However, the 25-year-old from Chiba didn’t have the pace to stay there in the closing minutes and dropped to eighth, less than four tenths of a second from pole position, leaving him on the third row of the grid for 20th and final. race of 2022 tomorrow.
Teammate Dennis Foggia (Leopard Racing Honda NSF250RW) beat Suzuki by 0.019 seconds to finish the session in seventh, just 0.059 seconds from a second row start.
The 21-year-old Italian, who has won four races so far this year and was in the title chase until the last few races, hopes to end 2022 on a high, especially as this will be his last race in Moto3 before he graduates to Moto2 in 2023.
Italian youngster Riccardo Rossi (SIC58 Squadra Corse Honda NSF250RW) will start the race from one row behind Foggia and Suzuki after qualifying in twelfth place, half a second off pole.
Honda Team Asia GP rookies Taiyo Furusato (Honda Team Asia Honda NSF250RW) and Mario Suryo Aji (Honda Team Asia Honda NSF250RW) have had two challenging days preparing for the final race of the year. This is the pair’s first visit to Valencia – a cramped but complex layout – so they’ve had a lot to learn about the track while also adapting their bikes to its demands. To complicate matters further, both were slowed down by other riders in qualifying.
Furusato finished qualifying in 29th place, the 17-year-old from Kanoya one position and three tenths of a second ahead of his 18-year-old Indonesian teammate. This was a learning year for both students, who will use everything they have learned this season to improve their performance for 2023.
Moto3 riders and teams now face a long wait for their first official 2023 pre-season testing, which will take place in Jerez, Spain, on March 9-10, and Algarve International Circuit, Portugal, March 17-19. The racing season starts on March 26 at the Algarve International Circuit.