In testing conditions, Jorge Lorenzo (Ducati Team) secured a sensational second pole position of the season at the GoPro British Grand Prix in a breathtaking Q2 session at Silverstone, with teammate Andrea Dovizioso earning his third consecutive front-row start in second as Johann Zarco (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) rounds out the front row at the British GP.
The start of the second qualifying session was delayed after Tito Rabat’s heavy FP4 crash required lengthy medical attention. His Reale Avinita Racing team said he sustained multiple fractures in his right leg and was transferred to University Hospital Coventry for further evaluation.
With the threat of rain looming over an already mixed-condition Northamptonshire layout, the 12 riders went out on wet Michelin tires.
After graduating from Q1, Bradley Smith (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) was the early pace-setter before Jack Miller (Alma Pramac Racing) led Dovizioso and teammate Danilo Petrucci over the line to give the Desmosedicis a provisional front-row lockout. But this was just the start of the constant chopping and changing for pole, with home hero Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda Castrol), Zarco and Dovizioso setting the fastest times of the session in tandem.
It was a case of déjà vu for Miller as he took the gamble to head out on slicks, just like he did for pole in Argentina. It was a gamble that looked to be paying off in the first sector, but when the Australian reached the treacherous Turn 7, he ran on and lost the lap time. Meanwhile at the front, with the clock ticking, Lorenzo made his move to go provisional pole by 0.159s after Dovizioso had gone 0.905s ahead of the field. The two Ducatis would stay P1 and P2 as the checkered flag came out, with Zarco knocking Crutchlow off the front row on his final lap.
The Brit starts P4 at his home GP, with Championship leader Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) managing to salvage P5 on his final lap – 0.928s behind the Ducati duo. Petrucci claimed sixth to join the Hondas on the second row, with Andrea Iannone (Team Suzuki Ecstar) spearheading the third row for Sunday’s showdown. This was Smith’s final home GP qualifying session for the foreseeable future, and what a session it was – the KTM rider earning the Austrian factory their best qualifying result of the season, with the Brit looking very strong in mixed conditions. Miller’s gamble didn’t pay off in the end; he’ll start P9, with Q1 graduate Alex Rins (Team Suzuki Ecstar) rounding out the top ten.
After such a strong start to the weekend, Q2 didn’t go the way Maverick Viñales (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) and teammate Valentino Rossi would have envisioned. The Spaniard will start P11, with Rossi seemingly mistiming his tactics when coming in to change his tires, missing out on a final flying lap by a fraction of a second – and a 12th starting spot for the ‘Doctor.’