Pramac Racing’s Miller set for second row start in P4.
Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) showed no signs of letting go of his stranglehold on the Aragon grand prix on Saturday afternoon, with the reigning champion taking his 61st premier class pole position in 122 races – taking him back to an incredible 50 percent ratio.
It’s his fifth pole at MotorLand, although Fabio Quartararo (Petronas Yamaha SRT) kept pulses racing until right at the end of the session as he set three red sectors in a row, only losing out in the final part of the lap. He’ll start second, with Maverick Vinales (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) completing the front row.
The promised – or threatened, depending on perspective – rain came down on Saturday morning, but it didn’t stay around too long. It was enough to put paid to anyone’s chance of improving their lap time in FP3 however, with the likes of Alex Rins (Team Suzuki Ecstar) therefore sure of a trip to Q1.
And in Q1 it was a surprise to see the Suzuki man knocked out, with Franco Morbidelli (Petronas Yamaha SRT) taking to the top and joined in Q2 by an impressive Andrea Iannone (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini).
With Q2 underway – featuring two Aprilias for the first time in MotoGP – the fastest lap time cycled through a few different names before Marquez’ second lap shot him to the top, deposing Quartararo, who had deposed Viñales.
On their second runs, Viñales struck back against Quartararo but the gap to Marquez remained over four tenths, made even worse as the number 93 crossed the line only just behind Vinales’ Yamaha and improved his time even further. It seemed like all was said and done in the fight for pole after that show of pace, but Quartararo had other ideas.
On his final flying lap, the rookie was over a tenth in the red after the first split. Were we about to witness one of the upsets of the season? After the second split, the 20-year-old’s advantage was hovering around a tenth and at the third, there was nothing to choose between Quartararo and Marquez. With only the final sector to go – one that’s been tougher for the Yamaha – could ‘El Diablo’ keep those few thousandths?
In the end, he couldn’t, with Marquez secure on pole – but Quartararo will line up second after taking an awesome eighth front row start of his rookie season, edging ahead of Viñales to make it two Yamahas joining the Repsol Honda on the front row.
Jack Miller (Pramac Racing) took P4 and heads up Row 2 as the highest-placed Ducati rider, with Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini) putting in a blinder to take P5 and Aprilia’s best qualifying since Japan 2017. Nine-time World Champion Valentino Rossi (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) managed to launch himself from the lower echelons on his final run, with the ‘Doctor’ taking P6 as he completes the second row.
Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda Castrol) spearheads Row 3, the British rider leading Q1 pacesetter Morbidelli and Joan Mir (Team Suzuki Ecstar), with the Suzuki-riding rookie out-qualifying teammate Rins for the second time this year despite a crash in FP4.
Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team) completes the top ten after a tougher day at the office, with Andrea Iannone battling through the pain barrier after his crash at Misano to take P11.
Pol Espargaro (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing), meanwhile, crashed in FP4 and suffered a fractured left wrist, meaning the number 44 will sadly miss the rest of his home grand prix. That will move Rins up to P12, with Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda Castrol) and Danilo Petrucci (Ducati Team) just behind.
Having played second fiddle to his title rival on Friday, Alex Marquez (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) turned the tables in Moto2 Q2 at Aragon to claim a home grand prix pole position – with a new lap record no less. That saw the Spaniard edge out compatriot Augusto Fernandez (FlexBox HP 40) by 0.125s, with Red Bull KTM Ajo’s Brad Binder – last year’s polesitter and winner – completing the intermediate class front row. Remy Gardner (SAG Racing) was 13th fastest.
Aron Canet (Sterilgarda Max Racing Team) smashed the opposition in Moto3 qualifying, taking pole by over seven tenths and putting himself in the perfect position to try and claw back some ground in the championship fight as points leader Lorenzo Dalla Porta (Leopard Racing) starts 12th.
Joining Canet on the front row were two stunning performers: rookie Ai Ogura (Honda Team Asia) took second and his third front row of the season, with recently-crowned Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup Champion and wildcard Carlos Tatay (Fundacion Andreas Perez 77) taking third in only his second Grand Prix appearance.