Mika Kallio looks well placed to make further inroads into teammate Esteve Rabat’s championship lead after beating him to pole position at Indianapolis. The Finn dominated the 45 minute session, topping the times from start to finish, while his usually consistent Spanish colleague had an untidy afternoon.
Kallio needed just three flying laps to break into the 1:36s and he would be the only rider to achieve it all afternoon and the 31 year old was pleasantly surprised by his own performance having struggled on his previous visits to the Brickyard.
“Today was perfect because I didn’t expect to be challenging for the pole position on a track where I’ve never had really good results. But this year I have been much more competitive and I am happy with my preparation for tomorrow because my race pace is not too bad. We just need to see the conditions because the new surface is coming better each day and maybe tomorrow the lap times will be even faster. This can have an impact on the setting of the machine, so we need to pay attention to that. I also need to say a big thanks to the Marc VDS Racing Team for the work they did. Yesterday was very difficult and I wasn’t even in the top 10, and now I am starting from pole position. So they deserve a lot of credit and I am looking forward to a good battle with Tito.”
With the gauntlet laid down, Rabat made a couple of errors with one forcing to take a detour through the gravel before a second, more spectacular moment, led to a highside at turn eight. Esteve did his best to remain positive though and is still harbouring hopes of a second consecutive Indianapolis win.
“It was not an easy qualifying session, so I am happy to be starting on the front row with Mika. I have been happy with the performance of the tyres on the new asphalt all weekend, but a bit like in Assen, the tyres didn’t work as well as we anticipated in qualifying. I am confident we can find a solution but the big crash at the end finished my session. Thankfully I am not injured and I am confident I can challenge for the win tomorrow.”
Fresh from his maiden win in Germany, Dominique Aegerter secured a place on the front row ahead of Johann Zarco, Simone Corsi and Maverick Vinales while Takaaki Nakagami announced his return to form with seventh. Sandro Cortese escaped a collision with Lorenzo Baldassarri to qualify eighth with Thomas Luthi and Sam Lowes rounding out the top ten