Third row for Ayumu Sasaki in Argentina2019-03-31 09:47
Ayumu Sasaki took part in his first Moto3 Q2 session this Saturday at Termas de Rio Hondo, and emerged ninth quickest in the grid-deciding runout. The position is his best at the Argentinian track, which hosts the second round of the 2019 season. Teammate John McPhee was the fastest man in FP3 and in the combined Free Practice standings; in the race he will start from two places behind Sasaki - eleventh.
McPhee had set the pace on Friday, and he carried this over into FP3, lowering his time by almost a second with a 1:48.959. The PETRONAS Sprinta Racing man was the only rider to break into the 1:48s. Sasaki also made progress from Day 1, putting in a 1:49.828 lap and fighting to the end to get into Q2. He would place 15th on the timesheets, but a penalty for another rider allowed him to make the cut and skip Q1.
The Japanese rider would set his best time of the weekend in Q2, and his 1:49.309 lap means that he will start from the third row of the grid (9th). McPhee, who opted for a single-stint strategy, was unable to launch an attack on pole on his final lap. The PETRONAS Sprinta Racing rider will start from 11th on the starting grid, thanks to the 1:49.459 time he set on the penultimate lap of the qualifying session.
Today the PETRONAS Sepang Racing Team are participating in Earth Hour, a global awareness campaign about climate change.
The 21-lap Moto3 Argentina GP will get underway tomorrow at 12pm local time.
#71 Ayumu Sasaki
"It's been a difficult weekend for me so far. We have improved session-by-session, which is good, but I'm not happy with my best lap. With the medium tyre I struggled a lot exiting corners, so maybe I could have gone better with the hard compound. My weak point at this circuit was my hot laps, but in the end we were able to finish ninth, which is good. I feel good with both sets of tyres, and that's positive. I'm more confident ahead of the race, but we must wait until tomorrow to see what the conditions are like. I'm happy to have finished on one of the first three rows, which was my goal. I think tomorrow there will not be a big group like in Qatar; at most there will be ten riders in the leading group, and I think it's possible that we will be up there."
#17 John McPhee
"My pace has been very good and fast throughout the weekend, and the bike is going very well. The team are doing a good job, and my race pace in FP3 especially was very strong. The objective for today was to qualify on the first two rows of the grid and we couldn't do that, which is a shame. I rode alone and I made a small mistake on my fastest lap, leaving me a little far back. The important thing is that I am feeling strong this weekend. The race is going to be exciting and I'm confident that we can do a good job."
1. JAUME MASIA / KTM
2. ARON CANET / KTM
3. TONY ARBOLINO / Honda
4. LORENZO DALLA PORTA / Honda
5. NICCOLO ANTONELLI / Honda
9. AYUMU SASAKI / PETRONAS Sprinta Racing
11. JOHN MCPHEE / PETRONAS Sprinta Racing
Termas de Rio Hondo Circuit
Right Corners: 9
Left corners: 5
Longest straight: 1.076m
Fastest Lap: 1:48.461
(Miguel Oliveira 2015)
Circuit Record: 1:48.977
(Miguel Oliveira 2015)
Source: SIC Racing Team
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