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.
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.