Jonas Folger broke the Spanish stranglehold on pole position in 2013 with a stunning late lap at Mugello to deny Maverick Vinales. The championship leader looked set for back-to-back-poles before he unwittingly assisted Folger as the German found a slipstream from the Calvo KTM in the penultimate minute.
The unlikely threat to the established frontrunners came from Mahindra’s Miguel Oliveira who clocked a 1:58.634 on his third lap of the afternoon. The Portuguese rider held on to provisional pole for nearly half an hour as the Spanish hotshots tried in vain to beat him but Vinales finally managed it with five minutes left, breaking into the 1:57s for the first time. His performance wasn’t altogether surprising but the 1:58.056 from Jack Miller to take second certainly did catch the attention of the pitlane.
With all riders on their final runs, the fast times kept on coming with Luis Salom and Alex Rins squabbling over the final front row spot but both would be demoted a place when Folger came onto the home straight, finding Vinales punching a hole in the air ahead of him. The well-timed tow enabled the Aspar rider to edge in front by 0.066s to claim pole position ahead of the frustrated Vinales.
Rins had enough time to snatch third from Miller with a 1:58.046, just a hundredth quicker than the Australian, while Salom and Oliveira were shuffled back to fifth and sixth. Niccolo Antonelli was on the provisional front row at the half way point but slipped to seventh with Jakub Kornfeil a superb eighth after an ear infection sidelined him on Friday and Danny Webb ninth for Ambrogio Racing.
John McPhee was another rider to show well early on, going third at one point, but the improvements of others knocked him down to fourteenth.