Moto3 2021
Round 1

Honda Riders Will Fill Three of the Top Four Places

qa Losail International Circuit

Moto3 pole went to 23-year-old South African Darryn Binder, younger brother of MotoGP rider and former Moto3 World Champion Brad Binder. Honda riders will fill three of the top four places on tomorrow’s grid, with Binder’s team-mate 26-year-old Briton John McPhee (Petronas Sprinta Racing Honda NSF25

Honda Riders Will Fill Three of the Top Four Places

Binder was in brilliant form, coming through from Q1 to set the pace in Q2. He was bettered in the final moments of the session, until his final lap put him back on top. His performance suggests that the NSF250RW will be a strong contender for achieving its fifth consecutive Moto3 Constructors World Championship during 2021.

McPhee was in the same group at the end of the 15 minutes, lifting himself onto the front row with his last lap, just 0.079 seconds ahead of Alcoba.

Gabriel Rodrigo (Team Gresini Moto3 Honda NSF250RW) was favourite for a front-row start after running a very close third at the end of the three free practice sessions, but he could only manage seventh in Q2, missing the second row by one tenth of a second.

Yuki Kunii (Honda Team Asia Honda NSF250RW) had every intention of graduating from Q1 to Q2 but missed promotion by less than three tenths of a second. The 18-year-old from Setagaya will start the race from the seventh row of the grid.

Team-mate Andi Farid Izdihar (Honda Team Asia Honda NSF250RW) qualified six places behind Kunii in 26th. This is the 23-year-old Indonesian’s first race weekend in the Moto3 World Championship after riding his rookie GP season last year in Moto2.

Tatsuki Suzuki (SIC58 Squadra Corse Honda NSF250RW) started last year’s Qatar Moto3 race from pole and will start this year’s from last place on the grid. The 23-year-old from Chiba has had a complicated start to 2021: he missed testing due to contracting COVID-19, is struggling with the after-effects of the virus and had this evening’s qualifying lap cancelled for exceeding track limits.

Tomorrow’s World Championship racing starts with the Moto3 race at 17:00 local time, with the Moto2 and MotoGP races following at 18:20 and 20:00.

The Qatar GP is usually the only night-time MotoGP round, but this in 2021 will be followed by next weekend’s Doha GP at the same track.

Darryn Binder
Darryn Binder 40
Petronas Sprinta Racing
It was really unfortunate that I didn’t get a lap together in FP2 yesterday, because I missed out on going straight to Q2. I accepted in FP3 that I wasn’t going to be going through so just did the job that I needed to. When I went out for Q1 I just got my head down and got the lap done, then went even faster in Q2 so I was stoked about that. That last lap I just held my breath and came through to get my pole. It’s been so cool to join PETRONAS Sprinta Racing, they’ve been so good to me and I’ve really gelled so well with them and the bike. I’m on pole for the first round of the year so I can’t be happier than that.

John McPhee
John McPhee 17
Petronas Sprinta Racing
I’m really happy to be on the front row. It wasn’t our intention to leave it until the last lap. We tried to get a banker lap in early, but I came across two or three guys going slowly and that held me up. It was a stressful end to the session, but I’m really happy with the pace we had. You could see the difference riding in a group made and I know we’ve still got more to give. I want to say well done to Darryn. It’s really good to see him on pole and it’s great for the team as well. We’ve been helping each other and done our job to both be on the front row. Now I’m just looking forward to the race tomorrow.

Jeremy Alcoba
Jeremy Alcoba 52
Indonesian Racing Gresini Moto3
I was feeling really good today and on the last flying lap I could have done even better. In the last split, with the fast corners I could have been quicker. Surely we went from last place in FP1 to fourth in qualifying, and since I’m not that good on the single lap I can say it’s not a bad result at all. We need to improve a few more tenths but we’re almost there.

Yuki Kunii
Yuki Kunii 92
Honda Team Asia
Yesterday I lost the option to go directly into Q2 by such a small gap. And today again. I need to improve my strategies. I was focused only to ride fast alone, and other riders were cleverer and used me to be faster than me, using my slipstream. Then they passed through to Q2 and I didn’t. That is my second season in Moto3. Tomorrow I need to remember that I need to fight much more; this is the DNA of this category. If not, you’re out.

Andi Farid Izdihar
Andi Farid Izdihar 19
Honda Team Asia
Today was my first qualifying session in Moto3. The strategies are completely different from Moto2 ? you have to be very attentive to others to decide your position in the correct group. In Q1 I was riding good lap times, but I decided to enter the pits to change the rear tyre. But with the fresh tyre we re-joined the track too late, so I lost the option to score a good lap time. This was good learning for next weekend, about how to manage a Moto3 qualifying session.

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