Mattia Pasini set the pole position in a bouncing Mugello, courtesy of the pole man in MotoGP, in the Moto2 class, as Italians dominated at home.
From the off, Lorenzo Baldassarri put himself under pressure by crashing at turn 10 on his out lap, showing evidence that the Moto2 bikes were still struggling to stop chatter more than any other class. Marcel Schrotter had set out his stall early by being the fastest in the opening moves, ahead of Alex Marquez and home favourite and Le Mans winner Francesco Bagnaia, who was soon usurped by the Mugello winner in 2017, Pasini. Two riders who were showing strongly at him were the oft-ignored Simone Corsi and rookie Romano Fenati, being fifth and sixth respectively. British hopes rested on Sam Lowes and Danny Kent, but they were 16th and 18th after the first few laps.
Baldassarri wouldn’t actually set a lap until there were 25 minutes remaining, looking decidedly second hand in his scuffed leathers. Andrea Locatelli had looked extremely strong in practice and was backing it up by being inside the top ten, towing along his ItalTrans team mate Pasini. Stefano Manzi completely ruined his chances with 20 minutes remaining, completely destroying his Suter, and ensuring he would not finish any higher than 19th position at home. Pasini would stamp his authority at the same time, going fastest.
From the 20 minute to 10 minute mark, we had our now customary lull in the times, as nearly everyone was in the pits. the only three riders in the top 20 out on track were Schrotter, Fenati and Tetsuta Nagashima. None would improve alone. Then with eight minutes to go, the explosion of Honda noise arrived as everyone left the pits, headed out by Marquez. However, it seemed seemed we had passed the threshold for grip, nobody was improving and the tyres seemed to go off much faster. The pole time by Pasini would not be beaten, as Kent went 13th, starting alongside Lowes. However the Italian contingent could be very happy with their showing in the top positions, giving themselves the best possible chance to win at home.
So after the disappointing ending to the session, brought about by the track, our front row would be Pasini, Schrotter and Marquez. Championship leader Bagnaia would start fourth. Baldassarri would rescue eighth place, and Joan Mir would disappoint after his red hot practice pace, coming home ninth.
Tomorrows race could swing in the favour of the Italians, with so many of them lining up in the top ten. What do you think will happen? Let us know on Overtake Motorsport!
Full results can be found here.