Sandro Cortese denied Danny Kent a maiden Moto3 pole position for the second successive weekend with a sensational late lap in torrential rain at the Sachsenring. A deluge fell in the minutes before qualifying and the home favourite coped best, in stark contrast to his championship rival Maverick Vinales.
When the red light turned to green, the riders poured out on to the near-flooded race track and Cortese gave the home fans a fright when his Red Bull Ajo KTM came to a halt at the end of the pit straight. Thankfully for Sandro, he was able to recover his bike to the pitlane.
After showing promising pace in Friday practice, Jakub Kornfeil continued his impressive form by setting the pace early on but wet weather specialist Jack Miller was chasing him hard, as was Adrian Martin on the JHK Laglisse FTR-Honda. With the halfway stage approaching, Martin had the edge but Danny Kent then came into contention, grabbing provisional pole on a 1:44.802, some 16 seconds off a dry lap time.
The return started to fall even heavier, just as Kent improved to a 1:44.474, and the number of improvements on the timing screen quickly disappeared. Maverick Vinales was one of those desperate to move up as he lied down in 29th.
As the likes of Luca Gruenwald fell off at turn eight, Cortese pressed on and started to set personal bests, climbing up to ninth with three minutes to go. The KTM rider was threatening his teammate's pole time on his next lap but a near highside exiting the last corner restricted him to fifth. With one lap to go, Sandro delivered in some style with a 1:42.989, taking pole by a mind-blowing 1.5 seconds.
Having sat in the pits in the closing stages, Kent couldn't respond and had to settle for second with Martin completing the front row, a first time occurrence for the Spaniard. Jack Miller will also start higher than ever before in fourth with Jakub Kornfeil fifth and Brad Binder sixth.
Louis Rossi, winner in similar conditions at Le Mans, took eighth for Racing Team Germany with Jonas Folger putting in a tremendous display to finish eighth on home soil. Luis Salom managed to salvage ninth on the second RW Racing machine with Alexis Masbou tenth.
Danny Webb qualified 22nd for Mahindra and will start ahead of the championship leader Maverick Vinales who could only climb as high as 24th, the lowest qualifying position of his career. Romano Fenati was another big name to be spooked by the horrendous conditions and the Italian will only race at the discretion of the stewards after finishing outside the 107% cut-off.