Moto3 2021
Round 2

Honda riders dominate front of grid

qa Losail International Circuit

Honda riders will fill five of the six places on the front two rows of tomorrow’s Moto3 grid, underlining the strength of the NSF250RW, which is aiming for its fifth consecutive Moto3 Constructors World Championship.

Honda riders dominate front of grid

As always there was little to separate the top riders, with just 1.5 seconds covering the top 18, despite windy conditions which reduced grip by blowing sand onto the asphalt.

The NSF250RW also dominated the FP1, FP2 and FP3 sessions, filling four of the top five positions, which bodes well for the second race of the 2021 Moto3 series.

Team-mates Jeremy Alcoba (Team Gresini Moto3 Honda NSF250RW) and Gabriel Rodrigo (Team Gresini Moto3 Honda NSF250RW) qualified third and fourth but will start the race from second and third on the front row because another rider was penalized for a rules infraction. The 19-year-old Spaniard and 24-year-old Argentine rider rode superbly in qualifying, to put themselves in the best position for tomorrow’s race, which will most likely be like last Sunday’s race, which had a pack of up to a dozen riders fighting for victory.

The second row of the grid is all NSF250RW riders: Tatsuki Suzuki (SIC58 Squadra Corse Honda NSF250RW), Andrea Migno (Rivacold Snipers Team Honda NSF250RW) and Darryn Binder (Petronas Sprinta Racing Honda NSF250RW). The third row is also led by Honda man – John McPhee (Petronas Sprinta Racing Honda NSF250RW).

Suzuki is in much better shape this weekend than last, because he’s had more time to recover from suffering COVID-19, which caused him to miss pre-season testing. The 23-year-old from Chiba finished eighth last weekend, just 2.2 seconds behind the winner, so he is confident he can be in the contest for a podium finish.

Binder was one of the stars of the first Moto3 competition of 2021, battling for the lead throughout in his first race on an NSF250RW and finishing third, 0.094 seconds off the win. The 23-year-old South African hope to go two better this weekend to keep building his championship challenge.

Migno and McPhee are hoping for their first points of 2021 – last Sunday they both taken out of the race by a rival.

Team-mates Yuki Kunii (Honda Team Asia Honda NSF250RW) and Andi Farid Izdihar (Honda Team Asia Honda NSF250RW) had a complicated qualifying this evening.

Kunii had had set a promising pace in free practice, standing 18th after FP3, only seven tenths of a seconds behind the fastest rider. However, the 18-year-old from Setagaya struggled to reproduce that speed in qualifying, which put him 25th on time, though he will start from 19th, due to penalties to other riders.

Izdihar did everything he could to climb further up the grid but slid off during his final lap in the Q1 outing. The 23-year-old Indonesian will start from 21st on the grid after setting 27th fastest time.

Jeremy Alcoba
Jeremy Alcoba 52
Indonesian Racing Gresini Moto3
I did not expect to put together such a quick lap. Track conditions were very difficult and my size surely didn’t help. Honestly I don’t know what to expect from tomorrow’s race – it could be a big battle or maybe somebody will be able to pull away. The only thing I wish is to be at the front and battle until the end.

Gabriel Rodrigo
Gabriel Rodrigo 2
Indonesian Racing Gresini Moto3
It’s a front row without parc fermé but it’s good nevertheless. We have a good feeling with the bike and when we lapped on our own we were still competitive, so I’m happy. To be starting at the front is surely important even though I expect the race to be similar to last week’s. We will try to battle for the win.

Tatsuki Suzuki
Tatsuki Suzuki 24
SIC58 Squadra Corse
Of course this is better than last week, so I am happy enough. The main thing is that we should be able to get away with the leaders, which will make our race strategy more straightforward. I know it will be a big group fighting for the win, so it will be important to stay cool and save something for the final laps.

Yuki Kunii
Yuki Kunii 92
Honda Team Asia
I made a big mistake on my lap attack and I lost the option to do a good lap time. My grid position is not good. I need to change myself and fight much more. I don't know what to say. I start from behind, and the only solution for tomorrow is to fight from the first moment.

Andi Farid Izdihar
Andi Farid Izdihar 19
Honda Team Asia
I’ve had bad luck today. I couldn't complete FP3 because of a small problem. We fixed it for Q1. When I went to try to catch the front group in my last outing I lost the front and crashed, losing all my good qualifying position options. I’ll try to keep motivated for tomorrow.

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