After rain slowed down proceedings in the final practice session, things dried up pretty quickly and the sun shone down on the Petronas Sprinta Racing team in particular. John McPhee topped the Q1 session and was fully dialled into the conditions by the time Q2 came about, the Scottish rider putting his experience to good use to snatch pole position at the very last minute.
Until that point, Tony Arbolino and Tatsuki Suzuki seemed pretty confident in their speed and swapped provisional pole for much of the session but had to admit defeat. The Italian settled for second on the grid, while the Japanese rider got demoted to the second row by compatriot and fairly impressive rookie Ai Ogura. Suzuki will be joined on row two by Gabriel Rodrigo and Marcos Ramirez – another survivor of Q1.
Niccolo Antonelli was probably hoping for better than seventh position but a late tumble in turn three did not help his case. The Italian should have been joined on row three by Raul Fernandez but the Spaniard was served a 12 place grid penalty for irresponsible riding on Friday, leaving eighth place to Kaito Toba. With Sergio Garcia also getting an identical penalty, Andrea Migno will line up on the grid next to Toba.
Makar Yurchenko recorded his best qualifying position and will open row four, once penalties are applied, ahead of Romano Fenati and Aron Canet, both quite subdued throughout qualifying. Lorenzo Dalla Porta’s day got worse as he scored his fourth crash of the weekend but row five won’t seem as bad compared to the day Jaume Masia had, struggling to get anywhere near Q2 and having to fight for his championship position from outside the top 20. Still, things could be worse – if you’re Darryn Binder and have to start last after a poor Q1 and a grid penalty.
|15||48||Lorenzo DALLA PORTA||Honda||1'43.519||1.242||0.215|