The fine weather on Saturday morning attracted some clouds in the backdrop by the time the lightweight class qualifying session was getting to a start, although sunshine was still breaking through. The threat of rain was a slight worry for the teams and they made sure their riders sorted out a banker lap in their first outing. The early benchmark was laid down by Marco Bezzecchi before the usual lull in proceedings halfway through the battle.
The chase for slipstream resumed for the remainder of the session but a challenge to the lead only made itself known in the final 12 minutes, when Gabriel Rodrigo found himself in prime position by six thousandths of a second, with few changes happening behind him at this point. It all came down to the final three minutes, when after a bit of dawdling riders finally got their head down to post one flying lap. The eventual winner was Rodrigo once again, who showed the way for a big group but needed no slipstream to improve on his best time and posted the fastest lap of the weekend to score his third career pole position.
If the poleman showed promise from the start, runner up John McPhee had an underwhelming performance in practice only to jump to the front row of the grid on his final lap. Bezzecchi also found some improvement to stay in the final spot available on the front row, while McPhee’s late success did the Italian a favour and pushed Jorge Martin to the second row of the grid. Martin had some struggles to keep within the lines early on but pulled off a getaway from the chasing pack and posted a time good enough for fourth all on his own. Darryn Binder looked to be threatening pole with a late effort but settled for a respectable fifth position, ahead of Enea Bastiniani who completed row two.
Dennis Foggia was another welcome addition to the top seven, showing the way on the third row of the grid to Kazuki Masaki and Albert Arenas. Some of the few men who failed to improve in the final charge dropped down to row four, Lorenzo Dalla Porta ahead of Marcos Ramirez, who had a late tumble, and with Tony Arbolino completing the line-up.
The likes of Fabio Di Giannantonio in 15th, Jakub Kornfeil 16th and Aron Canet 19th will have a bit more of a challenge on their hands from their lowly positions despite qualifying within a second of the poleman.
|10||48||Lorenzo DALLA PORTA||Honda||1'57.453||0.559||0.043|
|15||21||Fabio DI GIANNANTONIO||Honda||1'57.636||0.742||0.009|