Misano Moto3: Sandro Cortese on pole as title rival Maverick Vinales struggles
Sandro Cortese claimed his sixth Moto3 pole of the season with an emphatic late display at Misano
The German's performance was all the more significant as his main title rival Maverick Vinales - currently 32 points behind Cortese - struggled with a water pump-related issue and wound up just 11th.
Running in dry conditions for the first time all weekend, times tumbled throughout the session and top spot traded hands on an almost constant basis.
That trend was halted moving into the final 10 minutes however as Cortese (Ajo KTM) hit the front.
Able to improve his own benchmark several times, the 22-year-old stayed clear of the chasing pack and eventually finished more than three tenths of a second clear.
There was no such luxury for Vinales. Forced to miss the opening half of the session due to a fluid leak on his Avintia FTR-Honda, he eventually got out onto the track but was on the back foot and never looked a contender.
In the end, he salvaged 11th with his final flyer, set just as the chequered flag flew.
In his absence, the second and third spots of the front row were claimed by Italian riders on Honda machinery, with Romano Fenati (Italia FMI) edging Niccolo Antonelli (Gresini) by just 0.019s.
Danny Kent (Ajo KTM) returned from an early fall to take fourth ahead of RW Kalex-KTM's Luis Salom, who trails Vinales by just 19 points.
One notable absentee was the Caretta Honda of Alexis Masbou. The French rider, currently sixth in the championship, was ruled out of the weekend and could well miss future races after fracturing his femur in testing at Misano.
Adrian Martin (Laglisse Honda) was also missing, having fractured his scaphoid earlier in the weekend.
Pos Rider Team/Bike Time Gap 1. Sandro Cortese Ajo KTM 1m44.201s 2. Romano Fenati Italia FMI FTR-Honda 1m44.571s + 0.370s 3. Niccolo Antonelli Gresini Honda 1m44.590s + 0.389s 4. Danny Kent Ajo KTM 1m44.843s + 0.642s 5. Luis Salom RW Kalex-KTM 1m44.857s + 0.656s 6. Jonas Folger Aspar Kalex KTM 1m44.877s + 0.676s 7. Alessandro Tonucci Italia FMI FTR-Honda 1m44.909s + 0.708s 8. Muhammad Zulfahmi Ajo KTM 1m45.078s + 0.877s 9. Miguel Oliveira Monlau Honda 1m45.116s + 0.915s 10. Arthur Sissis Ajo KTM 1m45.142s + 0.941s 11. Maverick Vinales Avintia FTR-Honda 1m45.230s + 1.029s 12. Louis Rossi Germany FTR-Honda 1m45.259s + 1.058s 13. Hector Faubel Aspar Kalex-KTM 1m45.260s + 1.059s 14. Brad Binder RW Kalex-KTM 1m45.289s + 1.088s 15. Efren Vazquez Laglisse Honda 1m45.332s + 1.131s 16. Alberto Moncayo Aspar Kalex-KTM 1m45.332s + 1.131s 17. Alex Rins Monlau Honda 1m45.333s + 1.132s 18. Jakub Kornfeil Ongetta FTR-Honda 1m45.926s + 1.725s 19. Kevin Calia Elle2Ciatti Honda 1m46.437s + 2.236s 20. Alan Techer Technomag-CIP TSR-Honda 1m46.518s + 2.317s 21. Jack Miller Caretta Honda 1m46.524s + 2.323s 22. Jasper Iwema FGR-Honda 1m46.589s + 2.388s 23. Giulian Pedone Ambrogio Oral 1m46.675s + 2.474s 24. Niklas Ajo TT Motion KTM 1m46.678s + 2.477s 25. Alex Marquez Estrella Suter Honda 1m46.801s + 2.600s 26. Danny Webb Mahindra 1m47.143s + 2.942s 27. Luigi Morciano Ioda 1m47.735s + 3.534s 28. Josep Rodriguez Ongetta FTR-Honda 1m47.995s + 3.794s 29. Stefano Valtulini Imperiali Honda 1m48.109s + 3.908s 30. Armando Pontone Ioda 1m48.146s + 3.945s 31. Michael Rinaldi Caretta Honda 1m48.184s + 3.983s 32. Toni Finsterbusch MZ-Honda 1m48.312s + 4.111s 33. Miroslav Popov Mahindra 1m48.347s + 4.146s 34. Kenta Fujii Technomag-CIP TSR-Honda 1m48.672s + 4.471s 35. Adrian Martin Laglisse Honda - -
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