Rueda debuts on front row in Portimao with Öncü in the Top10


Jose Antonio Rueda will start from second position on the grid, while Deniz Öncü will do so from eighth.

The Autodromo Internacional do Algarve held qualifying sessions for the Portuguese Grand Prix on Saturday. After qualifying directly in Q2, Deniz Öncü and Jose Antonio Rueda competed intensely, with Rueda taking a spot on the front row for the first time, in second position. Öncü will be on the third row, in eighth position.

P3 allowed the Moto3 riders to consolidate their progression and seal their spots in Q2. Öncü had clear objectives and was looking for a good setup for qualifying. After two pit stops and 11 laps, the Turkish rider continued to improve his times from Friday and finished fourth with a 1:47.542, half a tenth off the pacesetter. With five minutes to go before the end of the session, Rueda took second position, +0.099 off the leader. Thanks to his 1:47.070 time on his tenth lap of 13, the Moto3 rookie earned second place, as both Red Bull KTM Ajo Moto3 riders made it into Q2.

In perfect track conditions -the wind having died down in the afternoon- Q2 saw Öncü and Rueda work as a team in search of a good lap, with a clear strategy. After a quick change of tyres, both riders went back out and Rueda took second position with a time of 1:47.172, achieved on his fourth lap of 7. He will make his debut in the Moto3 World Championship from the front row. Öncü steadily improved his feeling to move up to seventh, with his 1:47.561 lap. He will take off from the third row at the Autodromo Internacional do Algarve.

The 19-lap Moto3 Portuguese Grand Prix will take place on Sunday at 11 AM local time.


Results (Qualifying session)
1. Ayumu Sasaki (Husqvarna) 1:46.798
2. Jose Antonio Rueda (Red Bull KTM Ajo) 1:47.172 +0.374
3. Joel Kelso (CFMoto) 1:47.248 +0.450
4. Daniel Holgado (KTM) 1:47.412 +0.614
5. Ivan Ortola (KTM) 1:47.514 +0.716
8. Deniz Öncü (Red Bull KTM Ajo) 1:47.561 +0.763


“We tried to do as best as possible today in qualifying, although we couldn’t get pole position or even the front row. Sometimes it happens, but we are working hard and I’m feeling better with the bike. The third row is ok and we have to make a good start to be in the front group. My strength is Sundays, so we will fight for a good result.”


“The day went really well. I managed to do a fast lap and I’m very happy to get onto the front row in my first race in the World Championship. I want to thank the team for all the work they have done to get this, and also Deniz for working together with me, as it is helping me a lot. I feel good about tomorrow, we will start high up and we will use this opportunity to do our best at a track that I know well.”