Rueda repeats front row spot in frenetic qualifying in Barcelona


The Red Bull KTM Ajo Moto3 rider will start from third position, with Xabi Zurutuza 23rd.

Qualifying for the Catalan Grand Prix took place on Saturday at the Circuit de Barcelona – Catalunya. There were mixed results for the Red Bull KTM Ajo riders, as Jose Antonio Rueda claimed third position and Xabi Zurutuza earned a place on the eighth row.

The morning session was the last opportunity for the Moto3 riders to fine-tune their setups and secure a direct spot in Q2. Rueda was once again among the top positions, although the low temperatures early in the day made it more difficult to improve his times. Whilst he attempted to take the top spot, in the final minutes he dropped to second, with a 1:46.781 on his penultimate lap as his best time. Zurutuza was also able to improve his time in the final stretch, but a collision with another rider caused the Red Bull KTM Ajo rider to crash and his 1:47.756 did not see him make the cut for Q2, in 21st.

In the first qualifying session, Zurutuza started with a good pace and riding alone. He was in contention to move into Q2 and fight for a better position on the grid. After setting his best time on his closing attempt lap, his 1:48.876 was not quite enough, leaving him in 23rd place. In Q2, Rueda came out determined to compete for the front row. The Red Bull KTM Ajo  rider had a clear strategy and, after a pit stop in the final minutes, pushed hard on a frenetic last lap, achieving third position thanks to his 1:42.182. In addition, Rueda has not been off the front row of the grid in every Grand Prix he has taken part in this season.

The 18-lap Moto3 Catalan Grand Prix race will be held on Sunday from 11 am, local time.

Results Qualifying
1. Ivan Ortola (KTM) 1:46.749
2. Collin Veijer (Husqvarna) 1:46.768 +0.019
3. Jose Antonio Rueda (Red Bull KTM Ajo) 1:47.011 +0.262
4. Taiyo Furusato (Honda) 1:47.137 +0.388
5. Ryusei Yamanaka (KTM) 1:47.178 +0.429
23. Xabi Zurutuza (Red Bull KTM Ajo) 1:48.876 +1.110 *Q1 time



“It was a very stressful qualifying session because we waited until almost the end to try and use a different strategy to my rivals. I almost thought I wouldn’t have any more time left to do a final lap, but luckily we could. I am really happy to be on the front row again. Let’s see how it goes in tomorrow’s race, because I think it will be a very fast race and the top riders will try to break the group up as soon as possible. We have a good pace and we are ready for it. This weekend we are strong, so we’ll push tomorrow. Thank you to all my team, friends, family and everyone who supports me.”


“It was a tough Q1, since some riders decided to go slowly. I decided to do my lap on my own and we managed to gather very good data too. I improved my pace with clean air and riding alone. Tomorrow we will try to gain as many positions as possible on the opening laps and we will try to latch onto the front group, to draw good conclusions and continue learning about the bike and the class.”