Jorge Lorenzo (Ducati Team) will start Sunday’s Movistar Grand Prix of Aragon from P1 after sealing his third consecutive pole position of the season in style, snatching Saturday’s honours from teammate Andrea Dovizioso by 0.014 of a second as the Ducati duo overhauled championship leader Marc Marquez (Respol Honda Team) in Q2.
It was third place Marquez who came out the blocks quickest though, immediately clocking a 1m46.974s – 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.
Mind games then appeared as the riders came out to try and better their times. Dovizioso had Marquez lurking in his shadows as the top two in the championship played cat and mouse, which led to both backing out of flying laps as everyone apart from Alex Rins (Team Suzuki Ecstar) and Jack Miller (Alma Pramac Racing) scrapped their opening second-run circulations.
This meant it all came down to a one-lap dash, with Maverick Vinales (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 maneuver past Alvaro Bautista (Angel Nieto Team) at the same corner, Dovizioso went fastest by 0.065s to grab provisional pole, but teammate Lorenzo was on the prowl. Heading out slightly later than the rest of the field, Lorenzo put the hammer down and snatched pole by 0.014s – his fourth of the season and his fourth successive front row in Aragon.
This bumped Dovizioso to P2 and Marquez to P3 as the trio spearhead the grid together for the first time since the Austrian GP. Crutchlow threatened the front row but a crash at T12 on his final flying lap ended his chances of a third front row start of the season – P4 for the Briton and just 0.265s off Lorenzo. Fifth on the grid went to Andrea Iannone (Team Suzuki Ecstar), his best starting spot since the Catalan GP, with Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda Team) securing his best qualifying position since the Jerez in sixth.
Ducati’s Danilo Petrucci (Alma Pramac Racing) will launch from P7, under half a second back from pole, 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 11th, with Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda Idemitsu) starting 12th after also coming through the first part of qualifying.
It was a disappointing day for Valentino Rossi (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP). Rossi, who is third in the points, will start from P18 on Sunday, his worst qualifying result since Assen 2006 as the YZR-M1s continue to struggle.