Hiroki Ono has claimed pole position at the Japanese Grand Prix but unfortunately for the Honda Team Asia rider, a three place grid penalty means that he will start from fourth place on the grid. Andrea Migno will now have his second place upgraded to pole after the Italian finished 0.086s behind Ono. Freshly crowned Moto3 World Champion Brad Binder completed the front row in third.
Ono had been quiet for the majority of the qualifying session but the Japanese rider sprung to life in the final few seconds to seize the best ever lap of the Twin Ring Motegi Circuit and take provisional pole for the first time in his Moto3 world championship career. However this was short lived as it was realized that the home rider had suffered a 3-place grid penalty in free practice one for riding too slowly in sectors of the track, and will therefore begin his home Grand Prix from fourth.
Migno, who was lingering towards the top of the timesheets throughout qualifying, will now be rewarded for his consistency and will be upgraded to pole position due to Ono’s grid penalty’s. This will be the Italian’s maiden pole and he will be hoping to improve on what has been a difficult season for the Sky VR46 rider.
Newly crowned Moto3 World Champion Brad Binder will start the Japanese Grand Prix from second place on the grid despite the South African having brake issues. The Red Bull KTM Ajo rider was third fastest in the session but also benefited from grid penalty’s.
Completing the front row will be Enea Bastianini, who was on provisional pole for short time until he was shuffled down the pack as the final fast laps came in. This front row will be vital to the Gresini man’s challenge for second in the world championship as nearest rival Jorge Navarro qualified in P11.
Nicolo Bulega, who also had the lead before the final few laps swamped down to fifth, finishing behind the penalised Ono but ahead of rival teammate Lorenzo Dalla Porta who rounded out the second row in a career best sixth position.
A late crash with Juanfran Guevara Prevented Motegi 2015 winner, Niccolo Antonelli, from making any late progress, but the Italian had already done enough early on to secure seventh place on the grid ahead of another late crasher, Fabio Quartararo who also did just enough early on to finish inside the top ten in eighth. Adam Norrodin put in a fantastic session to qualify a shock ninth and get his first top ten start of the season. Schedl GP Racing’s Philipp Oettl completed another solid qualifying session in tenth.
The Moto3 race begins on Sunday at 03:00 BST.