Jakub Kornfeil takes pole at his home race as championship leader Jorge Martin undergoes surgery after his FP1 crash.
With championship leader and ‘the pole man’ Jorge Martin ruled out for the weekend after crashing in FP1 yesterday, pole position was anyone’s for the taking but no-one was expecting a session like this.
Kornfeil snatched pole with a 2.07.981 lap as hot as the track temperatures. The Czech rider was visibly ecstatic with his performance as he celebrated his home pole position with a superb wheelie. Kornfeil will be joined on the front row by GermanGP podium finisher John McPhee in second and Marcos Ramirez in third. The top three riders used the strategic mistakes of other teams to their advantage, firing through the field to lock in the front row.
Jerez winner Philipp Oettl was another rider to take advantage of the mistakes of others to put his KTM bike in fourth. Del Conca Gresini rider Fabio Di Giannantonio was one of the big losers from qualifying as a poor strategy from the team saw the Italian rider released too late to put in a final flying lap. Di Giannantonio was unable to defend his then pole lap and was knocked back into fifth. Aron Canet and Gabriel Rodrigo both suffered from the same strategic mistake and will start sixth and seventh respectively.
Nakarin Atiratphuvapat put in an astonishing performance to score his best start of the season in eighth with FP2 crasher Niccolò Antonelli in ninth. Enea Bastianini will be praying for a good getaway or a general miracle as he starts in a pitiful 10th position with rookie Jaume Masia in 11th and Kazuki Masaki in 12th
Sky Racing team rider Dennis Foggia will start in 13th ahead of fellow VR46 academy rider Marco Bezzecchi. Bezzecchi is another rider who will be praying for a miracle as the Italian had a disastrous weekend, falling back to 14th in qualifying. He will have to put in a roaring performance to get to the front and capitalise on Martin’s current absence. Albert Arenas was unable to improve with a late fall in qualifying and therefore rounds out the fifth row in 15th.
Tony Arbolino qualified in a respectable 16th place with Leopard Racing’s Lorenzo Dalla Porta and Nicolo Bulega in 17th and 18th respectively. Darryn Binder makes a welcome return from injury and will start tomorrow’s race in 19th alongside Kaito Toba in 20th and Adam Norrodin in 21st.
Andrea Migno had another shocking weekend, crashing in the morning session after he lost the rear of his Angel Nieto Team bike and then struggling to make any headway in qualifying. The Italian will start in 22nd with rookies Stefan Nepa and Vicente Perez in 23rd and 24th. Alonso Lopez could only manage 25th on his Estrella Garcia bike, an impressive display for the young Spaniard who is still nursing injuries from his tangle with Bastianini in Germany. Czech wild-card Filip Salac finished the session in 26th but, due to early crashes, two riders were unable to set any times.
The session had barely begun when Ayumu Sasaki lost the rear of his Honda-powered machine, high-siding at turn five during his first flying lap and landing heavily on his hip. The Japanese rider was taken to the medical centre for assessment and was soon joined by his countryman Tatsuki Suzuki who crashed out at turn one. Neither rider was able to set a lap and will start tomorrow’s race from the back of the grid.
As the temperatures are set to blaze again tomorrow, will the race action mimic the weather?
Full results here.
**Update on Jorge Martin**
Martin was taken to Barcelona to undergo surgery on a fractured left radius this morning. His team, Del Conca Gresini, was quick to keep fans and media alike updated, tweeting ‘Jorge Martin’s surgery this morning went perfectly and we expect to know more on his chances to be in Austria at the beginning of next week. #GetWellSoonJM88′. They later tweeted a picture of Martin’s impressive metal work and MotoGP reported that he will stay in the hospital for three days to assess the level of movement of the wrist and whether he will be able to return to the track for Austria.