There were many late crashes during qualifying with Karel Hanika, , Matteo Farrari, Alexis Masbou and Zulfahmi Khairuddin all falling in the final four minutes and all walking away unharmed.
Two Japanese riders have been handed wild-cards for Motegi Hikari Okubo (Hot Racing with I-Factory) and Sena Yamada (Liberto Plusone & Endurance Honda) both failed to make the kind of impact Hiroki Ono achieved in Aragon, qualifying 26th and 31st respectively.
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