Tatsuki Suzuki took his first ever pole position at the Gran Premio Octo di San Marino e della Riviera di Rimini to put SIC58 Squadra Corse front and centre on their home turf at Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli, and he even did it via a trip through Q1. He’s joined on the front row by Championship contenders Aron Canet (Sterilgarda Max Racing Team) in second, also via Q1, and home hero Tony Arbolino (VNE Snipers).
It was a high-stakes Q1 for a few big names at Misano, although ultimately title contenders Canet and Niccolo Antonelli (SIC58 Squadra Corse) emerged into Q2, as did Romano Fenati (VNE Snipers) despite a crash and eventual polesitter Suzuki. But once the second session was under way, the drama didn’t stop there…
Another crash for Fenati sidelined him from the battle early on and sadly for the Italian, also from the race weekend as he fractured his scaphoid. Not long after it was Championship leader Lorenzo Dalla Porta (Leopard Racing) then sliding out as he sat in fifth, although he was up and quickly able to get back to pitlane. There wasn’t enough time for the team to get him back out on track for the final push for pole, however.
Before that final push it was Suzuki on top and despite the flurry of last minute activity, that’s how it would stay as the few improvers weren’t able to challenge the Japanese rider’s 1’42.844. Canet came closest as he slotted into second on his final lap, but the man second in the standings was still just over a tenth in arrears – and only 0.006 ahead of Arbolino.
Behind the Suzuki-Canet-Arbolino front row, Jaume Masia (WWR) put in a good showing to take fourth, with Celestino Vietti (Sky Racing Team VR46) a late mover up the timesheets to complete the top five on home turf. Antonelli completes Row 2, the only man other than his teammate to have briefly sat on top of the timesheets in the session.
Dalla Porta slipped down the order to finally take P7 and head up the third row, although he did win his first Grand Prix at this very track last season from P8. Friday pacesetter Albert Arenas (Sama Qatar Angel Nieto Team) took eighth this year, ahead of Marcos Ramirez (Leopard Racing), who recovered well after a difficult Friday. Andrea Migno (WWR) had another solid day on home turf to complete the top ten.
Ai Ogura (Honda Team Asia) was another who had another good day to take P11, as did Filip Salač (Redox PrüstelGP) in P12 for his best ever qualifying. Dennis Foggia (Sky Racing Team VR46) slots into thirteenth ahead of John McPhee (Petronas Sprinta Racing) after a crash for the Brit on his final lap, with Jakub Kornfeil (Redox PrüstelGP) completing the fastest fifteen…and the last man in Q2 to set a time.
FP3 pacesetter Gabriel Rodrigo (Kömmerling Gresini Moto3) had his last lap cancelled for exceeding track limits, so he’ll be looking to move forward from P16 on race day after an impressive return from injury so far, ahead of Kazuki Masaki (BOE Skull Rider Mugen Race) after he crashed and failed to set a lap, although rider ok.
That’s it from Saturday on a sun-kissed Riviera de Rimini, with the grid once again setting us up for a classic race as Canet takes on the home heroes in the title fight. Tune in as the lightweight class attack Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli at 11:00 (GMT +2) on Sunday.
1 – Tatsuki Suzuki (JPN – Honda) 1’42.844
2 – Aron Canet (SPA – KTM) +0.121
3 – Tony Arbolino (ITA – Honda) +0.127