The sky was completely obscured by clouds by the time the intermediate class took the stage and it felt like the calm before the literal storm for much of the qualifying session. Tom Luthi was the initial leader of Q2 but then the Swiss rider inadvertently gave rival Alex Marquez a reference on the next lap, allowing the Spaniard to snatch provisional pole just as drops of rain were hitting the main straight. Marquez continued with the twitchy moments but kept it suitably vertical so pressure then moved to his title rivals while conditions still allowed some improvements – if open to take some risks. Tetsuta Nagashima and Brad Binder showed some willingness and made good use of the remaining grip to get closer to the leader, but could not outdo the Marc VDS rider who will try to score match point from pole position.
Nagashima and Binder will try to stop the Spaniard’s charge from the front row of the grid, while Xavi Vierge, who opens row two, will have his teammate’s back. Luthi was left stranded towards the bottom of the top ten after the first few laps and was forced to push in the tricky conditions of the final few minutes of Q2, which paid off with a fifth grid position. Exceptional rookie Jorge Martin closes the second row of the grid, half a second off pole.
Sam Lowes opens row three ahead of Marcel Schrotter and Remy Gardner, while Luca Marini put practice troubles behind him to join the top ten. The Italian will share fourth row with compatriot Fabio Di Giannantonio and MotoGP recruit Iker Lecuona.
Jorge Navarro’s title chances seemed all but gone when the Spaniard went down at turn 11 before even setting a time in Q2. Luckily for him, he managed to restart but lost precious track time and could not do any better than 15th, ahead of a fairly impressive Jesko Raffin, who made his way through Q1. Augusto Fernandez replicated that achievement but could not get any faster than 17th. The Italian trio of Nicolo Bulega, Marco Bezzecchi and Lorenzo Baldassarri struggled in Q1 and will have a lot of ground to recover to join the point positions on Sunday.
|11||21||Fabio DI GIANNANTONIO||Speed Up||2'05.956||0.712||0.018|
|13||62||Stefano MANZI||MV Agusta||2'06.070||0.826||0.111|
|15||9||Jorge NAVARRO||Speed Up||2'06.126||0.882||0.049|
|Q2||62||Stefano MANZI||MV Agusta||2'05.956||0.059||0.059|
|24||77||Dominique AEGERTER||MV Agusta||2'06.510||0.613||0.147|
|27||20||Dimas EKKY PRATAMA||Kalex||2'07.058||1.161||0.134|