It was a classic British welcome that started a scarf trend in pitlane before the first session of the weekend got off to a start. The lightweight class were tasked with testing the new track surface in chilly and windy conditions – quite uncharacteristic to this season – so they tip-toed their way around the bumps in the initial stages.
Philipp Oettl grabbed hold of top position as soon as he got out and despite his early benchmark not being the most impressive this track has ever seen, his rivals struggled to do any better for much of the session on the cold surface. The final ten minutes saw some serious threats to his reign but the German defended his position with a brilliant late lap that saw him gap the field by half a second. The distant runner up was Aron Canet, the Spaniard climbing into second position while chasing the championship leader.
Marco Bezzecchi had to settle for third after he was demoted at the line by Canet. Jakub Kornfeil had his time in the limelight as well but eventually dropped to fourth, eighth tenths down on the leader. Marcos Ramirez followed him closely in fifth position while Fabio Di Giannantonio had a usual slow start but eventually joined the top seven, over a second down on Oettl.
Lorenzo Dalla Porta, Nakarin Atiratphuvapat and the Italian duo of Enea Bastianini and Niccolo Antonelli completed the top ten. Jaume Masia also shone at the top of the timesheets but his leadership was short-lived and the youngster dropped back to 11th position.
Jorge Martin eased his way into the weekend while still recovering from injury and was 17th, 1.8 seconds slower than the top man of the morning.
Local favourite John McPhee was the first to get caught out by the conditions as he had a heavy tumble in turn four ten minutes into the session. His limited running saw him drop out of the top ten position he was holding and into 25th spot but the CIP rider suffered no injury and rejoined late in the session.
|6||21||Fabio DI GIANNANTONIO||Honda||2'16.531||1.042||0.110|
|7||48||Lorenzo DALLA PORTA||Honda||2'16.723||1.234||0.192|