Qatar Moto3: Canet claims first pole of the season in Losail

Aron Canet becomes the first person to take pole in the new qualifying format in Moto3 at Qatar.
Qatar Moto3: Canet claims first pole of the season in Losail

Aron Canet claimed the first pole position of the season by continuing his fast start to the weekend to take pole position for the Moto3 Qatar Grand Prix in Losail.

The sole rider in Max Biaggi’s new Sterilgarda Max Racing Team worked in conjunction with both Vincente Perez (Reale Avintia Arizona 77) and John McPhee (Petronas Sprinta Racing) and reaped the benefits - although the qualifying times were not a match for his record pace on Friday he still registered an impressive 2m 05.883s aboard the KTM.

It is the Spaniard's first pole since Germany 2017 after a barren spell on a Saturday, and the fourth of his career.

Joining him on the front row are Lorenzo Dalla Porta, a fellow favourite for the season after those who finished ahead of him in the championship last year moved on. His final lap on the Honda blasted him up to second for Leopard Racing. 

Third place on the grid went to the very consistent Kaito Toba. Running solo in qualifying the Japanese Honda Team Asia rider had previously placed eleventh in the fast FP2 session and third in the morning to show his pace at the track, despite the difficult cold and windy conditions on qualifying day.

Romano Fenati, a former podium finisher at Qatar, looked set to continue where he left off. Second fastest ahead of QP, the Snipers Team rider had his hopes undone by his team - a tyre change saw him exit the pits without enough time to complete a final run and down in eleventh.

After there was no progress in the hot and windy FP3, McPhee had to come through Q1 first, and was joined by Celestino Vietti who came through as the top rider, along with Ai Ogura and Raul Fernandez.



The British rider made the most of his time in the co-operative trio on track for fourth.

Nico Antonelli (SIC58 Squadra Corse), who claimed pole at the track last season, rewarded his team for continuing with him as a rider - despite another crash at the start of the session (he was also the first to fall on Friday) he put in an all or nothing lap as the chequered flag waved for fifth.

Albert Arenas will fill the final spot on the second row, taking sixth for the Angel Nieto Team.

Tony Arbolino slipped back to seventh on the second Snipers entry, while Vietti, who registered a podium finish as a wildcard in Australia in 2018, was the top rookie rider in eighth for Sky Racing Team VR46.

Perez took ninth ahead of Raul Fernandez (Sama Qatart Angel Nieto Team) who completes the top ten.

Gabriel Rodrigo continued to astound, having only recently had collarbone surgery, the Gresini rider continued to rally hard for an impressive twelfth.

Andrea Migno was among several riders to have a lap time cancelled, with his coming at the worst possible time, demoting him to 17th from a provisional fourth after the chequered flag.

Can Oncu (Red Bull KTM Ajo), who became the youngest winner when he made the most of his Valencia wildcard entry last season, could not to make the most of his track knowledge via his time in the Asia Talent Cup as he collected 18th.

Tom Booth-Amos (CIP Green Power) will launch from the penultimate row in 26th on race day after experiencing issues starting his bike and is just two places behind his experienced teammate Darryn Binder.

Filip Salac, who went to hospital following his FP3 crash returned to complete but both he and Ricardo Rossi, who crashed in the first half of qualifying, both failed to set a time in Q1.