Jorge Lorenzo (Ducati Team) secured his first pole position since Valencia 2016 at the Gran Premi Monster Energy de Catalunya, with Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) within a whisker of his fellow Spaniard in second and Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team) grabbing his first front row start of the season in third.
Under blistering Barcelona skies, it was all about the battle of the Spaniards for pole position on home soil. Lorenzo was the first man to set a time, before Marquez crossed the line to set the fastest lap of the weekend at 1m38.886s, with Valentino Rossi (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) firing in a 1m39.392s to put himself between the two after the first set of hot laps.
Lorenzo the launched to the top of the timesheets, a slender 0.066s the difference between him and future teammate Marquez. The No. 93 was on the ragged edge, and he was right on the pace of his compatriot before hitting traffic at Turn 13 to hand Lorenzo his first Ducati pole and his 10th straight front row start at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya.
Dovizioso threatened to take pole on his final run, the Italian up by a whisker in the first half of the lap before losing time in Sector 3. Nonetheless, the No. 04 launches from P3 and looks confident ahead of Sunday. Maverick Vinales (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) will start fourth and top Yamaha at his home Grand Prix, a huge improvement from his P9 start this time last year.
FP4’s quickest man Andrea Iannone (Team Suzuki Ecstar) was just 0.003s behind Vinales’ time, the Italian starting from the second row for a third consecutive race as he puts himself in a strong position to once again challenge for a podium. Alma Pramac Racing’s Danilo Petrucci was able to get himself onto the outside of row two, a good session for the Ducati rider, who starts P6.
Rossi, who was second after the first runs, pulled out of a potential front row lap at Turn 10 after a message from the Yamaha box told him Marquez was following him. Rossi will start seventh for Sunday’s race, ahead of Johann Zarco (Monster Yamaha Tech 3), the Frenchman having to take avoiding action down into Turn 1 when tucked behind Marquez — P8 for Zarco after a difficult weekend. Rounding out the third row was Tito Rabat (Reale Avintia Racing) after he was able to earn an automatic Q2 spot, the Spaniard securing his best dry qualifying result of the season in P9.
Behind Rabat on the grid is Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda Castrol), who had a disappointing end to the session, crashing at the newly modified Turn 13 while on a personal best lap. The British rider will start 10th. Dani Pedrosa’s quiet weekend for the Repsol Honda team continued in qualifying, and the Spaniard will line up in 11th for his home race. Q1 graduate Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda Idemitsu) had a solid afternoon in Barcelona, setting a lap time less than two tenths slower than Pedrosa to start a personal best P12.