Deniz Öncü overcomes pain to take the front row in Valencia


The Red Bull KTM Ajo Moto3 rider claims third position, while Jose Antonio Rueda is seventh.

Moto3 qualifying offered a close fight at the Circuit Ricardo Tormo. Deniz Öncü completed an outstanding Q2, despite the pain emanating from a crash from the previous day, and will start on the front row after achieving third position, just a few thousandths away from pole. Jose Antonio Rueda, who had to go through Q1, will start in seventh place after fighting for the top spots until the end.

The morning’s Practice 3 was the last chance to ensure a direct place in Q2. With temperatures higher than those of the previous day, most of the riders were able to improve their times. Öncü was finally declared fit after a medical check and completed the session without taking risks after the heavy crash he suffered in Practice 2. He did not lower his times from Friday and finished in 21st position with a time of 1:39.540. However, this result allowed him to make his way into Q2, in tenth place. Rueda went faster than on Friday on the opening laps. He felt comfortable on Day 2 and worked hard to place among the Top 14. Rueda gave his all to achieve the thirteenth best time, with a 1:39.176, although it was not enough to climb positions on the combined timesheets, where he was fifteenth.

Rueda faced Q1 with great determination and the Red Bull KTM Ajo rider set an outstanding last lap. His 1.38.929 took him into Q2 as the fastest man. In that session the Moto3 duo fought for the top positions on the grid. Öncü made progress and had an impressive showing despite the pain he was experiencing. On his last lap, Öncü clocked the third best time, 1:38.363, which left him just 0.052s off pole position. Rueda was also very competitive and fought for a place high up the grid. After 7 laps, his 1:38.784 on his last attempt earned him a seventh place finish.

The 20-lap Moto3 Valencian Grand Prix will begin at 12 PM on Sunday.

Results (Qualifying)
1. Collin Veijer (Husqvarna)1:38.311
2. Ayumu Sasaki (Husqvarna) 1:38.359 +0.048
3. Deniz Öncü (Red Bull KTM Ajo) 1:38.363 +0.052
4. Joel Kelso (CFMoto) 1:38.630 +0.319
5. David Alonso (GasGas) 1:38.703 +0.392
7. Jose Antonio Rueda (Red Bull KTM Ajo) 1:38.784 +0.473

“Today I felt some pain, but my team pushed me to do my best. This weekend I couldn’t do too many laps because of the crash and the pain, but I managed to set a good lap in QP. It’s nice to see that we are fast and we have the pace to be at the front. My goal for tomorrow is to finish the race, to do my best in the last race of the year -and also, my last race in Moto3. Let’s enjoy tomorrow.”

“Today we were not able to go directly to Q2, but in Q1 we were able to set a good time and be fastest. In Q2 my feeling on the bike improved and we managed to set a time to finish seventh. I’m happy because we have a good pace and a good feeling. Tomorrow we will try to fight to be at the front and finish in the best possible position.”