Late push gives Jose Antonio Rueda first Grand Prix pole


The Red Bull KTM Ajo Moto3 rider heads the grid at the Portuguese GP, with Vicente Perez on the sixth row.

Qualifying for the Portuguese Grand Prix provided a close fight for pole position in Moto3. Jose Antonio Rueda snatched the top spot at the Autodromo Internacional do Algarve after a masterful last lap, whilst teammate Vicente Perez will start in eighteenth position after making it through from Q1.

Rueda completed a solid Practice 2 in the morning, working on his pace and the setup for his bike ahead of qualifying. He has remained in the top positions and, after 13 laps, finished with the second best time of 1:47.322. In qualifying, the Spanish rider maintained a great strategy and waited for the right moment to attack. Rueda, remained in the top positions from start to finish, and a sterling last lap allowed him to clinch first place with a time of 1:46.379, achieving his first pole position in the Moto3 World Championship.

Perez had recovered from the stomach discomfort which affected his Friday, and worked to secure a direct route into Q2 along with his teammate. He improved his time from Friday, although it was not enough to finish among the Top 14 and his 1:48.534 placed him in seventeenth position, meaning he had to go through Q1. The Red Bull KTM Ajo rider pushed hard, and a fast last lap of 1:48.342 earned his place in Q2 with fourth. In the final qualifying session, Perez tried to get the best possible position, although a crash by another rider prevented him from completing his hot lap. He will start from 18th thanks to his 1:47.999.

The 19-laps Moto3 Portuguese Grand Prix race will take place on Sunday, 24th March, at 11 AM local time.


Results Qualifying
1. Jose Antonio Rueda (Red Bull KTM Ajo) 1:46.379
2. Joel Kelso (KTM) 1:46.438 +0.059
3. David Alonso (CFMoto) 1:46.497 +0.118
4. Daniel Holgado (GasGas) 1:46.547 +0.168
5. Riccardo Rossi (KTM) 1:46.817 +0.438
18. Vicente Perez (Red Bull KTM Ajo) 1:47.999 +1.620



“It is incredible to be here. Thanks to my team; we finally did it! I am very happy about getting my first pole in the World Championship and also to do it at this track, because it is very special for me and I have very good memories from here. But we will see how it goes tomorrow in the race; I hope it goes better because I’m very motivated to do well this weekend. We have a good feeling and pace, so we’ll fight for the victory.”



“It has been a pretty positive day, after I had been feeling very bad yesterday. But it ended with a bitter taste since in Q2 I was not able to set a good lap. When I was going fast, someone fell in front of me and there was contact. But I think we have a good pace, a good feeling and tomorrow we will go all-out. I want to thank the team for the opportunity and all the sponsors who support me every day.”