Oettl claims pole after a wet day two for Moto3 at COTA

A wet Moto3 FP3 and qualifying session left riders reluctant to risk it out on track at the Circuit of the Americas however Oettl has gained pole position ahead of the race at the third round.

Oettl claims pole after a wet day two for Moto3 at COTA
Oettl claims first pole position at COTA - Getty Images

It was not a smooth start for everyone in the Moto3 class at the beginning of FP3 as Aspar Mahindra Moto3 rider Jorge Martin had to turn around as he exited the pit lane as the bike stalled and he had to return to the pits to get it restarted. 

3570 Team Italia rider Stefano Valtulini came off near the start and the marshals had to help him to return by carrying the front of the 250cc Mahindra. The first 15 minutes was a battle to break through the 2:18 minute barrier; Schedl GP Racing Team rider Philipp Oettl achieved this first with a time of 2:17.755. Red Bull KTM Ajo team rider Brad Binder soon took over the lead with 20 minutes to go.

Rain on day two in Texas

The rain flags made their first appearance of the day soon after but this did not affect lap times much as they continued to lap around 2:17 minutes. Leopard Racing Team rider Fabio Quartararo was penalised after he ‘over-used’ the track again.

With just over 11 minutes remaining Ongetta-Rivacold rider Niccolo Antonelli took the lead, then Sky Racing VR46 Team rider Romano Fenati broke through the 2:17 minute barrier with a lap time of 2:16.904. He was able to improve on his time over the duration of the next few laps.

Honda Team Asia rider Hiroki Ono crashed at turn five with four minutes to go; turn five is a fast section of the track and Ono appeared hurt as he had to be escorted to the safe area of the track

Estrella Galicia 0,0 Honda rider Jorge Navarro stole the lead towards the end of FP3, but his time of 2:16.296 was still 0.4 seconds off the best time set during FP2 the day before by Quartararo.  Fenati finished second fastest ahead of RW Racing GP BV Honda rider Livio Loi, Antonelli and Red Bull KTM Ajo rider Bo Bendsneyder.

Qualifying underway in the wet

A heavy downpour of rain during FP3 for the Moto2 class meant that the Moto3 riders had to approach the track with caution as it was still slippery. The riders were way off the pace at the start of the qualifying session, but as the track dried and their confidence grew they were able to get closer to the pace seen in previous practice sessions. The rain flag was waved again but this time it was only a light shower.

Platinum Bay Real Estate Mahindra rider Karel Hanika crashed off at turn 14; it did not look good for him as he had to support his right arm as he left the track. Soon after with 18 minutes to go, Valtulini crashed again at turn 15.

More rain caused a break in proceedings

Oetll currently sat on pole position with a time of 2:18.398 as there was a break in the session as the riders waited for the track to dry; the clock was still ticking away. Estrella Galicia 0,0 rider Aron Canet was first to return to the track with 12 minutes to go on slick tyres. Many more riders ventured out but the likes of Fenati and Antonelli did not feel like it was worth the risk of crashing if they were to stay out in the slippery conditions.

All eyes turned to Argentina GP race winner Khariul Pawi (Honda Team Asia) as he tried to continue his great form in the wet. Although many riders were unable to beat their times it was an opportunity to collect data ahead of the race tomorrow as the weather conditions may be similar for the race.

Moto3 Qualifying results are in

Oettl claimed his first ever pole position with a time of 2:18.398, he finished ahead of Navarro, Enea Bastianini (Gresini Racing Moto3), Kornfeil and Fenati who was pushed down to fifth with his earlier lap time. Drive M7 SIC Racing Team rider Adam Norrodin who finished second in Argentina was sixth ahead of Locatelli, Jules Danilo (Ongetta-Rivacold) who was the last rider able to lap within a second of the pole position holder Oettl.

Quartararo who was fastest on day one qualified ninth ahead RW Racing GP BV team rider Livio Loi, rookie Sky Racing VR46 rider Nicolo Bulega finished in 11th despite remaining in the pits for the rest of the session. Brad Binder was quite low down in 12th considering the start he has had to the 2014 season; he finished ahead of Tatsuki Suzuki (CIP-Unicorn Starker), RBA Racing Team rider Juanfran Guevara, the fastest Peugeot Alexis Masbou (Peugeot MC Saxoprint), Ono, and Masbou’s teammate British rider John McPhee.

Many of the riders who normally dominate at the front will start the race from towards the back of the grid. The only female in the class MH6 Laglisse rider Maria Herrera finished in 27th, and Pawi only managed to qualify in 32nd on the grid.