With dark clouds just floating around in the background, the first qualifying session of the day was quite a dramatic opening act but it had nothing to do with the weather. Having proved to be quite a bit quicker than the opposition in Q1, Jaume Masia suffered a late crash at turn 6 and rode gloveless back to the pits, on a smoking nearly naked machine, thoroughly soaking the track in oil. That prompted a lengthy cleanup operation, at the end of which Masia was suspended from taking part in Q2, despite topping Q1, as a punishment for irresponsible riding.
Once Q2 finally got underway, track conditions were notably different and the action was slow to pick up, with several trips through the pits and a parade of cancelled lap times for track limits infringements. No one seemed to want pole, with riders slow to even post a timed lap but Gabriel Rodrigo was the quickest to adapt to the conditions and the Gresini rider snatched pole position by one hundredth of a second. Raul Fernandez was amongst the fast men once again, narrowly missing out on pole but sat in the middle of the front row, ahead of Tatsuki Suzuki.
Tony Arbolino opens row two ahead of Celestino Vietti, both riders only a tenth or so slower than pole, although the times were quite a way off the benchmark set in practice. John McPhee joined them on the second row, while Dennis Foggia, Ai Ogura and Albert Arenas complete a fairly competitive third row. After escaping Q1, Darryn Binder secured a fine top ten position, given his qualifying performances this year, and will be joined on the fourth row by rookie Deniz Oncu and Filip Salac. The likes of Ayumu Sasaki, Andrea Migno and Romano Fenati struggled to escape Q1 and will have to draw some inspiration from Binder’s usual first lap antics for tomorrow’s race.