Scott Redding struck a major psychological blow in his championship battle with Pol Espargaro by beating the Spaniard to pole position at Indianapolis. Redding leads the title chase by 23 points but hasn’t beaten Espargaro in any of the last three races. Tomorrow gives him a golden opportunity to break that streak.
Provisional pole changed hands regularly throughout the session with Esteve Rabat among those to get in amongst the championship leaders but with eleven minutes to go, Espargaro set a 1:43.053 which gave him a seemingly unassailable lead of 0.238s in such a tight class. But Redding had other ideas and after riding through the pitlane to prevent Pol grabbing a slipstream, the Briton stormed to a 1:43.026 in the final two minutes to put one over on his great rival.
Rabat’s place on the front row was stolen by Takaaki Nakagami in the dying seconds thanks to a stunning final sector by the Japanese rider with Rabat forced to make do with a place on row two, joined by Simone Corsi and Nicolas Terol. Jordi Torres lines up seventh on the second Aspar Suter ahead of Marcel Schrotter and Julian Simon but the likes of Thomas Luthi and Mika Kallio find themselves deep on the grid.
Luthi’s session was halted by Ricard Cardus who pushed him off the track at turn ten while Kallio’s lack of qualifying pace proved a handicap for him once again, leaving him next to Luthi on row five. Danny Kent threatened a top ten start at one point before falling to 20th while Kyle Smith qualified 28th on his Blusens Avintia Kalex.