The rookie bests the reigning Champion, Viñales third quickest before a three-place penalty.
Fabio Quartararo (Petronas Yamaha SRT) has done it again. The French rookie followed up going fastest on Friday by taking his second pole position in the premier class despite still recovering from arm pump surgery, and that despite suffering his first ever crash in
MotoGP™ during FP3. It was close between the two men at the top in qualifying, however, and the number 20 only just beat reigning Champion Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) to pole by 0.015. Maverick Viñales (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) was third fastest as Saturday proved a top day for Yamaha, but the number 12 subsequently received a three-place grid penalty and will be bumped back to the second row.
An infinitesimal 0.001 advantage for Viñales means Franco Morbidelli (Petronas Yamaha SRT) just missed out on a place in the fastest trio, but the Italian was impressive and will start from the front row after the Spaniard’s penalty. A huge crash in the morning prefaced a trip through Q1, but the number 21 bounced back in qualifying and just got the better of compatriot Valentino Rossi (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) in Q2, who was the fifth fastest but now heads the second row. Rossi’s 1:39.753 was the lap that meant all four Yamahas were inside the fastest five in qualifying for the first time since Brno 2012 after a phenomenal showing from the Iwata marque.
Andrea Dovizioso (Mission Winnow Ducati) continues the Italian invasion near the front as he was sixth quickest and now starts fifth after improving on his second run and gaining a place as Viñales takes his penalty. ‘DesmoDovi’ was the fastest Ducati in qualifying, and although teammate Danilo Petrucci (Mission Winnow Ducati) wasn’t far behind, Viñales will now split the two on the grid. Petrucci suffered a crash in Q2, as did the man just behind him: Alex Rins (Team Suzuki Ecstar).
Rins was on a hot lap when he went down and with only two minutes left on the clock, the Spaniard didn’t have chance to improve. So it’s P8 for him and he needs another stellar first few laps like Mugello, where he picked his way through to perfection from 13th on the grid. Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda Castrol) starts alongside the Suzuki rider, but a few tenths in arrears.
Jorge Lorenzo (Repsol Honda Team) finished just 0.048 off Crutchlow to line up tenth for his home Grand Prix, with the five-time World Champion having gone straight through to Q2. Q1 graduate and rookie Joan Mir (Team Suzuki Ecstar) took 11th place, with Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Pol Espargaro launching from P12 at a true home race for the rider born only kilometers from the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya.
One name missing from the normal Q2 mix was Jack Miller (Pramac Racing), who faces a fight back from P14, and he’ll be one of many to watch when the lights go out. Can Quartararo race away from pole? It’s his last chance to beat Marquez to the record of youngest winner. Or can Marquez beat him to the holeshot? Yamaha look strong, Rossi is a record-breaker in Barcelona, Ducati always bring the pace on race day…you don’t want to miss Round 7 of the season from the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, with MotoGP™ coming your way at 14:00 local time on Sunday (GMT+2).
1 – Fabio Quartararo* (FRA – Yamaha) 1’39.484
2 – Marc Marquez (SPA – Honda) +0.015
3 – Maverick Viñales (SPA – Yamaha) +0.226
*Independent Team rider