Dennis Foggia set about putting a lacklustre Jerez performance behind him as he built on his dominance of practice. The Italian backed up his Friday efforts by looking at ease for pole in qualifying for the French Moto3 Grand Prix at Le Mans, round seven of the championship.

Foggia headed into qualifying after having already topped all three practice sessions. With a lot to make up after slipping backwards to 18th last race, following on from an eighth in the rain of Portimao, the Leopard man was back to his best and never seemed to move out of race preperation mode as he eased to pole position with a best of 1m 41.621s, improving on his own timesheet topping lap as the session evolved into a last minute, last lap shootout for position. Foggia remained unfazed and continued with his own plan to claim pole.

Although the #7 has 78 race starts to his name, including seven wins and eighteen podiums, it is Foggia’s first ever pole position in world championship racing.

 

The team claimed a 1-2 on the grid with Tatsuki Suzuki in second, just 0.051s slower than his team-mate and looking frustrated not to bridge that gap.

The front row will be completed by Jaume Masia, who used his team-mate Daniel Holgado as a target to chase to climb to third behind the Honda pair for Red Bull KTM Ajo.

After showing his off-road ability in between rounds by winning the latest World Supermoto round, rookie Diogo Moreira was in fiery form and used that winning energy to slip into fourth after a spell behind his team-mate Ryusei Yamanaka (13th) in the closing seconds of the session for MT Helmets- MSI.

A superb solo effort from Carlos Tatay saw him jump up to fourth, only to be pushed back one place by Moreira for CFMOTO Racing PruestelGP.

The experienced Andrea Migno chipped away lap after lap to claim sixth with Rivacold Snipers, a solid performance for the 2021 pole-sitter.

The GasGas riders both start from row three. 

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Championship leader Sergio Garcia left it late to make his move direct to Q2, spending much of FP3 outside the top fifteen, a late run - risky given the amount of crashes in the latter stages so far this weekend - saw him confortably progress in sixth.

His out lap crash earlier in the weekend in FP1 had seemed to dent his confidence, contributing to landing the seventh best time despite finishing second last time out and first in France last season as the Spaniard never really got into gear for timesheet topping pace.

Jerez winner, Izan Guevara, ran a different schedule to his team-mate but did not make any gains from it. Out to gain some clear track but with Joel Kelso tagging on behind, he placed eighth.

Riccardo Rossi had a slow start to the session after impressing by moving through Q1 then stalled, but found enough late pace for ninth for SIC58 Squadra Corse, while Deniz Oncu (Red Bull KTM Tech3), who also found himself in the first qualifying session after a fall in FP3 set the early pace,  came back to show enough speed to complete the top ten.

Kelso’s tow work lead him to eleventh for CIP Green Power.

Lorenzo Fellon starts his home grand prix from sixteenth after making his way through Q1 only to struggle to find clear track or a tow in Q2.

McPhee back on track 

John McPhee was back in action at Le Mans after finally being given the all clear to race following his accident two months ago.

With his body now strong enough to resist crash damage the Sterilgarda Husqvarna Max Racing rider was immediately back in the mix and on pace with the rest of Moto3 despite his lack of action, moving up to eleventh by the end of day one after getting his best lap reinstated.

Building on that, the #17 went straight into Q2 after posting the twelfth best time after FP3. That wisely limited the time the Oban man needed to be onboard for, allowing him to concentrate all his efforts on the final fifteen minutes of Moto3 action on Saturday.

That was when the stress on his body started to show, labouring to hard earned 17th in a highly competitive session.

VisionTrack Racing rider Scott Ogden looked set to be the best of the rest in 19th on the grid but didn’t find the right position on track to gain a tow at a track he is unfamiliar with, trying to initially leave the pits with Oncu only to leave late and slip in behind Kaito Toba instead, but not near enough to make gains.

He was pushed back to 20th by a late improvement for Elia Bartolini (QJ Motot Avinita) who just missed out on progressing, less than 0.3s off Oncu’s Q1 time.

Ogden’s team-mate, fellow Brit Joshua Whatley was 15th in Q1 for 29th on the grid.

Ahead of him on the grid are Jose Rueda, in for Alberto Surra at Rivacold Snipers, who is still recovering from his Austin fall which damaged his scaphoid, who starts 24th and Gerard Riu Male who replaces David Munoz for the last time at BOE SKX as he will be old enough to ride in Mugello, in 27th.

Last time in Le Mans

 

The 2021 French Moto3 Grand Prix was a special one for championship leader Sergio Garcia as he secured his first win in over a year and the second of his career, with his victory at the historic Le Mans track also the first ever for the GasGas team.

The race started wet, and the Spaniard got the better of the treacherous conditions before a drying line formed allowing him to pull out a comfortable lead.

The weather created an unusual podium with Garcia’s main challenger in the race Filip Salac holding on for second for the Snipers team, while the all teenage podium was completed by another rostrum first timer with Riccardo Rossi in a distant third, holding off the rapidly approaching McPhee.