An elated Somkiat Chantra became the first Thai rider to take a pole position in grand prix history after his perfectly timed run of his home track- the Chang International circuit, ahead of the Moto2 Thailand Grand Prix, round seventeen of the championship.

The former Asia Talent Cup rider used all of his previous runs around the circuit to inform him of where to cut time and find the best lap, which he did early in the session with just under ten minutes remaining.

That best of 1m 35 .625s remained unchallenged, handing him his first front row of the year and a first ever pole position, all the more special as it comes on home soil.

 

Elf Marc VDS’s Tony Arbolino came the closest to catching Chantra, eventually finishing just 0.085s behind after he pushed to reel in the Thai rider. 

The front row is completed by title challenger Ai Ogura, who is streets ahead of championship leader Augusto Fernandez with third as he looks to reduce the gap, completing a great day for the Idemitsu Honda Team Asia set up with first and third on the grid.

Pedro Acosta again looked free of his season altering injury woes and was back to being the top rookie in the session, one of the few to find some progress fairly late on in a session which like Q1, stagnated, to climb to fourth for Red Bull KTM Ajo.

As his title hopes fade, Celestino Vietti finally re-found his qualifying form in a solid fifth after moving up from Q1 with the best time for Mooney VR46 after giving Chantra a run for his money in the opening minutes.

Alonso Lopez broke up the Kalex domination with his Boscoscuro - briefly leading the way for Beta Tools Speed Up he finished the session in sixth.

Jake Dixon was the only rider not to improve in the final practice session as he tried a different plan for qualifying. Tyres saved, his trip out of the pits on the Inde GasGas Aspar didn’t go to plan as he ended up behind Keminth Kubo and Manuel Gonzalez on track. His best run compromised, the British rider ended up in seventh.

 

Fernandez with work to do in eighth.

 

Augusto Fernandez never really hit his groove in qualifying, flirting with the wrong end of the top ten from the off. His tentative performance on the Red Bull KTM Ajo was only good enough for eighth - not good news when you have typically lost ground at the start of the last few races. The Championship leader is in danger of losing some advantage to closest rival Ogura, who has clear track ahead of him on the front row.

Jorge Navarro (Flexbox HP40) and Gonzalez (Yamaha VR46 Master Camp Team) complete the top ten best times.

Cameron Beaubier was a much improved eleventh for American Racing, ahead of Gresini’s Filip Salac in twelfth.

The fallers were all at the back of the session. Albert Arenas (15th) collected Joe Roberts (17th) as he fell from his Aspar bike. 

Between them Kubo also fell , while 18th and last in the session was Aron Canet, who fell right at the beginning of the session with no time set for Flexbox HP40.

 

 

What happened in Q1?

 

Sam Lowes, who is using the rest of his body and ability to comepensate for the weakness left in his wrist after his injury, narrowly missed out on moving on for Elf Marc VDS. Fifth in the session the Brit will line up 19th on the grid.

Lorenzo Dalla Porta also looked like his bast run might move him into Q2 but it was not to be. The Italtrans rider starts from 20th.

Fermin Aldeguer (Beta Tools Speed Up) and Marcel Schrotter also failed to go to the second half of qualifying in a session stacked with riders capable of progressing. They were seventh and eighth in the session.

Bike issues once again hurt Sean Dylan Kelly’s chances of a good grid position. The American Racing rider lines up 26th. A crash didn’t prevent Kubo from attending Q2, but a fall for Niccolo Antonelli left him 28th for Mooney Vr46 Team Racing.

 

Injuries, replacements and penalties

 

All riders are back on the grid and fit to ride ahead of qualifying.

Joe Roberts attended the medical centre after he staggered away from his crash with Albert Arenas.