The weather may have been hit and miss so far this weekend but the action certainly hasn’t been. As we rapidly approach the penultimate race of the season, who are the winners and who are the losers so far in Sepang?
Marco Bezzecchi: It’s a make or break weekend for the Italian but securing second on the grid is certainly a step in the right direction. Bezzecchi had shown good pace through all the free practice session, securing eighth fastest overall before delivering a beautiful qualifying lap which left him only 0.032seconds off poleman Jorge Martin. After a disastrous weekend at Phillip Island which saw the Italian cruelly wiped out by Gabriel Rodrigo, he will have his sights firmly set on the win.
Tony Arbolino: Arbolino was a force to be reckoned with throughout free practice, topping the combined times with a 2.14.227. The Italian secured his second front-row start of the season with a third place. Arbolino took pole in Argentina but his qualifying seemed to have petered off as of late but two front-rows in his rookie season shows exceptional skill and pace for the young Italian.
Niccolò Antonelli: Antonelli may not be completely 100% fit after a horrendous crash in Japan left him with a fractured vertebra and a fractured foot but that wasn’t standing in the way of him putting his all into each session. The SIC58 Squadra Corse rider was fifth fastest overall and managed to round out the top 10 despite nursing his injuries, an impressive performance by the Italian who we wish a speedy recovery.
Aron Canet: It’s been a horrendous season for Canet and it’s just not getting any better. The Estrella Galicia rider has been plagued with crashes and injury and he added to his list with another crash early on in qualifying. Canet was third fastest in free practice but he was unable to carry that pace into qualifying as he was only able to manage 15th. With his championship title hopes dashed for another year, we can only hope next year can deliver a better result.
Fabio Di Giannantonio: Diggia’s performance was a far cry from his podium-worthy performance in Australia as he only managed 13th for Sunday. The Italian was 13th fastest in combined free practice but could make no headway from there, a very disappointing day for the man who sits third in the championship. Diggia will be praying for drama at the front of the pack to help his podium fight.
Philipp Oettl: Oettl’s woeful season continues with another shocking couple of days. The German rider was only 25th in combined free practice which is where he also starts Sunday’s race. This marks Oettl’s worst qualifying of the season, a far cry from the performance we saw in Jerez at the start of the year. A step up to Moto2 and only bigger bikes may be what Oettl needs to regain his form.
Full results here.
As the championship battle rumbles on, can Jorge Martin clinch it or will it go down to the wire at Valencia?