The prospect of rain prompted all riders to push hard on the softer option tyre from the start of the session to make the most of every minute of dry track time. Some did that better than others but after a mid-session shower, they all got another shot at pole.
Tony Arbolino threw an early surprise, the Italian helping himself to a slipstream from Marcos Ramirez to take provisional pole. He held position until Nicolo Bulega went red with twenty minutes to go, but neither Italian could hold back the championship leader, Joan Mir becoming the first rider to drop into the 1:26s in the final third of the session, just as some discrete drops of rain started appearing.
The rain flags were out decisively in the final thirteen minutes, riders called back into their garages to wait for an improved forecast. The rain did not last long and the KTM squad was forced to be one of the first teams to test the conditions, as their riders failed to show their full potential on the first run.
Mir did not appear to keen to get back out and waited patiently in his chair to see whether track conditions allowed significant improvements. The Spaniard took the gamble and lost, Aron Canet beating his time by over two tenths of a second to grab a well-deserved pole position. Mir missed out but will start second, from the front row of the grid, which the Spaniards will share with Nicolo Bulega in third.
Canet’s achievement pushed Marcos Ramirez to the second row of the grid, while Arbolino’s early lap was still good enough for fifth grid position. The second row of the grid was completed by a gesticulating Romano Fenati, the Italian apparently struggling throughout the session but was brought back into contention by a late fast lap.
Philipp Oettl, Bo Bendsneyder and Enea Bastianini claimed third row on the grid, ahead of John McPhee, Juanfran Guevara and Tatsuki Suzuki.
While qualifying sixteenth, Danny Kent is carrying a penalty of 12 grid positions from Friday, same as Maria Herrera in twenty-ninth place.
The big absentee of the qualifying session was Jorge Martin, the poleman for the last handful of races, the Spaniard out of the German GP after fracturing his right ankle in a heavy crash in Friday practice.
|24||48||Lorenzo DALLA PORTA||Mahindra||1'27.899||1.211||0.075|
|25||21||Fabio DI GIANNANTONIO||Honda||1'27.944||1.256||0.045|