Moto3 Valencia: Arbolino puts in slick performance for pole

Tony Arbolino took a risk and changed to slicks at a drying Ricardo Tormo to snatch pole ahead of the Moto3 Valencia Grand Prix.
Moto3 Valencia: Arbolino puts in slick performance for pole

Tony Arbolino will fill the top spot for the final Moto3 grid of the season after qualifying on pole for the Moto3 Valencia Grand Prix at Circuit Ricardo Tormo.

The Marinelli Snipers Team rider had been in the mix on wets as a narrow drying line began to form and took the leap to slick tyres for his final run.

The gamble paid off and the Honda man claimed his second pole position - his first was back in round two in Argentina - by a gap of 0.244s, and celebrated with a one handed wheelie.

Nakarin Atiratphuvapat was a regular at the top of the timesheets throughout the session and had also made a tyre change to take second with his final lap, his best ever qualifying result with Honda Team Asia.

John McPhee timed his final charge well to become the top KTM rider, praising his CIP - Green Power bike’s ability on the dry line after struggling in the wet.

An elated Can Oncu - who was handed a wildcard for Valencia following his Red Bull Rookies title win - was swift on wet tyres, at one point leading the times on his debut. The fifteen year old was not deterred by a small, well managed crash or a great save on his way to fourth with Red Bull KTM Ajo.

Aron Canet climbed to fifth for Estrella Galicia after the late flurry of red sectors while Marco Bezzecchi (Redox PruestelGP) fell during the session on his way to sixth.

Marcos Ramirez (Bester Capital Dubai) was another early crasher, but recovered well enough in the closing minutes on his return to track for seventh.

Jakub Kornfeil (Redox PruestelGP) lead briefly near the close before being shuffled back to seventh after the final flying laps.

Albert Arenas trip into the gravel was not enough to prevent him securing ninth for the Angel Nieto Team, just ahead of his team-mate for the weekend Raul Fernandez, who also impressed as a wildcard by doing enough to complete the top ten in a competitive session.

New Moto3 world champion Jorge Martin will start 13th after carefully managing his injuries and limiting his track time on Friday and Saturday ahead of the final race of the season. His team-mate Fabio Di Giannantonio was an even more distant 15th and over 1.5 seconds shy of the pole time.

Alonso Lopez (Estrella Galicia) was the best of the rookies in eleventh, but the riders battling for the rookie title will line up together further down the grid - Jaume Masia (Bester Capital Dubai) returns from injury and will start 16th, with his closest rival Dennis Foggia (Sky Racing Team VR46) alongside him in 17th.

Celestino Vietti remains in the paddock as replacement for Nicolo Bulega (tendon damage) in the Sky Racing Team, he starts 24th.

Adam Norrodin (Petronas Sprinta Racing) is absent as he required knee surgery folloing his fall in his home race and shoulder surgery as he is still suffering pain from when he dislocated it back in Motegi. His replacement, Izam Ikmal, gaining valuable experience ahead of his final CEV race in Valencia next weekend, makes his grand prix debut from 30th on the grid.

Turn eight saw the most crashes with Bezzecchi, Oncu, Lopez, Gabriel Rodrigo and Nico Antonelli all slipping off there.

Turn six was also busy, hosting the falls of Stefano Nepa, Andrea Migno, Arenas and Vietti as the drying track caused plenty of drama.