Brad Binder has secured a stunning pole position after the South African used his vast experience to navigate the treacherous Sepang Circuit best following an early red flag due to heavy rain. Jorge Navarro continued his strong weekend with an impressive second. Francesco Bagnaia completed the front row in third.
As the green light went out for the start of the Moto3 qualifying session, all of the riders attempted to get out early as the rain started spitting down on the Sepang Circuit. Navarro was the first rider to adapt to the conditions best as the Spaniard was on provisional pole early on. However with twenty minutes to go, heavy rain started to bucket down on the track resulting in a Red Flag. It seemed very unlikely that any riders would improve their laptimes.
The session got back underway shortly after the rain subsided with Jorge Martin and teammate Bagnaia the only riders showing improvements on their time. It became apparent as the session wore on that pole would be contested by two riders as Navarro and Bagnaia were rapidly bettering their time each lap.
While the Estrella Galicia 0,0 rider sat on pole, freshly-crowned World Champion Binder was slowly adjusting to the difficult track conditions and the Red Bull KTM Ajo rider was improving his position with each lap. As the chequered flag was being readied, the South African was left with one lap to challenge for pole. Over a tenth down in the third sector, pole seemed out of reach until a magical final sector snatched pole away from Navarro. This is his sixth pole position of the season.
Bagnaia completed the front row in third after a very strong session and this grid position gives him a fantastic chance of a second race victory on Sunday. Heading up the second row is Lorenzo Dalla Porta who was just pipped off the front row by Binder’s wonder lap but the Italian incredibly is fastest out of all the VR46 riders. Gabriel Rodrigo rounded out the top five despite a late crash.
Niccolo Antonelli, who had a difficult weekend and has struggled to adapt to the Malaysian track, found big improvements in qualifying to finish in sixth, ahead of 2017 teammate Bo Bendsneyder, who also found good pace in the session. Early improver, Jorge Martin finished a strong qualifying to take eighth with Fabio Quartararo and Aron Canet completing the top ten in ninth and tenth respectively.
The Moto3 race begins at 04:00 BST on Sunday, with Brad Binder looking to claim another race victory but he will have tough opposition in his way.
Image Via: Motorsport.com