Rueda sets new front row for French Grand Prix


The Moto3 rider sets the third best time, while Xabi Zurutuza places eighteenth after a penalty.

Saturday saw great progress for Red Bull KTM Ajo Moto3 riders at Le Mans. The Spanish duo completed a productive day, in which both riders got a direct pass to Q2. Jose Antonio Rueda and Xabi Zurutuza both took big steps forward, going on to take third and eighteenth on the grid.

Practice 2 was a great opportunity for the Red Bull KTM Ajo riders to work on their times, with making it into Q2 their target. Rueda and Zurutuza worked together to climb positions on the timesheets. Rueda, who already had a place in Q2 practically guaranteed due to his Friday showing, set his best time of the weekend and took seventh position thanks to a 1:40.935 on his last attempt. Zurutuza was also amongst the Top 10, and a closing 1:41.024 lap earned him ninth place and a spot in Q2 for the first time this season.

Moto3 qualifying was held in the afternoon, with good track conditions, although with the temperatures somewhat high for the French circuit. Rueda only needed one lap to set the standout time and demonstrate that he is still capable of riding at a high level. The Spaniard fought for pole position until the final minutes, achieving the third best time of 1:40.426. Zurutuza also worked hard to fight for a good position on the grid. The Moto3 rookie has had an increasingly improving feeling, something that continued in qualifying. After securing a good time at the beginning of the session, the Red Bull KTM Ajo Moto3 rider tried to lower it in the closing minutes but was ultimately unsuccessful. Zurutuza clocked the sixteenth best time thanks to his 1:41.263. However, a penalty for not meeting the minimum weight requirement will see him start from eighteenth, on the sixth row of the grid. 

The 20-lap Moto3 French Grand Prix race takes place on Sunday at 11:00 am, local time.

Results Qualifying
1. David Alonso (CFMoto) 1:40.114
2. Daniel Holgado (GasGas) 1:40.125 +0.011
3. Jose Antonio Rueda (Red Bull KTM Ajo) 1:40.426 +0.312
4. Adrian Fernandez (Honda) 1:40.777 +0.663
5. Collin Veijer (Husqvarna) 1:40.793 +0.679
16. Xabi Zurutuza (Red Bull KTM Ajo) 1:41.263 +1.149 *P18 on the starting grid



“I am very happy to be here on the front row again, especially after a few difficult weeks. Despite having missed two races, I think we have a good pace when riding alone. Tomorrow will be a different story, because we will have to push from the beginning, but we are ready to fight and to continue learning. Many thanks to the team, my family and everyone who has helped me return in the best condition.”


“It has been a very positive day, in which I have greatly improved my confidence with the bike, and I feel very fast. We had a problem with weight in qualifying and we have been penalised with some grid positions for tomorrow’s race. But we will try to have the best race possible, give our all and finish the weekend in the best way that we can.”