Rain fell in preparation of the first qualifying session of the day, leaving behind a damp but drying track and a gaggle of riders on rain tyres. The lightweight class hurried to set some banker laps before the conditions changed again but rather than the rain picking up, it was the riders picking up some tenths lap after lap.
A few brave souls sampled some slicks at the halfway mark of the session and Philipp Oettl made it count by going over two and a half seconds faster than the fastest man on rain tyres. His rivals soon took notice and flooded the pits to grab some slicks, with the exception of Aron Canet who kept missing his pitboard and left himself with little time for the switch – which didn’t really matter in the end.
Oettl was fully dialled in with the conditions by the time the pack got up to speed and even got a chance to do a second run on slicks. While the German rider was waiting in his garage, the usual frontrunners were on a charge. Canet was the first to make it stick at the front and put three tenths into his pursuers although red sectors kept lighting up the timesheets behind him.
The lead changed too many times to count in the final minute of the session but predictably, it was the Qualifying Master, Jorge Martin, to obliterate the field and grab his tenth pole position by nearly half a second. Canet was second best, with John McPhee improving significantly to complete the front row of the grid for Sunday’s race.
Tatsuki Suzuki could have done even better than fourth if his disobedience of track limits didn’t halt him on occasion, the Japanese rider sharing second row with the Italian duo of Fabio Di Giannantonio and Enea Bastianini, both showing good pace throughout the weekend.
Nearly a second down on pole position but Dennis Foggia performed in fine fashion to stick his bike in seventh position, ahead of Ayumu Sasaki and Marco Bezzecchi, another track limits enthusiast. Heading the fourth row is Jaume Masia, while Oettl’s gamble didn’t pay off as much as he might have expected, eventually dropping him to eleventh grid position, narrowly ahead of Gabriel Rodrigo.
|5||21||Fabio DI GIANNANTONIO||Honda||2'19.497||0.868||0.069|
|17||48||Lorenzo DALLA PORTA||Honda||2'20.323||1.694||0.066|