It was back to bright sunshine and all of the morning’s wet weather sorrows were quickly forgotten as the lightweight class was raring to head out for qualifying. Hot tarmac and barely any cloud awaited the first duel of the day and championship leader Lorenzo Dalla Porta was eager to attack the top of the timesheets from the off. The Italian led the way after the first run but the gaps were minimal and, as usual, it all came down to one final flying lap to the checkered flag, when rookie Celestino Vietti scored his first quality timepiece that comes with pole position.
The young Italian led the field by a tenth of a second after flying through Q1 and will share front row with the Spanish duo of Marcos Ramirez and Albert Arenas. Kaito Toba went under the radar for much of the weekend but found his feet in Q2 and opens the second row of the grid. Alonso Lopez put in a solid performance for fifth grid position, while Aron Canet went from provisional pole to the back of row two in the blink of an eye.
Friday fast man Andrea Migno heads the third row of the grid, half a second off pole. While most of the field did their usual cat and mouse game out of the pits, Gabriel Rodrigo took an alternative approach and rode an extra couple of laps on his own to take provisional pole but the Gresini rider ran out of steam and was eventually pushed back to eighth. Tony Arbolino completes row three, although the Italian might be looking at a potential penalty after messing about a bit too much and too slowly in Q2. Dalla Porta went from hero to zero, the championship leader failing to improve on his early session-topping time and dropping all the way down to row four, where he will be accompanied by Tatsuki Suzuki and Dennis Foggia.
There were a handful of riders going into qualifying with grid penalties for irresponsible riding on Friday, the first of which was Jakub Kornfeil. The Czech rider couldn’t really limit the damage so a 12-place grid penalty will apply to an already lowly 15th spot. Ayumu Sasaki, Filip Salac and Riccardo Rossi will share the back of the grid for the start of tomorrow’s race.
|10||48||Lorenzo DALLA PORTA||Honda||1'43.304||0.705||0.078|
|19||10||Julian Jose GARCIA||Honda||1'43.843||0.264|