With rain falling once again in the break between sessions, riders gingerly tested the track at the start of qualifying. Or, alternatively, waited for other people to do it. The surface was almost ready for slick tyres after the first ten minutes of the session and Philipp Oettl was fastest amongst the small line-up that had run by that point. The German did not enjoy the limelight for much longer as Jorge Martin was getting more and more confident in the conditions. Although that might sound like a familiar story ending with the rapid Spaniard blasting past the opposition, Martin did not have it all his own way on his route to pole position number ten of the season.
The likes of Tatsuki Suzuki, Darryn Binder and Oettl all had a serious claim at pole in the early part of the session, with Marco Bezzecchi and teammate Jakub Kornfeil also showing serious intentions before the short lull in proceedings at the midpoint of the session. The final shootout was eventually disputed with three minutes left on the clock and despite having challengers aplenty, Martin had an answer for all of them, taking pole at the checkered flag by over two tenths of a second and causing some rather big gaps throughout the field despite the closely fought affair up to that point.
Darryn Binder followed up an excellent first podium with an impressive first ever front row start for tomorrow’s race, while Ayumu Sasaki was another delighted face in parc ferme in third place on the grid, half as second off the poleman. Kornfeil opens up row two, over seven tenths slower than Martin but not by much ahead of Gabriel Rodrigo and Oettl.
Tony Arbolino had another consistent session in which he qualified seventh and was the last man to post a time within a second of pole. The young Italian will share row three with Marcos Ramirez and another young Italian hope in Dennis Foggia. After a first lap crash on his comeback race one week ago and then topping the timesheets this Friday, Aron Canet had a more steady return to action on Saturday, the Spaniard rounding out the top ten. The Estrella Galicia rider opens row four ahead of Albert Arenas and Kaito Toba.
The pendulum swung again quite drastically in the title battle, as Martin’s pole was matched with a fifth row start for rival Bezzecchi, who dropped off the map completely in the final charge and could not do any better than 15th, behind Adam Norrodin and Enea Bastianini. The only other still somewhat realistic title contender had an even tougher time, Fabio Di Giannantonio only qualifying 17th, on the back of a couple of heavy tumbles over the past week.
|17||21||Fabio DI GIANNANTONIO||Honda||1'38.021||1.430||0.004|
|20||48||Lorenzo DALLA PORTA||Honda||1'38.590||1.999||0.176|