The returning Spaniard set a new Portimao lap record in Moto3™ to claim pole from McPhee; title leader Acosta has work to do on Sunday
The returning Sergio Garcia (MuchoNeumatico GASGAS Aspar Team) set a new Autodromo Internacional do Algarve Moto3™ lap record to claim a brilliant pole position at the Grande Prémio Brembo do Algarve. John McPhee (Petronas Sprinta Racing) was only 0.017s away from Garcia’s 1:47.274 as Adrian Fernandez (Sterilgarda Max Racing Team) picked up a maiden Grand Prix front row start, with title-chasing Dennis Foggia (Leopard Racing) grabbing P4. However, World Championship leader Pedro Acosta (Red Bull KTM Ajo) will start from P14 on his second 2021 match point weekend.
Cancelled lap costs Acosta, Foggia looking strong
Filip Salač (CarXpert PrüstelGP) set the initial benchmark time, a 1:47.811, to sit 0.008s clear of Ayumu Sasaki (Red Bull KTM Tech3) and Acosta, before FP3 pacesetter McPhee climbed ahead of the number 37 into provisional P3. After two flying laps, Foggia was P9 and 0.4s down on Salač’s fastest lap.
Lapping together, Sasaki, Acosta and Jaume Masia (Red Bull KTM Ajo) flew across the line with the latter going up to P4, ahead of teammate Acosta. But there were red sectors everywhere. Garcia was a staggering 0.7s under Salač’s time at the third split, and over the line, Garcia went P1 by half a second. Masia went up to P2 but Acosta’s last lap was cancelled, so the best he could hope for was P8.
Now, how damaging could Acosta running onto the green cost him? Foggia was sixth but on a personal best, and the Italian did go faster. McPhee slotted himself P2, Fernandez strung a fantastic final lap together to earn his maiden front row start in Grand Prix racing, with Foggia pocketing P4. Acosta, meanwhile, was left to rue his final lap cancellation – the World Championship leader will start P14.
Acosta’s teammate Masia will be hoping he can ruffle Foggia’s feathers on Sunday when the Spaniard launches from P5 alongside the Italian, but Foggia’s teammate Xavier Artigas (Leopard Racing) is P6 – a tasty looking Row 2.
Darryn Binder (Petronas Sprinta Racing) will spearhead Row 3 in P7, the South African has Q1 graduate Niccolo Antonelli (Avintia VR46 Academy) for company in P8, Salač slipped to P9 after leading in the early stages. Sasaki, who has a Long Lap Penalty to contend with, rounded out the top 10 in Moto3™ qualifying.
A title-defining Sunday awaits
Acosta vs Foggia – we’ve been here before. The World Championship leader has his second match point of the season, 21 points is the gap, and victory for Acosta would hand him the title. P14 plays P4, what drama lies ahead on Sunday? Find out when the most important race of the season gets underway at 11:20 local time (GMT+0).
1. Sergio Garcia (MuchoNeumaticao GASGAS Aspar Team) – 1:47.271
2. John McPhee (Petronas Sprinta Raacing) + 0.017
3. Adrian Fernandez (Sterilgarda Max Racing Team) + 0.130
4. Dennis Foggia (Leopard Racing) + 0.243
5. Jaume Masia (Red Bull KTM Ajo) + 0.296
6. Xavier Artigas (Leopard Racing) + 0.312
7. Darryn Binder (Petronas Sprinta Racing) + 0.438
8. Niccolo Antonelli (Avintia VR46 Academy) + 0.500
9. Filip Salač (CarXpert PrüstelGP) + 0.537
10. Ayumu Sasaki (Red Bull KTM Tech3) + 0.543