Fast Fernandez takes place on second row at Le Mans


The Red Bull KTM Ajo Moto3 rider qualifies fourth on the grid for the French Grand Prix, with Kaito Toba in 16th position.


Saturday at the French Grand Prix saw Red Bull KTM Ajo Moto3 rider, Raul Fernandez, tops the combined timesheets for the three Free Practice sessions and take on qualifying hopeful of a shot at pole position. He was highly competitive in Q2, taking fourth on the grid and a spot on the second row at Le Mans after a close battle at the end. Teammate, Kaito Toba, led the way in Q1 and will take off from 16th position on Row 6 tomorrow.

With the track fully dry, Fernandez was able to set the pace in FP3. The Spaniard had a brilliant end to the session, putting together a run of three consecutive fast laps. The best time was achieved on his last attempt of a total of 17, as he stopped the clock at: 1:42.153. Toba was enjoying a solid practice when, with five minutes remaining, he suffered a crash at Turn 2 that hindered his progression. The Japanese finished in 21st, through his 1:43.165 from his 12 laps of the French track.

Fernandez went directly through to Q2, continuing his run of being the only rider in Moto3 to have done so at every Grand Prix to date this season. The Spaniard held the top spot in qualifying at one stage, his eventual personal best of 1:41.856 situating him fourth when the chequered flag fell. Toba set the fastest time in Q1 and his 1:42.317 lap taking him into Qualifying 2. Unfortunately, he suffered a crash 5 minutes in, at Turn 3. The Japanese eventually placed 16th – 1:43.305.

The 22-lap Moto3 French Grand Prix gets underway at 11:20 am on Sunday.


Results – QP
1. Jaume Masia (Honda) 1:41.399
2. Albert Arenas (KTM) 1:41.419 +0.020
3. John McPhee (Honda) 1:41.846 +0.447
4. Raul Fernandez (Red Bull KTM Ajo) 1:41.856 +0.457
5. Sergio Garcia (Honda) 1:41.920 +0.521
16. Kaito Toba (Red Bull KTM Ajo) 1:43.305 +1.906



“We can look positively at this Saturday. In FP3, we focused our work on improving our feeling on the bike compared to yesterday and, at the end of the session, we managed to take a solid step forward in this regard. I’m happy because we were able to set a great time riding alone, which will be important for tomorrow’s race.
Once again, I want to thank the team – especially Aki [Ajo], because he is helping me a lot to be more professional everyday.”


“Saturday at the French Grand Prix didn’t go badly at all. I suffered two crashes, but luckily I wasn’t hurt. In Q1 we did a great job, leading the session and making the cut for Q2. Unfortunately, at the beginning of the qualifying I had an incident that lost me a lot of time. After that, I tried to push to the fullest, but it was difficult.
We will start from 16th position tomorrow, but the most important thing is that I feel strong and I know we can have a good race.”