Tough qualifying day sees Jorge Martin line up 19th on Argentine grid
Intense heat and tricky track conditions were the order of the second day in Argentina today as Miguel Oliveira’s pole position time from last year (1’48.461) remained comfortably intact.
Brad Binder (1’49.767) came closest to it to secure his first ever career pole after a session that saw Malaysian rider Khairul Idham Pawi make a surprise appearance at the top of the timesheets before Binder, Romano Fenati and Jorge Navarro came through to secure front row spots.
Pawi looked like he would head up the second row after finishing fourth fastest ahead of fellow rookies Nicolo Bulega and Joan Mir, although a penalty has seen him moved back down the grid and Enea Bastianini promoted to row two.
It was an incident-packed session for the Aspar Mahindra Team riders, with both riders suffering due to matters out of their control.
Jorge Martín was unable to contest the whole of the session due to mechanical issues with his Mahindra and after only being able to complete six laps he qualified in nineteenth position, having lapped ninth fastest in free practice this morning.
19th Jorge Martín 1.51.024 (11 laps):
“It has been a tough day. In free practice it looked like things were better and I was comfortable in ninth position, with some good lap times. I was hoping for a good qualifying but we were denied by a problem with the gearbox and I lost three or four tenths on my best lap. Without that we could have been starting from eleventh or twelfth, which would have been an acceptable position. Tomorrow we will have to get a good start, try to maintain my pace and make up as many positions as possible. The set-up has improved a little, in general everything is working better but with the gearbox problem we couldn’t do anything. Looking ahead to tomorrow we will try a different shock in the warm-up that we think will give us another improvement.”