Lorenzo Baldassarri took the first ever Moto2 pole position at the Chang International Circuit in Thailand after an early flying lap proved good enough to top the qualifying timesheets. The Italian held off late challenges from Alex Marquez and Luca Marini to claim his second career pole position while the two championship challengers will line up on the second row.
In sweltering conditions, Baldassarri set a scorching early pace with a 1:36.374 coming on just his second flying lap of the afternoon. With the track temperatures soaring and the grip of his tyres falling away, the Pons rider would go no faster and his rivals would battle in vain as they attempted to deny him pole position. Marquez would come closest, but ultimately a weakness in the final sector would prove his undoing as a one-tenth advantage turned into a 0.026s deficit.
Marini was another rider to regularly set overall-fastest sector times but, just like Marquez, failed to carry that advantage through the final sequence of corners, winding up eight thousandths down on the Spaniard in third. Friday pacesetter Mattia Pasini may have had the pace to usurp Baldassarri himself but we would never find out, the Italtrans rider crashing out at turn nine when on course for a pole position lap. This left him fourth.
Miguel Oliveira avoided a repeat of his Aragon qualifying disaster, taking fifth ahead of series leader Francesco Bagnaia who needed a late improvement to rescue sixth. Aragon winner Brad Binder will line up seventh ahead of Fabio Quartararo and Augusto Fernandez while Marcel Schrotter rounds out the top ten.
Moto2 PTT Thailand Grand Prix (Qualifying)
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