Grid decided on the Algarve as the team look forward to race day
Under the clear blue skies of Portimao, the Asia Talent Team got back on track on Saturday ahead of the Moto3 race the following day. With two more race meetings before the end of the season in Valencia, it’s all to play for as the races remaining can now be counted on one hand. Portimao will host 1 Moto3 race, with Moto2 heading the bill on Sunday with 2 races, and the qualifying sessions on Saturday set the team up ready for the one shot at another 25 point haul.
Kaito Toba, now 63 points in arrears in the title fight but back on the podium in Albacete, started off well in the Algarve with a 1:50.369 to go fourth in QP1, only two tenths down on session leader Lorenzo Dalla Porta. The Asia Talent Team rider was unable to improve in QP2 but will begin the race from P5 after his impressive Q1 lap time, only two tenths down on pole after a tight fight at the front.
Ayumu Sasaki completed QP1 only 5 hundredths outside the top ten, as the Red Bull Rookies points leader managed a 1:50.984. Sasaki, who is currently P5 in the points standings, went half a second faster in QP2 with an impressive improvement up to a 1:50.471. He will start the race from P8 after the second session; set up to fight for another podium as he lines up only 3 tenths down on Lorenzo Dalla Porta on pole.
P7 in the championship standings is Kazuki Masaki, and the young Japanese rider put in a 1:51.122 in QP1 in Portimao before improving to a 1:50.828 in the second qualifying practice session. Masaki will line up in P15 for the race and will be looking to add more to his points tally on Sunday.
Nakarin Atiratphuvapat is out to get more points scoring finishes in the last half of the 2016 season, and the Algarve saw him begin in the top 20 as a good springboard, with a 1:51.571 in the first qualifying session before improving up to a 1:51.127 in QP2. With points scored in the preceding two races and in the top 15 of the championship, the Thai rider will be focused to rake in more in Portimao from P19 on the grid.
Andi Farid followed the Thai rider on the timesheets in QP1, only a tenth and a half down with a 1:51.736, before managing a 1:51.736 in QP2. He will line up a few places behind Atiratphuvapat in P22, looking to move forward.
With clear skies and race day on the horizon in Portimao, riders will next be back out on Sunday as the lights go out for another 16-lap classic Moto3 contest at 13:00. And can be seen via the link below.