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Moto3 Malaysia: Brave wet lap sees Binder snatch pole

Brad Binder timed his final run to perfection to steal pole in Saturday's rain interrupted qualifying for the Moto3 Malaysian Grand Prix in Sepang.
Brad Binder put in a performance worthy of a champion as he bravely stole pole in the dying seconds of qualifying for the Moto3 Malaysian Grand Prix in Sepang.

The Red Bull KTM Ajo rider used his last laps in the wet to work out where the grip was around the newly re-surfaced circuit with the changes allowing him to progress to the top of the timesheets as the riders returned to track to improve despite the torrential downpour which red-flagged the session at the halfway point.

The South African stole pole with a best of 2m 26.268 from Jorge Navarro and Francesco Bagnaia, who had been battling each other for the top spot with the Estrella Galicia Honda man doing enough to mount his challenge for second in the overall standings from second on the grid.

That left Aspar Mahindra rider Bagnaia to pick up the final front row spot, with three different manufacturers in the top three in the difficult conditions.

Lorenzo Dalla Porta had lead for much of the first half of the session but was squeezed back to row two for Sky Racing team VR46. He is joined by RBA Racing's Gabriel Rodrigo, who continues to improve over the closing races but could not make an impact in the final minutes as he fell while on a fast lap, while Niccolo Antonelli did enough to keep sixth for Ongetta-Rivacold.

Bo Bendsneyder was to top rookie in seventh on the second Red Bull entry and had been ahead of Binder until his final run of faster laps, Jorge Martin held on to eighth on the second Aspar entry despite being another late faller.

Fabio Quartararo had early pace which helped him to ninth on the Leopard Racing machine, though the French youngster was hampered by his team calling him in as he continued to find speed as the rain arrived. Aron Canet did enough for a top ten start on the other Estrella Galicia 0,0 entry.

Adam Norrodin once again looked at home in the wet and was the top Malaysian rider in 18th for Drive M7 SIC.

Jules Danilo and Hiroki Ono both fell in the opening ten minutes, the pair walked away from their crashes to continue the session.

Ono failed to set a time before the heavy rain took over, with Fabio Spiranelli in the same situation following his injuries picked up following his fall with the Japanese rider from a scooter during track familiarisation. Only Ono rectified his situation on the restart, but he crashed again while pushing in the wet.

After last weekend's crash local rider Hafiq Azmi (22nd) fills in for the injured John McPhee, while Enea Bastianini is replaced by Japansese rider Ayumu Sasaki (21st), the Red Bull Rookies champion will join Moto3 full-time next year.

by Lisa Lewis

Tagged as: Moto3 , Binder

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