The lightweight class’ first attempt at a MotoGP-style qualifying format came with additional challenges, namely strong winds pushing the riders around and tempting them into pursuing a slipstream – as if they needed such temptation. The two men who dominated practice were on the pace straight away, Romano Fenati and Aron Canet sharing top position until the final charge, when fortune favoured the punctual. The Spaniard had great positioning for his fastest lap but was stuck at the front of the group for the final change and could not benefit from a slipstream. However, his early lap proved good enough amongst the shenanigans around him and Canet snatched the first pole position of the year.
Lorenzo Dalla Porta looked set to give him a run for his money late on, but the Italian got held up in a massive group and missed out by two tenths of a second. Kaito Toba put together an excellent session, where he briefly held provisional pole before settling for the final spot on the front row. Q1 survivor John McPhee was in prime position chasing the poleman for much of the session and after an initial cancelled lap, crossed the line as fourth fastest. Last year’s poleman, Niccolo Antonelli, would have been happy to know he would qualify fifth after crashing out on his very first lap and having to rely on just one timed lap to go from last to the second row of the grid.
Albert Arenas grabbed the final spot on row two, while Toni Arbolino held on to seventh position through a whole lot of luck. The Snipers Team’s timing let them down today, Arbolino leaving the pits so late for his final run that he was only ever going to get practice starts out of it. Meanwhile, teammate Fenati missed the chance for one final run by about four seconds and got pushed back all the way down to 11th position. But back on row three, Arbolino will be in good company from top Q1 qualifier Celestino Vietti and FP3 headliner Vicente Perez. With Fenati stuck in the middle of row four, the Italian's immediate challengers will be Raul Fernandez and Gabriel Rodrigo.
|2||48||Lorenzo DALLA PORTA||Honda||2'06.080||0.197||0.197|