A late crash was not enough to stop fastest man on track Romano Fenati as he powered to pole the Twin Ring Motegi circuit for the Japanese Moto3 Grand Prix.

The Sky Racing Team VR46 rider claimed a career first pole after working hard overnight with KTM to find where they were lacking speed and then applying that on track, with his best lap of 1m 55.484s strong enough to hold off his Moto3 rivals.

The Italian set that time on his ninth lap with 17 minutes still to run on the clock, taking advantage of what proved to be at the best opportunity as the riders again bunched up on track in the later stages looking for a tow.

Related Articles

Another KTM, that of Aragon winner Miguel Oliveira, matched his practice performances but left it late to make an impact, with the Red Bull Ajo team rider only moving up from eighth to second in the final minute of qualifying.

Also finding some late pace was Jorge Navarro, the Estrella Galicia 0,0 rookie making the best of the overcast conditions to snatch the third and final front row slot as the highest placing Honda.

Nico Antonelli had been the fastest man on track around the Twin Ring prior to qualifying but started the session in the pits after his opener saw his brakes fail.

The Ongetta-Rivacold rider immediately rallied on his return to track to move into provisional pole, but that lap time had only held on four fourth with the Italian unable to respond after a late turn five crash, the same place that fellow Italian Fenati had hit the gravel just a minute earlier.

Antonelli is joined on row two by the main title rivals Enea Bastianini and Danny Kent.

Gresini's Bastianini finds himself just ahead on the grid in fifth after some speedy late laps, while Kent got lost in the group as he tried to gain a tow from team-mate Hiroki Ono, leaving the Brit in sixth.

Kent arrives at Motegi ready for his first shot at the Moto3 title with good pedigree at the track, he is the only previous winner of the Japanese Moto3 Grand Prix in the class, took pole last year and had his best Moto2 result all in Japan.

The Leopard rider was surrounded by drama before turning a wheel in the session after being threatened with a grid demotion along with a handful of other riders before having the penalty rescinded by race direction.

Acknowledging the rain predicted for race day, Kent also took heart from his winning performance at Silverstone in the wet.

Isaac Vinales sits in seventh on the grid for RBA, and is joined on row three by Jakub Kornfeil, riding for Drive M7 SIC in eighth and Livio Loi in ninth for RW Racing.

Brad Binder secured the final spot inside the top ten on the second RED Bull entry, holding off the best placed Mahindra of Francesco Bagnaia in 11th.

Leopard's Ono was the best placed of the home riders in twelfth, with his fellow countryman Tatsuki Suzuki 24th.

British rider John McPhee could only manage 25th on the grid for SaxoPrint-RTG.

The wild-cards, Japanese riders Ryo Mizuno and Keisuke Kurihara will fill 33rd and 36th respectively.