The first showdown of the day in Thailand started with FP2 leader Ayumu Sasaki taking the lead ahead of pole maestro Jorge Martin. As the Japanese rider set the benchmark at the front, Martin used the typical mid-session lull to get some medical attention due to concerns about having no feeling in his left hand. This limited the Spaniard’s track time so he joined the final charge late and with time for only one flying lap.
Meanwhile, the frantic final ten minutes were unfolding and the top positions did not settle until another Japanese rider took the reins, this time Kazuki Masaki half a tenth ahead of Nicolo Bulega and Enea Bastianini but with a caveat that his time was three tenths off the best time of the weekend and leaving plenty of room for improvement.
It all came down to one final flying lap and the luck of the draw with slipstream and track position. Once the Christmas lights faded on the timing screens, the ultimate victor was unavoidably Marco Bezzecchi, who picked up his second pole position of the season by nearly half a second and wrote his name in the record books as the first poleman and fastest man at the new track. Jaume Masia made another impressive but not all that surprising appearance in second position, while Masaki fought back to score his very first front row start in the world championship and complete a KTM lockout.
Tony Arbolino opens row two as the final rider within half a second of the poleman and ahead of compatriot Niccolo Antonelli. After a decent showing in practice, Darryn Binder closes the second row, denying Bulega that honour by a hundredth of a second. The Sky rider will instead fill an all Italian third row, ahead of Enea Bastianini and Fabio Di Giannantonio. Bastianini looked like a real threat to Bezzecchi’s pole as he was running half a second faster when he crashed out at the final corner.
Lorenzo Dalla Porta rounded out the top ten and will share row four with early leader Sasaki and Vicente Perez. Martin’s late attack was hindered by traffic and the Spaniard will have a recovery mission on his hands from 13th grid position. A dreadful day was had by Gabriel Rodrigo as well, the RBA rider failing to improve on his early benchmark and getting demoted all the way down to 20th position.
|9||21||Fabio DI GIANNANTONIO||Honda||1'42.831||0.596||0.013|
|10||48||Lorenzo DALLA PORTA||Honda||1'42.835||0.600||0.004|