Moto3: Albert Arenas returns to end as top Mahindra rider in Valencia qualifying
Aspar's Albert Arenas made a decent return to the Moto3 grid from his injury, qualifying 17th for Mahindra's final lightweight championship race on Sunday.
Even though the Spaniard still had pain in his hands, he was able to post a competitive time - ending up as the lead Mahindra rider.
"I am happy, the objective was to save some energy for qualifying and that's what we did. I pushed quite a lot and took some risks, which was important," he said.
"I am happy to be enjoying myself again on the bike, we have done a good job with the team to get our confidence back after so long without riding the Mahindra. Now it's a case of gritting my teeth tomorrow, because it won't be an easy race with so many laps.”
Arenas was slightly cautious in his approach, with teammate Lorenzo dalla Porta not far off behind him in 19th. "It has been a quite positive day," he said.
"We have managed to get into a decent rhythm for the race. We still have some things to improve with the set-up for tomorrow but we have qualified better than usual, so that's a positive."
Having looked good in the practice sessions, CIP's Manuel Pagliani had an off qualifying to be only 23rd, while his teammate Marco Bezzecchi finished just 28th.
Meanwhile, it was an improved show from Peugeot's Patrik Pulkkinen, who finished a mere 0.141s behind teammate Jakub Kornfeil in 26th - with both riders feeling satisfied with their performances.
"I am quite satisfied with my lap time but as so often not really with the grid position. 25th place is far behind again so the beginning of the race won't be easy," said Kornfeil.
"I did my fastest lap in the middle of the session but with the M tyre and this is the positive thing. The qualifying sessions are never easy because it is only about one lap and finding the perfect slipstream in the right time can be difficult.
"Anyway I am satisfied with my bike, I am sure the M tyres will last the race so I think we are ready for the race. Normally I am better in the race than in the qualifying so bring on the last Grand Prix of the year!”
Up front, Gresini's Jorge Martin claimed pole from champion and Leopard Racing's Joan Mir, with RBA BOE Racing Team's Gabriel Rodrigo ending up third.