Tony Arbolino (Marinelli Snipers Team Honda NSF250RW) roared to his second-ever Moto3 pole position in the trickiest of conditions early this afternoon. The 18-year-old Italian’s success gave Honda its 15th pole position from this year’s 19-round Moto3 series.
The 40-minute session got underway on a wet track, which kept drying until there was a narrow dry line through some corners. The pace therefore got faster and faster, with Arbolino risking slick tires and taking pole in the final seconds of the session. This was his first pole since April’s Argentine GP, when qualifying took place in similar conditions.
Thai rider Nakarin Atiratphuvapat (Honda Team Asia Honda NSF250RW) led the session at half-distance, dropped down the order as the pace increased, then bounced back at the very end to claim his first ever front-row start. He ended the outing 0.244 seconds behind Arbolino and just a fraction away from becoming the first Thai rider to start a MotoGP race from pole. Tomorrow will be the 22-year-old’s final race before he pursues a change of career.
The treacherous conditions prevented recently crowned World Champion Jorge Martin (Del Conca Gresini Moto3 Honda NSF250RW) from challenging for his 12th pole of the season. The 22-year-old Spaniard was the fifth fastest Honda rider, qualifying 13th, behind fifth-placed Aron Canet (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Honda NSF250RW) and 11th-placed Alonso Lopez (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Honda NSF250RW), who had been fastest in wet free practice.
Martin will therefore start his last race before graduating to Moto2 from the fifth row of the grid, alongside 14th-quickest Enea Bastianini (Leopard Racing Honda NSF250RW) and 15th-quickest Fabio Di Giannantonio (Del Conca Gresini Moto3 Honda NSF250RW).
Tatsuki Suzuki (SIC58 Squadra Corse Honda NSF250RW) was 18th today, the 21-year-old never quite able to make the most of the ever-changing track conditions.