Arbolino Grabs Valencia Pole with Slick Gamble

by Louis Suddaby
Tony Arbolino - Photo Credit: MotoGP.com

Tony Arbolino capitalised on a late switch to dry tyres to snatch pole position for the Moto3 season finale at Valencia. The Italian, who took his maiden pole in similar circumstances in Argentina earlier this season, edged out another unlikely challenger in Nakarin Atiratphuvapat as conditions rapidly improved in the closing stages of qualifying.

With all three practice sessions taking place in wet conditions, dry tyres seemed unthinkable at the start of qualifying, especially when the conditions continued to catch riders out. Marco Bezzecchi had set the initial pace on a 1:50.745 but a tumble at turn eight would see him plummet down the order while his KTM was repaired. The same corner also saw Turkish wildcard Can Oncu lose control but the 15-year-old, who clinched the 2018 Red Bull Rookies title in September, was making a serious impression on his Grand Prix debut.

While Bezzecchi patiently waited in the pits, Atiratphuvapat lowered the benchmark time by a full second but the impressive work of the PruestelGP mechanics enabled Bezzecchi to regain top spot 11 minutes from the end. Tyre choice would ultimately decide matters and Atiratphuvapat called correctly, fitting slicks to secure second spot, but Arbolino had made the same decision to claim pole by a quarter of a second.

John McPhee also used dry rubber to grab third while Oncu qualified a remarkable fourth despite finishing the session on wets. Aron Canet will start fifth ahead of Bezzecchi who looks well placed to clinch the championship runner-up spot with nearest rival Fabio Di Giannantonio nine places further back.

Marcos Ramirez, another rider to crash early on, recovered to qualify seventh ahead of Jakub Kornfeil and Albert Arenas while newly crowned champion Jorge Martin rode cautiously on his way to thirteenth.

 

Moto3 Gran Premio Motul de la Comunitat Valenciana (Qualifying)

PosRiderConstructorTeamBest Time
114. Tony ArbolinoHondaMarinelli Snipers Team1:46.773
241. Nakarin AtiratphuvapatHondaHonda Team Asia1:47.017
317. John McPheeKTMCIP - Green Power1:47.116
461. Can OncuKTMRed Bull KTM Ajo1:47.336
544. Aron CanetHondaEstrella Galicia 0,01:47.431
612. Marco BezzecchiKTMRedox PruestelGP1:47.776
742. Marcos RamirezKTMBester Capital Dubai1:47.783
884. Jakub KornfeilKTMRedox PruestelGP1:47.796
975. Albert ArenasKTMAngel Nieto Team Moto31:47.826
1025. Raul FernandezKTMAngel Nieto Team1:47.880
1172. Alonso LopezHondaEstrella Galicia 0,01:47.896
1277. Vicente PerezKTMReale Avintia Academy 771:48.069
1388. Jorge MartinHondaDel Conca Gresini Moto31:48.124
1433. Enea BastianiniHondaLeopard Racing1:48.216
1521. Fabio Di GiannantonioHondaDel Conca Gresini Moto31:48.357
165. Jaume MasiaKTMBester Capital Dubai1:48.435
1710. Dennis FoggiaKTMSky Racing Team VR461:48.543
1824. Tatsuki SuzukiHondaSIC58 Squadra Corse1:48.614
1940. Darryn BinderKTMRed Bull KTM Ajo1:48.772
2048. Lorenzo Dalla PortaHondaLeopard Racing1:48.894
2127. Kaito TobaHondaHonda Team Asia1:49.027
2222. Kazuki MasakiKTMRBA BOE Skull Rider1:49.469
2319. Gabriel RodrigoKTMRBA BOE Skull Rider1:49.696
2431. Celestino ViettiKTMSky Racing Team VR461:49.802
2571. Ayumu SasakiHondaPetronas Sprinta Racing1:49.980
2623. Niccolo AntonelliHondaSIC58 Squadra Corse1:50.011
2765. Philipp OettlKTMSudmetal Schedl GP Racing1:50.145
2816. Andrea MignoKTMAngel Nieto Team Moto31:51.870
2981. Stefano NepaKTMCIP - Green Power1:52.119
3026. Izam IkmalHondaPetronas Sprinta Racing1:53.093

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