moto3 / Rain shuffles the cards in Qualifying
After a break caused by a red flag, the three riders of the Leopard Racing team qualified on third, fourth and fifth rows.
A daring round of qualifying at Sepang circuit, the scene of the penultimate round of the 2016 World Championship. On its fascinating 5.5 kilometres, the three riders of Leopard Racing team gave their all in the decisive session (interrupted by a flag red with 19 minutes remaining due to monsoon rain) to decided the starting grid of the Malaysian Grand Prix.
The best of the “triple force” of Leopard Racing was Fabio Quartararo. Fourth fastest in FP3 this morning, in the afternoon the French talent took to the track determined to overcome the adverse conditions. ‘El Diablo’ recorded a 2’27.661 lap time, which earned him ninth on the grid.
The sudden change of weather conditions were a new experience for rookie Joan Mir, who was particularly at ease dry conditions in FP3. He concluded the pre-Qualifying session in fifth position after leading for most of the session. But the arrival of rain during Qualifying has upset the rider’s strategy, with the Spaniard settling for 14th place.
Andrea Locatelli was at ease once again in the wet, the Italian developing a real talent for rain riding. The 20 year old, just back from second place last Sunday at Phillip Island, guided his KTM through the bigger puddles on track to place himself well within the group for Sunday’s race.
Tomorrow at 09:40 (local time), Warm Up will begin, a preview of the seventeenth and penultimate race of the 2016 season that will start at 12:00 o’clock.
#20 Fabio QUARTARARO – 9th (2’27.661):
“Today I was fast in the dry and in qualifying we tried a different strategy, it was working, but the arrival of the rain ruined the plans and feeling I had at the beginning.”
#55 Andrea LOCATELLI – 11th (2’27.987):
“Overall I’m satisfied with the result today. At the beginning of Qualifying we went out on slicks and we lost a bit of time. Then with the wet track I immediately felt at ease: in fact I managed to improve my time, even gaining positions. But in the final moments I have been hindered by some riders and could not go faster. I’m glad that I have the feeling in the wet, tomorrow we can get a good result!”
#36 Joan MIR – 14th (2’28.193):
“It was not a bad day, in the wet I had not the best feeling but in the dry I feel at ease and I also showed a good pace. Tomorrow we will try to improve in the warm up and, in case of rain, be prepared to fight like we always do.”
Moto3™ Starting Grid – Malaysian Grand Prix 2016:
1 – Brad Binder / RSA / Red Bull KTM Ajo / KTM / 2’26.268
2 – Jorge Navarro / SPA / Estrella Galicia 0,0 / Honda / 2’26.361
3 – Francesco Bagnaia / ITA / Pull & Bear Aspar / Mahindra / 2’26.395
9 – Fabio QUARTARARO / FRA / Leopard Racing / KTM / 2’27.661
11 – Andrea LOCATELLI / ITA / Leopard Racing / KTM / 2’27.987
14 – Joan MIR / SPA / Leopard Racing / KTM / 2’28.193
Moto3™ Schedule (Local Time, GMT +8):
Sunday, October 30th:
09:40–10:00 – WarmUp
12:00 (18 Laps) – Race
Photo Credit: Leopard Racing