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Aji clinches debut Junior World Championship pole position

12 Jun 2021

Matsuyama will start third to make it two JTT bikes on the front row in Barcelona

Mario Aji put in a stunning performance during qualifying at Round 3 of the FIM Moto3™ Junior World Championship to take a debut pole position by two tenths of a second. The Indonesian will start both races at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya on Sunday from top spot and will be joined on the front row by fellow JTT star Takuma Matsuyama, who ended up third.

‘Super Mario’ jumped to the top of the timesheets with ten minutes remaining in the first of two qualifying sessions in Catalonia, nudging Matsuyama down to second at the time. The Japanese rider, fresh from his Grand Prix appearance at the track last weekend, was eventually shuffled a further spot back to third before a nervous wait for both in the afternoon.

The baking Barcelona heat proved too challenging for any of the front runners to improve, confirming Aji’s pole position, his first front row since Jerez in 2019, and Matsuyama’s second front row start of the season.

On their debut appearances at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, Honda Racing Thailand’s Tatchakorn Buasri qualified on the tenth row of the grid and British Talent Team’s Eddie O’Shea ended up a row further back. Both the Thai and British rider will be looking to grit their teeth and fight their way through the field tomorrow, with both still suffering from the injuries that saw them miss out in Valencia at Round 2.

There are two 18-lap races for the FIM Moto3™ Junior World Championship on Sunday and they are not to be missed with Aji and Matsuyama centre stage for both. The lights will go out for Race 1 at 11:00 (GMT+2), before Race 2 gets underway at 14:00.