Mario Suryo Aji (Honda Team Asia Honda NSF250RW) will start tomorrow’s Portuguese Grand Prix, the first European race of 2022, from second place on the grid, alongside front-row first-timer Lorenzo Fellon (SIC58 Squadra Corse Honda NSF250RW), who was third quickest in today’s Q2 qualifying session.
This is Aji’s second front row since he made his Grand Prix debut just five races ago, at last month's season-opening Qatar GP, and it confirms the 18-year-old Indonesian as a great hope for the future.
Conditions today were very tricky, with yesterday’s heavy rain and strong winds continuing into this morning, so qualifying went ahead on a treacherous, soaking track, with several riders sliding off as they pushed for their fastest laps.
Much better weather is forecast for tomorrow, so the morning warm-up session will be the first time riders have ridden a dry circuit this weekend.
This afternoon Aji was in the battle for pole throughout the 15 minutes, joined by fellow Honda riders Fellon, Tatsuki Suzuki (Leopard Racing Honda NSF250RW) and impressive rookie Scott Ogden (VisionTrack Racing Team Honda NSF250RW), who all took their turn at provisional pole.
Suzuki qualified fifth, with Ogden eighth, one place behind Riccardo Rossi (SIC58 Squadra Corse Honda NSF250RW).
World Championship leader Dennis Foggia (Leopard Racing Honda NSF250RW) has had a more challenging time in Portugal. The 21-year-old Italian struggled to find the necessary speed on the soaking track, ending free practice 18th fastest, so he had to come through Q1 to Q2. During Q2 he did make it into the top ten but slipped to 12th at the finish, so he will start the race from the fourth row, next to 11th-fastest Andrea Migno (Rivacold Snipers Team Honda NSF250RW).
Rookie Taiyo Furusato (Honda Team Asia Honda NSF250RW), who’s contesting only his third Grand prix this weekend, slid off in FP3 and again at the start of Q1. Although the impressive 16-year-old from Kanoya was unhurt his bike was damaged, so he couldn’t continue and will therefore start the race from the back of the grid.
After tomorrow’s race the Moto3 grid heads across the Portuguese/Spanish border for next weekend’s Spanish GP at Jerez.