UPDATE: after the session, following a trip to the medical centre, Niccolo Antonelli was declard unfit for Sunday's race, diagnosed with a fracture to his right hand.

Deniz Oncu took his first front row start in style with a surprise pole position in the closing moments of qualifying for the Moto3 Styrian Grand Prix, round ten of the world championship.

The Red Bull KTM Tech 3 rider posted a best lap of 1m 36.453s after gaining a tow from Andrea Migno over the line to move him up from twelfth to provisional pole. The Turkish rider was preoccupied with his next move - after appearing to not hit the brakes in time he was fiercely shaking his head at himself as he went around the inside of the gravel trap.

Once informed he had held first the anger changed to elation and a series of celebratory wheelies. Oncu’s previous best qualifying placing had been eighth, marking a huge improvement.

Sergio Garcia had been leading the way, but was feeling the pressure at the top. Looking for even more time, the Santander Consumer Bank GasGas rider was violently thrown from his bike at turn three, leaving the Spaniard looking battered and bruised, but able to walk away from his fall.

His previous top time held on to second, allowing the number eleven to keep hold of a front row start, just 0.024s off Oncu’s best.


Romano Fenati continued his run of riding solo in qualifying, with the tension between himself and Sterilgarda Max Racing team-mate Adrian Fernandez at an all time high, there was no chance of a team run to swap slipstreams.

Confident in his ability to run alone, the class veteran remained a solitary figure in Q2 after doing the same in Q1, sticking to his plan and moving him up to third to complete the front row on Sunday.

Jeremy Alcoba was the last rider to improve, climbing to fourth as the chequered flag came out for Gresini.

Championship leader Pedro Acosta ran with team-mate Jaume Masia as they swapped places at the front to share the slipstream advantage with each other. That helped the rookie up to fifth, with Masia eighth.

Between them on the grid will be fellow rookie Izan Guevara, who lead the session briefly early on, on the second GasGas entry, and Dennis Foggia. 

Assen winner Foggia had needed to come through Q1, which he did with the fastest time. The Italian is also the highest placed Honda rider on the grid.

Darryn Binder claimed a ninth place start, the best of the Petronas Sprinta riders, with John McPhee down in twelfth.

Gabriel Rodrigo (Indonesian Racing Gresini) showed enough improvement in the session to complete the top ten.

Niccolo Antonelli held on to eleventh despite a fall seeing him miss much of the session for Avintia VR46.

Despite an early crash in FP3, Ayumu Sasaki, now back to full fitness following his Catalunya tumble, came into qualifying leading the way. His Q2 began the same way with a small spill at turn three. That left the Red Bull KTM Tech 3 rider down in 15th - though his FP3 time remained the fastest of the weekend.

Riccardo Rossi (BOE Owlride) slotted in behind the Red Bull Ajo duo to tow his way to 13th, with Tatsuki Suzuki unusually off the pace in 14th for SIC58 Squadra Corse.

Replacement rider at Rivacold Snipers, David Salvador (in for Alberto Surra, who took over the seat when Filip Salac moved to CarxPert PruestelGP) got a moment to shine as he was the early session leader in Q1 when on track with just the Honda Team Asia riders for company. The eighteen year old finished his first world championship qualifying session in 12th, for 26th on the grid.