2015 Qatar Moto3 Qualifying | Masbou Earns Debut Pole
Alexis Masbou

The first pole of the 2015 Moto3 Championship went to SAXOPPRINT RTG’s Alexis Masbou, who claimed the first top-qualifying spot of his career.

But it wasn’t a runaway pole; the top-five riders were within a tenth of a second, and the top 10 within a second. Many of the top speeds occurred during the final 10 minutes of qualifying when riders were on fresh tires; numerous times the top times were swapped.

MotoGP reports that most Moto3 teams used “formation riding”, where teammates lap in groups around the circuit to allow them to take advantage of each others’ slipstream to set faster times, and it almost seemed like a race as riders chopped and changed position out on track trying to take advantage of the racing line.

But when it was over Masbou earned the pole by 0.067 of a second ahead of Husqvarna Factory Laglisse’s Isaac Viñales and 0.075 of a second ahead of Ongetta-Rivacold Honda’s Niccolo Antonelli.

Heading up the second row is MAPFRE Team Mahindra’s Francesco Bagnaia (-0.084 of a second). Bagnaia will be joined on the second row by SAXOPRINT RTG Honda’s John McPhee (-0.084 of a second) and Estrella Galicia 0,0 Honda’s Fabio Quartararo.

Qualifying on row three is Gresini Racing Team Moto3 Honda’s Andrea Locatelli, Red Bull KTM Ajo’s Miquel Oliveira and the man who set the fastest time in practice, Leopard Racing’s Danny Kent.

The Moto3 grid returns to grid Sunday for the season opener at Qatar that takes place at 6 p.m. local time.