An engine blow-up courtesy of Aprilia in the MotoGP qualifying session caused a delay in proceedings for the intermediate class. The clean-up operation gave the track some precious minutes to dry a little bit more, slick tyres proving the correct choice on the damp track in the early part of the session, as drizzle was threatening to return soon.
Franco Morbidelli, Alex Marquez and Lorenzo Baldassarri appeared to be the main contenders for pole position, trading fastest laps in the early part of the session, before a scary highside in turn fifteen for Baldassarri brought out the red flags. The session was restarted after the Italian was attended to, reported conscious and taken to the Medical Centre.
The battle for pole resumed with Morbidelli over a second fastest than the field but his advantage was negated soon, times dropping as the track was steadily drying. Takaaki Nakagami temporarily took the mantle of the lead, as did Marquez, but Morbidelli fought his way back into prime position and took a fourth pole position of the season by one tenth of a second.
Nakagami was disappointed not to get pole after hitting some traffic on his final lap but will start the race in second position. Tom Luthi also set off on a mission to improve on his practice performance, the Swiss rider not taking long to get up to speed in damp conditions and eventually qualifying third on the grid.
And while we’re on results popping up out of nowhere, Miguel Oliveira did a brilliant recovery after a dismal FP3, the KTM rider taking fourth and accompanied by Fabio Quartararo, whose fantastic final lap put him in fifth spot. A second row full of surprises was completed by Xavier Simeon, half a second down on the leader.
No session is ever boring for Mattia Pasini, the Italian crashing twice during the session and still finding time to jump from thirty-first to seventh on the grid. Marquez looked to challenge for pole as he slid out with seven minutes to go, getting pushed back to eighth after he failed to improve once his bike was sorted for a final push. The third row was completed by Marcel Schrotter.
Following his injury in practice, which resulted in a broken thumb, Xavi Vierge was deemed unfit to take part in the qualifying session and race.
|15||24||Simone CORSI||Speed Up||1'39.442||0.974||0.142|
|21||87||Remy GARDNER||Tech 3||1'39.780||1.312||0.178|
|22||37||Augusto FERNANDEZ||Speed Up||1'39.958||1.490||0.178|
|26||89||Khairul Idham PAWI||Kalex||1'40.721||2.253||0.108|
|97||Xavi VIERGE||Tech 3|