125cc Championship leader Nicolas Terol (Bankia Aspar) continued his trend of topping the timesheets this weekend at the bwin Grande Prémio de Portugal with pole position in qualifying. Joining him on the front row are Sandro Cortese (Intact-Racing Team Germany) and local Portuguese rider Miguel Oliveira (Team Andalucía Banca Cívica).
The Spaniard took his third career pole position by a large margin of over seven tenths of a second after collecting a maximum of 50 points from the first two races of the campaign. Cortese who who started from pole in Jerez will join his championship rival from the middle of the front row. Unable to take part in last year’s race after a crash in the sighting lap, the German will be hoping for better fortune tomorrow.
Oliveira delighted his home support by achieving a front row start in only his third race in the class. The 16-year old rookie was 0.849s off Terol’s pole position lap. The second Bankia Aspar rider in the top ten was that of Héctor Faubel. The Spaniard has finished second at Estoril in the 125cc class in both 2005 and 2006.
After a damp final practice, the track was drying out slowly for qualifying in the cooler conditions. Qualifying was a chaotic session with riders struggling to adapt to the changeable surface.
Fifth place went to Alberto Moncayo (Team Andalucía Banca Cívica), one spot ahead of Frenchman Johann Zarco (Avant-AirAsia-Ajo) who was on the rostrum for the first time in Jerez. Luis Salom (RW Racing GP) was seventh quickest, the final rider to be within a two second margin of the pole lap.
Jonas Folger (Red Bull Ajo Motorsport) who equalled his best ever finish with second place in Jerez, was eighth ahead of Efrén Vázquez (Avant-AirAsia-Ajo). The third Bankia Aspar in the top ten was Adrián Martín who had an off near the start of qualifying when he appeared to be involved with Sarath Kumar (WTR-Ten10 Racing), the latter failing to qualify.
The qualifying practice was full of incidents with Taylor Mackenzie (Phonica Racing) having a nasty highside but able to finish 26th fastest. Hungarian rider Peter Sebestyen (Caretta Technology Race DPT) who has now joined the 125cc category full time, then replicated the accident. Danny Kent (Red Bull Ajo Motorsport) qualified 23rd was also victim of turn one, as was wildcard rider Kevin Hanus (Team Hanusch) who failed to qualify after his incident on his sole machine. Harry Stafford (Ongetta-Centro Seta) was the leading British representative by finishing in 17th, ahead of his compatriot Danny Webb (Mahindra Racing) who was 18th.
The mayhem continued to occur at the left hand kink at the start of the lap when Hiroki Ono (Caretta Technology Forward Team), who had achieved his best result in the class at Jerez, fell at the first corner and then was clipped by Sergio Gadea (Blusens by Paris Hilton Racing). The Spaniard ran wide to try and avoid the stricken rider but made contact with his shoulder causing him to fall. All riders were able to walk away.
Alessandro Tonucci (Team Italia FMI) who crashed in FP3 has been declared unfit to take part in the race following injuries sustained this morning.