As the paddock arrives at the Termas de Rio Hondo circuit for round two in Argentina we have a new face on pole in Moto3 and surprisingly the Moto2 class session was the one which went to the wire with British star Sam Lowes the man who had a special lap in his pocket.
Making the best of that frantic time on track was Romano Fenati, whose final well-timed lunge around the circuit guaranteed him second for the Sky Racing VR46 team.
Behind the KTM pair was the top placed Honda belonging to Jorge Navarro, in third for Estrella Galicia 0,0.
On a day where many different faces showed well, it was to be Khairul Idham Pawi who lead the way for the rookie riders. His fourth place will not stand when the grid forms up however, as the teenage Malaysian rider has been handed a penalty for riding slowly in practice and will be demoted three grid places to seventh.
Nicolo Bulega again impressed in fifth on the second of the Sky Racing Team Vr46 bikes, Joan Mir completes the all rookie second row for Leopard Racing.
Enea Bastianini’s qualifying form deserted him after shining in practice, placing him seventh on the grid for Gresini.
A poor run in practice did not bode well for Niccolo Antonelli and the Ongetta-Rivacold rider had his final effort for improvement thwarted by being followed by a train of riders as he left the pit, leaving him eighth.
Leopard have two bikes inside the top ten with Fabio Quartararo in ninth while Livio Loi will start tenth for RW Racing.
Despite all the chassis and fairing changing on the Mahindra bikes they still fill up the back of the grid, Aspars Jorge Martin was the best performer for them in 18th while the Peugeot badged Saxoprint team of Alexis Masbou and John McPhee are 23rd and 28th respectively.
Darryn Binder was the first faller, local rider Gabriel Rodrigo crashed twice, Aron Canet’s late slam into the ground was overshadowed by a massive 4-rider pile up as Juanfran Guevara, Karel Hanika, Pecco Bagnaia and Lorenzo Petrarca all ended the session in the gravel.
Gresini’s Sam Lowes had the stance of a man frusrtated not to be able to put out the fast lap he knew he was capable of until some great timing for a final run as the chequered flag waved allowed him his perfect lap on the day, a best of 1m43.347s to snatch pole at the death.
His late lap could not be beaten by Johann Zarco, also on a last dash aboard his Ajo Motorsport bike, with the reigning champion forced to second by the Brits stellar lap after leading for almost all of the qualifying session.
Jonas Folger also had a final run which improved his time but it was soon surpassed by the men in first and second, leaving the Dynavolt Intact GP racer third on the grid.
Just missing out on a front row start was the ever improving Taka Nakagami in fourth for Idemitsu Honda Team Asia.
The Japanese rider is joined on row two by EG 0,0 Marc VDS rider Franco Morbidelli in fifth and Qatar winner Tom Luthi (Garage Plus Interwetten) in sixth.
Seventh went to Folger’s team-mate Sandro Cortese, while Danny Kent clawed back places to shoot up to eighth in the final moments for Leopard Racing.
A heroic run pushed Lorenzo Baldassarri passed the pain barrier and up to ninth, the Forward Racing rider having dislocated both shoulders in Qatar.
Axel Pons, who made his injuries worse after his own Qatar crash took tenth for the AGR Team.
His brother Edgar Pons was sent home suffering from a hepatitis A infection and will also be absent in Texas.
For the full Moto3 result click here.
For the full Moto2 result click here.