With most riders in for a tow, Ayumu Sasaki proved he had what it takes to go it alone, easing to pole in qualifying for the French Grand Prix, round five of the championship.

The Liqui Moly Husqvarna Intact GP rider once again showed he has supreme solo pace as he powered around the track alone on each run to finish with a best of 1m 41.630s.

The Japanese rider was the only person sure of where he stood as the session ended in confusion with a flurry of laps added and taken away thanks to a late crash.

It is the #71’s third pole from the five qualifying sessions run so far this season.

 

Diogo Moreira sits second in the title hunt, and had his hopes of a good race handed a boost when his best lap was reinstated after the chequered flag, moving him up to second on the grid for MT Helmets - MSI. His best was 0.309s behind pole.

Championship leader Daniel Holgado was behind the group Moreira was in and also shot back up the timesheets, handing him his first front row start for Red Bull KTM Tech3.

Andrea Migno lead the way in the wet morning practice. Replacing Lorenzo Fellon, it is still the CIP Green Power team’s home grand prix. It looked like they had something to celebrate despite The #16 being the late faller causing the yellow flags at the end of the session.

Initially told he was due in parc ferme with the second best time, the Italian fist bumped the marshals in celebration. Only on wheeling his KTM back to the pits did he find out other times were elevated back above his, leaving him fourth.

 

Also on row two are Jerez race winner Ivan Ortola (Angeluss MTA Team) and Jaume Masia, who came into the session with the top practice time. 

The Leopard rider, who won the French round in 2022 tried the same solo technique but it was less successful, so starts sixth.

 

Jerez polesitter Deniz Oncu had his best effort cancelled moving him back to seventh for Red Bull KTM Ajo. The Turkish rider had survived what looked like an almost certain crash earlier in the day, celebrating his save at the blue esses with a fist wave in P3, saving his mechanics a lot of work ahead of qualifying.

 

Early session leader Xavier Artigas (CFMoto Racing PruestelGP)  did enough to hold eighth, while a much improved Syarifuddin Azman had impressed all weekend so far and continued his improved run into Q2 for ninth. It could have been more - the MT Helmets rider was tucked in behind Migno when he fell and needed to take evasive action.

 

Jose Antonio Rueda was the best of the rookies in tenth for Red Bull KTM Ajo and managed an identical time to Azman, who was placed ahead on next best lap countback.

 

Migno was by far the best of the riders to come through Q1, with Stefano Nepa - still using crutches around the paddock following his Austin clash with David Munoz - the best of the rest in eleventh for The Angeluss MTA Team.

 

An also worse for wear Lorenzo Salvador was 15th , with Taiyo Furusato (Honda Team Asia) just ahead in 14th.

 

What happened in Q1?

As with Q2, The session ended in lap cancellation chaos with the top four changing rapidly,

That was caused by a late crash for Collin Veijer, who suffered a nasty highside from his Liqui Moly Husqvarna. The rider finished the session fifth and was taken to the medical centre for checks.

With all the riders leaving the pit late and looking for a tow, they hit the yellow flags waving at turn ten.

Tatsuki Suzuki was the first to hit the flags. Down in tenth towards the end on the fifteen minutes after his Friday fall left him in Q1, the Leopard rider had no choice but to just go all out, the lap cancellation left him 24th.

Scott Ogden had been just shuffled out of the provisional Q2 places, and with progress not possible in the morning session he looked a good bet to move up in Q1. Tucked in behind the Japanese rider he suffered the same fate, placing the VisionTrack bike slightly higher in 20th.

His teammate Joshua Whatley has a new rider coach, ex-MotoGP rider James Ellison. The match seemed to have an instant impact, 22nd overnight, the #70 starts from 27th on race day but with much improved pace.

Moto3 is full of ups and downs - David Alonso was a podium finisher in Jerez, but has looked lass confident without local track knowledge to help he could only manage 26th. 

Ana Carrasco looked back to her best and came close to an automatic place in the second half of qualifying, 17th after Friday. Her lap cancellation hit hardest, dropping her to last on the grid.

 

Injuries and replacements.

 

David Salvador pased his fitness test following a heavy fall in Jerez. Kaito Toba also had checks before qualifying following his earlier fall.

There are no further replacements other than Migno replacing Fellon.