Jorge Lorenzo (Ducati Team) will start the Gran Premio Movistar de Aragon from P1 after sealing his third consecutive pole position, snatching the honours from teammate Andrea Dovizioso by just 0.014 seconds. It’s Lorenzo’s best qualifying run since 2012 – the last time he took three poles in a row – and only the second time Marquez has missed out on pole at MotorLand in the premier class. The reigning Champion was hot on the heels of the Borgo Panigale duo, however, and he completes the front row a mere 0.065 off the top to set us up for another Sunday classic.
It was third place Marquez who came out the blocks quickest though, immediately clocking a 1:46.974 – the quickest lap of the weekend – on his first flying run, with Lorenzo 0.110 behind and Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda Castrol) on the provisional front row at that stage. But tactics soon came out to play on the final run, with Dovizioso marked by Marquez as the top two in the Championship played cat and mouse. That led to both backing out of flying laps – and sending everything down to the wire.
On that final dash it was Maverick Viñales (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) leading a freight train of eight riders as Marquez clung onto the tailpipes of Dovi. The two were setting the timing screens alight but heading into Turn 12 the Honda rider slightly out-braked himself – losing a potential pole lap. Meanwhile, despite having to manoeuvre past Alvaro Bautista (Angel Nieto Team) at the same corner, ‘DesmoDovi’ went fastest by 0.065 to grab provisional pole. Teammate Lorenzo had other ideas, however, heading out slightly later than the rest of the field. The ‘Spartan’ put the hammer down and snatched pole by 0.014 – his fourth of the season and his fourth successive front row in Aragon.
That bumped Dovi to P2 and Marquez to P3, with Crutchlow then unable to make good on a threat to take a front row after a crash at Turn 12 on his final flying lap ended his chances. Fifth on the grid went to Andrea Iannone (Team Suzuki Ecstar), his best starting position since the Catalan GP, with Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda Team) securing his best qualifying position since Jerez in sixth.
Danilo Petrucci (Alma Pramac Racing) will launch from P7, with Bautista eighth, Alex Rins (Team Suzuki Ecstar) P9 and Jack Miller (Alma Pramac Racing) P10. Q1 graduate and leading Yamaha rider Maverick Viñales (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) had to settle for the 11th fastest lap, with Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda Idemitsu) going 12th after also coming through Q1.
Q1 made some other headlines, however. Viñales recieved a three-place penalty for an incident with Bradley Smith, with Franco Morbidelli (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) penalised for the same but the Italian’s sanction a loss of six positions. The biggest of them all though was a tough session for Valentino Rossi (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) as the nine-time World Champion failed to make the cut, set to start 17th after Morbidelli’s penalty has been applied. Waiting for a tow to try and move through didn’t work for the ‘Doctor’ in the tight window of opportunity.
He’ll be gunning hard to make some serious progress on Sunday as Lorenzo, Dovizioso and Marquez continue their titanic battle for the win. Who will master MotorLand? Find out at 14:00 local time (GMT +2).
MotoGP™ Qualifying Results
1 – Jorge Lorenzo (SPA) DUCATI 1’46.881
2 – Andrea Dovizioso (ITA) DUCATI +0.014
3 – Marc Marquez (SPA) HONDA +0.079
First Independent Team Rider:
4 – Cal Crutchlow (GBR) HONDA +0.287
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