Ducati’s Alvaro Bautista, who had never seen the San Juan circuit before Friday morning, took pole position today in a chaotic qualifying session which saw riders slipping and sliding all over the track, with the fastest laps set on race rubber.
None of the top men could find any extra pace on Pirelli’s qualifying rubber - possibly because the amount of extra rear grip interferes with the front setup - so Bautista’s 1’40.771 was enough for top spot with Michael can der Mark in second.
Kawasaki’s Rea was eventually third, running wide on the entry of turn seven as he looked on pace to go second.
Toprak Razgatlioglu (Turkish Puccetti Racing) was fourth fastest, and another improving Yamaha rider, Alex Lowes placed fifth today.
Top-three man on Friday Michael Rinaldi (Barni Ducati) was sixth today, one place up on works stablemate Chaz Davies.
On a day when Tom Sykes (BMW Motorrad) was only 13th and Leon Haslam 14th after a trip into the gravel, Alessandro Delbianco (Althea MIE Racing Team Honda) was eighth.
Sandro Cortese (GRT Yamaha) and his team-mate Marco Melandri rounded out the top ten with Leon Camier in 11th place. Ryuichi Kiyonari ended his morning in 15th with Eugene Laverty in 16th place.
Ten Kate Yamaha’s Loris Baz crashed right at the start of the session and finished in 18th, one behind Markus Reiterberger.
Stuck in pitlane local hero Leandro Mercado (Orelac Racing VerdNatura Kawasaki) did not set a qualifying time but is allowed to start the race having set good enough times in earlier sessions.