Moto3 Mugello: Late record pace sees Arbolino blast to pole

Tony Arbolino ran a perfect qualifying final lap to finish well ahead of the competition and claim pole for the Moto3 Italian Grand Prix at Mugello.
Moto3 Mugello: Late record pace sees Arbolino blast to pole

Tony Arbolino ended an eventful qualifying session streets ahead of his rivals after posting the fastest ever lap of Mugello for the Moto3 class ahead of the Italian Grand Prix.

The VNE Snipers rider posted a new best ever time of 1m 56.407s ahead of his home race, however his road to a career third pole wasn’t smooth.

Also fastest in FP3 showing his pace, the Italian had initially posted a blistering lap aboard his Honda early in the session and had been pleased with his pace until he realised his lap was nowhere to be seen on the timing screens on his return to the pits.

Visibly frustrated at having his lap cancelled, the teenager then channelled his annoyance into pace on his return to track, posting a series of speedy laps on his way to pole position.

Gabriel Rodrigo ran a very different strategy - the Gresini rider being out first for his second run set a strong banker lap which sat at the top of the timesheets for much of the session. Choosing to run solo on track paid off for the Argentinian rider as he claimed second, but a massive +0.673s behind Arbolino’s best.

The final slot on the all Honda front row is filled by Lorenzo Dalla Porta, who put his practice crash behind him to perform for Leopard Racing when it mattered most.

Andrea Migno was the best of the Q1 graduates and top KTM rider on his Bester Capital Dubai machinery - but was over a second shy of the pole time after finding his feet in a busy final few seconds which resembled the close of a lightweight class race.

He is joined on row two by the SIC58 Squadra Corse team-mates Tatuski Suzuki and Niccolo Antonelli - Suzuki starts fifth, while an issue for Antonelli saw him have to watch events unfold on the garage instead of fighting for position. He was powerless to do anything about his drop from third to sixth on the grid.

Romano Fenati couldn’t convert his Mugello experience and track record to anything better than seventh, but with both Snipers bikes inside the top ten the team can claim a successful qualifying.

Kaito Toba (Honda Team Asia) starts eighth, while Marcos Ramirez graduated from Q1 on his way to ninth for Leopard. Championship leader Aron Canet did enough to secure the final spot inside the top ten for Sterilgarda Max Racing Team.

Darryn Binder (CIP Green Power) left it late to leave the pits only claiming 14th in the closing minutes of the session after moving into Q2, while Raul Fernandez (Sama Qatar Angel Nieto Team) had topped Q1 but failed to make an impact in the slower second half of qualifying, he starts 15th and is the best placed of the rookies.

Like Binder, John McPhee left it until the final minutes to leave the pits, sat with headphones on waiting to implement the planned strategy for the session - it didn’t pay off for the Petronas Sprinta Racing rider.

Hopes had been high after a pole-to-win conversion in Le Mans but instead, without a strong early lap as a safety net, the Brit was all at sea - running out wide near the penalty loop on his best run left him eighteenth and last in the session. 

Kevin Zannoni was the best of the two wildcard entries taking his RGR TM to 25th on the debut showing for the manufacturer. Ryusel Yamanaka (Estrella Galicia 0,0) will start his maiden grand prix just one place further back in 26th. 

Riding following an operation for compartmental syndrome symptoms in his leg and being the only rider in the class with no previous Mugello experience left Tom Booth-Amos adrift in 30th, with his best lap wrecked after needing to avoid Ramirez who was floating across in front of him on track.

Surgery following his Le Mans injury means Ai Ogura misses round six. He is replaced by Gerry Salim at Honda Team Asia, who qualified 27th.