Marco Bezzecchi secured a crucial advantage over title rival Jorge Martin by claiming pole position for the inaugural Thailand Grand Prix. The Italian emerged on top after a typically frantic finish to qualifying while Martin could only manage 13th with an apparent wrist injury causing him discomfort and limiting his running.
The problem appeared to manifest itself after the opening runs with Martin, who was lying second at the time, reported to have visited the medical centre for a check-up. The championship leader soon returned to the garage, clearly favouring his left hand, but chose not to venture out with the rest of the field for a second run, waiting for one final effort at the end.
With the chequered flag about to be waved, Kazuki Masaki was in line for a shock maiden pole position on the RBA KTM but Bezzecchi had found the perfect spot on track. With riders close enough to offer assistance down the straights but not holding him up through the corners, Bezzecchi produced a magnificent lap to go four tenths faster than the Japanese rookie.
The title challenger looked to have competition behind from Enea Bastianini but a critical error at the final corner put paid to his hopes, the Leopard rider losing the front end of his Honda and wiping out wildcard rider Somkiat Chantra. The Italian qualified eighth, but his participation tomorrow is in doubt after being stretchered away from the track.
Jaume Masia snatched second in the dying seconds with Masaki holding onto his first ever front row start in third. Tony Arbolino leads row two ahead of Niccolo Antonelli with Darryn Binder returning to form in sixth. Nicolo Bulega lines up seventh ahead of Bastianini and Fabio Di Giannantonio while Lorenzo Dalla Porta rounds out the top ten.
Moto3 PTT Thailand Grand Prix (Qualifying)
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