Hot to the point of melting was the apparent forecast as the intermediate class got on with the qualifying session. Mattia Pasini didn’t seem to mind, the Italian going into provisional pole on his third lap and holding station until the very end to take his first pole position in a decade.
Championship leader Franco Morbidelli kept close to his pal, only five hundredths of a second behind, the order settling until Oliveira picked up the pace in the final two minutes and eked his way in the narrow space between the Italian duo.
Although only fourth, Pecco Bagnaia was also seven hundredths of a second from pole. Jorge Navarro seemed to have switched luck with Tom Luthi or the day, the Spaniard as high as third for much of the session while the Swiss rider was struggling down in twelfth spot after a tumble in the morning. As a couple of late improvers jumped ahead, Navarro dropped back to a still dignified fifth position, only a tenth of a second down on Pasini.
Back to the usual suspects for sixth place, Alex Marquez completing the second row of the grid, three tenths down on the poleman.
Luca Marini looks to have recovered nicely from all the various shoulder injuries to grab seventh on the grid, ahead of Sandro Cortese, who visited the gravel trap early in the session, and Simone Corsi, who made Dominique Aegerter visit the gravel trap early in the session.
The fourth row of the grid will feature Brad Binder, the South-African only four tenths down on the poleman and with Fabio Quartararo and Tom Luthi close behind.
While Khairul Idham Pawi seemed to make a step in the right direction in the dry, the Honda Team Asia rider qualifying thirteenth, his teammate Takaaki Nakagami continued to struggle down in fifteenth grid position.
UPDATE: Corsi was penalized with a 3-place grid penalty following his incident with Aegerter. The Italian will now start 12th, promoting Binder, Quartararo and Luthi one position.
|9||24||Simone CORSI||Speed Up||2'03.052||0.441||0.004|
|13||89||Khairul Idham PAWI||Kalex||2'03.242||0.631||0.028|
|18||97||Xavi VIERGE||Tech 3||2'03.632||1.021||0.020|
|26||87||Remy GARDNER||Tech 3||2'04.294||1.683||0.027|
|27||37||Augusto FERNANDEZ||Speed Up||2'04.366||1.755||0.072|