Jorge Martin powered to pole position after a commanding performance in qualifying for round four of the Moto3 championship, the Spanish Grand Prix at Jerez.

The Del Conca Gresini rider, who is currently leading the championship after a win from pole in Austin, mirrored his performance around Jerez in 2017 where he also secured pole with a swift banker lap of 1m 46.193s ahead of his home race.

The Honda man set his best time solo, partly because an early visit to the its following an engine issue while cornering took him off the same schedule as the rest of the pack, but his timing proved impeccable after late crashes brought out the yellow flags and slowed progress.

With it all to play for in Spain with the Moto3 race never having been won by the polesitter and Philipp Oettl’s superb run puts him well placed to attack come race day, his best effort elevated him to second on the timesheets around the same time, he held firm to be the top KTM performer with his small Sudmetal Schedl GP Racing team and was just 0.153 behind Martin’s pole lap.

The only person to make any real progress late on, Fabio Di Giannantonio flew up to third just before the final fallers came into effect, much to his cheering Gresini teams pleasure- they have two bikes on the front row. ‘Diggia’ had an eventful session after earlier setting the then top lap with a hole in his bike visor after a stone flew up and hit it at speed.

Nico Antonelli secured fourth for SIC58 Squadra Corse,with Marco Bezzecchi looking to continue his podium run from fifth for Redox PruestelGP. The final spot on row two goes to Andrea Migno in the Angel Nieto Moto3 team and will be looking to impress at the track that also bares the MotoGP legends name.

Alonso Lopez used his Spanish junior championship knowledge to good effect on his way to seventh, he was the top rookie performer aboard his Estrella Galicia 0,0 entry.

Enea Bastianini will take up the eighth slot on the grid for Leopard, while his team-mate Lorenzo Dalla Porta is ninth. Tatsuki Suzuki completes the top ten on the second Sic58 Squadra Corse machine.

Martin’s main rival in the title hunt, Aron Canet(Estrella Galicia), was off the pace in 15th.

Even further down the grid, John McPhee - who was a front row starter in Texas- could only manage 17th, he was out qualified by his rookie team-mate at CIP Makar Yurchenko who claimed 13th before a late fall straight after setting his best lap.

Darryn Binder took the first spill of the session after hitting the back of another rider at turn four after just seven minutes, it was the South African’s second big off of the day after also falling in practice in the morning, but this time he required a stretcher to leave the track.

He was taken to the medical centre for a full check-up and was later declared unfit to race tomorrow after dislocating his left shoulder.

There were no further fallers until the final minute when Yurchenko slid into the gravel at turn six just before Gabriel Rodrigo did the same at turn seven, Rodrigo was also sent to the medical centre for checks.

There are wild-card rides this weekend for Japanese rider Ai Ogura (Asia Talent Team) and Spaniard Jeremy Alcoba (Junior Team Estrella Galicia 0,0). Ogura had the best run and flirted with the top ten on his way to 19th, Alcoba will start from 26th position on the grid.


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