Raul Fernandez secured his third pole position in a frantic final few minutes of qualifying for the Moto3 Emilia Romagna Grand Prix at Misano.

The Red Bull KTM Ajo rider finished on top as the lead changed hands several times while the clock ticked down.

His best of 1m 41.705s was set on his penultimate lap and although fastest in qualifying, his time was not better than the new lap record set by Celestino Vietti in practice, with the track temperature rising considerably between the sessions.

Tony Arbolino was the man displaced by Fernandez. He was just 0.088s slower after coming through Q1, but also lucky to finish at all after doing well to avoid Tatsuki Suzuki, the only faller in the session. The Italian steered his Rivacold Snipers Honda through the gravel at Rio but was unable to challenge to top the timesheets again.

Andrea Migno had teamwork to his advantage as he slipstreamed fellow Sky Racing VR46 team member Vietti to complete the front row, while proving he was race ready after passing Stefano Nepa on the same lap.

Championship leader Albert Arenas left it to the last minute to salvage his qualifying. The Gaviota Aspar rider was down in 16th for much of the session before a determined and aggressive final lap weaving through traffic on track pulled him up to fourth.

Vietti’s turn in the Sky slipstream partnership took him to fifth. Romano Fenati continued his upward trajectory since arriving at Misano last weekend. He lead the session briefly for Sterilgarda Max Racing on his way to sixth on the Husqvarna.

Kaito Toba made the most of his Q1 track time and pushed hard for seventh on the second Red Bull entry.

Despite his crash Suzuki (SIC58 Squadra Corse) had already done enough for eighth on the grid. Leopard’s Jaume Masia dropped to ninth as the final fast laps flew in. Rookie Jeremy Alcoba had enough pace to complete the top ten for Kommerling Gresini.

It was a tough day for last weekend’s podium finishers - Ai Ogura (Honda Team Asia) ran solo in the final laps of Q2 but even away from the congestion on track he could only find a time strong enough for 12th.

With nothing guaranteed in Moto3, last week’s race winner John McPhee didn’t make it out of Q1. The Petronas Sprinta rider didn’t set a banker lap and riding alone on track late in the session he could not quite match the pace of the graduating riders, finishing sixth - which equals a 20th place grid start.

He was not alone with further upsets for Gabriel Rodrigo (Kommerling Gresini -19th), Darryn Binder (CIP Green Power - 21st) and Niccolo Antonelli (SIC58 Squadra Corse -22nd) after they too failed to make it out of the first qualifying session.

Most riders served their Misano penalties in practice but Estrella Galicia’s Sergio Garcia and Alonso Lopez (Sterilgarda Max Racing Team) are due to complete their long lap penalties for the crashes they were involved in last weekend in the race. They start from 18th and 23rd respectively.

 

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