The first tango of the day followed the usual recipe for the lightweight class: one run to set a banker lap then wait until the end of time in pitlane, hoping to catch the right fast man to chase around on one final flying lap. Gabriel Rodrigo was in provisional pole ahead of the final charge and poor timing meant he missed the cut for that one final lap but luck went his way and rivals failed to improve. Relief was palpable on the Gresini pitwall as Rodrigo grabbed his first pole position of the season. Ai Ogura did some magic of his own to escape Q1 and in one lap go from 15th to 2nd on the grid while Tony Arbolino continues a fantastic run of front row starts from third this time around.
Tatsuki Suzuki put a pretty tough practice behind him, went fastest in Q1 and climbed up to fourth in Q2, easing the pain for the SIC58 squad after a dreadful 15 minutes that saw Niccolo Antonelli crash twice: once the somewhat careless victim of a tumble for Carlos Tatay in turn three and then the culprit in wiping out Lorenzo Dalla Porta at turn five on the second run. With no time set in qualifying, Antonelli will start 17th, ahead of unlucky wildcard Tatay. But back on the second row, Suzuki will be kept on his toes by championship leader Aron Canet and an excellent performance from Q1 escapee Albert Arenas.
It pays off to have a nice teammate to tow you around rather than rely on rivals and Alonso Lopez proved that on his way to seventh spot, sharing third row with Jaume Masia and unlucky Dalla Porta. John McPhee opens row four ahead of a subdued performance from Andrea Migno and Marcos Ramirez.
Some of the youngsters who shone in practice had to settle for row five, rookie Sergio Garcia showing the way to Makar Yurchenko and Raul Fernandez. The big loser in qualifying was indisputably Romano Fenati, the Italian struggling in Q1 and will be forced to find his way through from 22nd on the grid on Sunday.
UPDATE: Several grid sanctions will be applied to the starting grid following penalties for riding slowly and intentionally waiting for other riders. Vicente Perez received a six-place grid penalty, while Niccolo Antonelli, Dennis Foggia, Kazuki Masaki, Jaume Masia, Andrea Migno and Filip Salac got 12-place penalties. This will make things particularly difficult for Antonelli and Masia in the fight to keep their championship bids alive but grid position isn't everything in Moto3.
|9||48||Lorenzo DALLA PORTA||Honda||1'49.300||0.850||0.221|