Chow and Ho squeeze from qualifiying to grid

The Hong Kong wild card duo at the MotoGP Chinese Grand Prix squeezed past the qualifying session yesterday to ensure starting grid spots for today's main races in their respective categories.

Chow Ho-wan of the China Zongshen Team finished bottom in a bulky field of 40 riders in the second 125cc qualifying practice, although his best lap time of 2:19.01 ensured a 1.5-second cushion above the 107 per cent threshold set for the main race.

Championship rules state riders must post a lap time within 107 per cent of the fastest qualifier to start on the grid.

Finnish rider Mika Kallio of the Red Bull KTM GP125 team followed up his lead in the soaking wet first qualifying practice on Friday with a scorching best lap time of 2:11.57 in yesterday's dry conditions and claimed the pole position by a half-second margin.

It was the second time Chow qualified for the main race in a MotoGP World Championship event. Last year, the 24-year-old finished at the tail end of the 125cc race at the inaugural MotoGP Chinese Grand Prix.

Ho Chin-feng, the other half of the SAR pair who also races on behalf of the Zongshen team, made the cut in the 250cc qualifying in an even more thrilling fashion. The 29-year-old biker saw his best lap time (2:14.53) came barely within 107 per cent of that of the pole sitter Hector Barbera, a Spanish rider with the Fortuna Aprilia team.

'The bottom line was 2:14.58, which means Ho was just 0.05 second inside the cut-off . . . a blink of an eye normally takes 0.5 second and this time Ho was actually just one-tenth-of-a-twinkle luckier,' said one team official at Zongshen.

Meanwhile, three of the four mainland wild card entries in the 250cc race also managed to make the cut.