Luis Salom exploded into life late in the Moto3 qualifying session to grab pole position from Alex Rins at Catalunya. The Red Bull KTM Ajo rider was marooned in the bottom half of the top ten for much of the session but produced a lap record of 1:50.782 to go fastest four minutes from time, leaving his rivals little chance to respond even if they had the pace.
The session was dominated by Maverick Vinales for many reasons, not all that the championship leader would have like, although he did start the session well with a 1:51.802 to claim provisional pole by four tenths from Rins. From there though, the session unravelled with Vinales suffering a highside on his Calvo KTM at turn ten just two laps later, dropping him on his head.
Despite the scary landing, Maverick was able to ride his hobbled KTM back to the pits and after ten minutes of frantic repairs, the 17 year old was able to re-join the session although he had now being punted to second by Rins. After a series of laps which failed to improve his time, Vinales encountered another problem on the home straight, immediately sitting up and diving onto the grass at the entry to the pitlane with smoke emerging from his bike. The mechanics sprang into action again but it became immediately apparent that the problem was terminal, forcing him to watch the remaining two minutes.
Vinales clung onto second until Salom’s late flyer which lifted him to the top of the leaderboard while Miguel Oliveira buried his Mahindra into the no.39’s slipstream and lifted himself above Vinales to third. A last ditch effort from Alex Marquez earned him fourth on the sister Estrella Galicia KTM to Rins with the helpless Vinales demoted to fifth.
Efren Vazquez completed a tremendous day for Mahindra with sixth ahead of a pack of FTR Hondas led by Isaac Vinales, following up his excellent Friday performance. Jack Miller was eighth ahead of Niccolo Antonelli with Alexis Masbou completing the top ten. John McPhee, another FTR Honda rider, salvaged 20th on his final lap to edge him ahead of Danny Webb by one spot.
The 34 rider grid tomorrow will not include Mugello polesitter Jonas Folger after a motocross accident earlier in the week fractured his wrist. The German did attempt to ride in FP1 yesterday but pulled out before the end of the morning.