Tony Arbolino claims his maiden pole in a damp Argentinian qualifying session ahead of Marco Bezzecchi and local boy, Gabriel Rodrigo.
As the rain drew in mid qualifying, adding to the already damp conditions from the morning, many of the riders already knew it was game over before they could put in their real lap times. With qualifying laps being almost 3 seconds slower than the fastest practice lap, the 4.8km track could be described as ‘tricky’ at best.
Whilst a lot of riders lost out to the rain, Arbolino used the wet conditions to his advantage, putting in his impressive 1.53.782 pole lap just before the rain began to properly fall at turn one. He grabbed pole just ahead of fellow countryman, Bezzecchi who will start second, only 0.306 off pole pace. Home boy, Gabriel Rodrigo rounds off the front row in third with a 1.54.330, giving the home crowds something to celebrate.
Norrodin starts on the second row in fourth after narrowly missing out on the front row by 0.016 with Bastianini, the fastest man across the free practice sessions, in fifth and Di Gianntonio, fastest man in free practice three, in sixth for company. Antonelli lines up on the third row in seventh alongside title favourites Canet in eighth and Martin in ninth.
Andrea Migno lines up 10th on the grid after failing to improve on his lap time due to a mistake at turn 1 caused him to run off and fall whilst rejoining the track. Masia lines up alongside him in 11th with Arenas in 12th who managed an impressive 1.54.649 lap whilst nursing a healing collarbone after his tumble in Qatar. Sasaki, Foggia, and Dalla Porta make up the fifth row in 13th, 14th and 15th consecutively. Loi starts in back 16th on the grid after being unable to improve due to the rain with Masaki in 17th and veteran Kornfeil in 18th.
Suzuki will start 19th tomorrow with Oettl in 20th and Alonso Lopez in 21th, a rider who has struggled for pace all weekend. McPhee will start 22nd with Atiraphuvapa, who luckily missed injury after a fall in Friday’s free practice two, in 23rd and Toba in 24th.
Binder lines up on the back of the pack in 25th along with Ramirez in 26th, off the pace Bulega in 27th and rookie Yurchenko in 28th.
Yurchenko narrowly missed injury when he collided with Aron Canet during Friday free practice one. After inadvertently blocking Canet at turn three, causing him to abort his lap, Yurchenko found himself the victim of the ‘red mist’ as Canet caught up to him at turn 12 and moved left into Yurchenko’s path. Unfortunately, the misjudged move by Canet cause the two to make contact and end up in the gravel. Controversially, it was deemed a racing incident due to the previous turn three move and Canet received no penalty, just a severe talking to from his team.
Front row: 1- Arbolino- 1.53.782 2 – Bezzecchi – 1.54.088 3- Rodrigo – 1.54.330
Second row: 4- Norrodin – 1.54.346 5- Bastianini – 1.54.361 6- Di Gianntonio – 1.54.363
Third row: 7- Antonelli – 1.54.366 8- Canet – 1.54.380 9- Martin – 1.54.388
Fourth row: 10- Migno – 1.54.562 11- Masia – 1.54.56 12- Arenas – 1.54.649
Fifth row: 13- Sasaki – 1.54.799 14- Foggia – 1.54.988 15- Dalla Porta – 1.55.323
Sixth row: 16- Loi – 1.55.799 17- Masaki – 1.55.514 18- Kornfeil – 1.55.516
Seventh row: 19- Suzuki – 1.55.604 20- Oettl – 1.55.800 21- Lopez – 1.55.982
Eighth row: 22- McPhee – 1.56.107 23- Atirathuvapat – 1.56.176 24- Toba – 1.56.222
Ninth row: 25- Binder – 1.56.333 26- Ramirez – 1.56.478 27- Bulega – 1.57.976
Tenth row: 28- Yurchenko- 2.00.087
Full recap here.
With one title favourite on row two and the others on row three, those 25 points are anyone’s for the taking and with the interchangeable weather conditions, who will be victorious at the end of the 21 laps?