13 August 2016
Moto3 Austria: Mir wins Binder battle for first pole
Joan Mir held the top spot when it counted after battling Brad Binder to take his first pole in qualifying for the Moto3 Grand Prix at the Red Bull Ring.
Rookie Joan Mir secured a career first pole position as racing returns after the summer break with a close qualifying for the Moto3 Grand Prix in Austria.
The Leopard Racing KTM rider had swapped places with rival Binder for provisional pole throughout the forty minute session, before a tow from the South African over the line gave him the advantage, setting the fastest lap of the weekend with a time of 1m 36.228s.
The pair were side by side on the very next lap when Binder ran close but clean, leaving Mir to enjoy a trip into the gravel.
The Red Bull KTM Ajo rider had further disappointment when his final assault for pole saw him ahead before Albert Arenas cut in front, leaving him unable to improve, with the Spaniard again occupying the same track on the next lap, leaving Binder second.
The championship leader can take a little comfort from the fact his closest title rival Jorge Navarro struggled around the Ring, and starts down in 18th.
Gresini Honda rider Enea Bastianini will be hoping to break up the KTM domination at the manufacturers home track from the final front row spot.
Aron Canet did far better than his Estrella Galicia team-mate Navarro, his final lap blasting him up to fourth.
As the Moto3 riders regularly found themselves having laps cancelled for exceeding track limits one of the biggest offenders was Fabio Quartararo. The second Leopard charge still managed a clean final personal best lap, enough for fifth.
The final spot on row two went to another late improver, Francesco Bagnaia, with the Aspar Mahindra rider as low as 23rd late in the session, his final push saw him rise to sixth.
Seventh went to Nicolo Bulega, the best of the Sky Racing Team VR46 riders, ahead of Romano Fenati in eleventh and Andrea Migno, who missed much of the session after a clutch change, in 21st.
Philipp Oettl rode solo on his way to eighth for Schedl GP Racing, Fabio Di Giannantonio did enough to secure ninth on the second Gresini, while Binder's rookie team-mate Bo Bendsneyder completes the top ten.
Hiroki Ono was the only other faller in the session.
Team reshuffles over the summer break see Albert Arenas replace Alexis Masbou in the Peugeot MC Saxoprint team, Arenas secured 24th while mixing with Binder. He out-qualified his new team-mate John McPhee who qualified 29th.
Marcos Ramirez(32nd) is the new recruit at Platinum Bay Real Estate, taking over from the outgoing Danny Webb.
Marco Bezzechi and Stefano Manzi both return to the chapionship as wild-cards with Mahindra
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