A hot track promised a red hot qualifying session, after a set of practice sessions that saw Valentino Rossi, Marc Marquez and Pol Espargaro at the top, Jorge Lorenzo threateningly fast and consistent and Dani Pedrosa on a fantastic surge of form all throughout the weekend.
With the record for most pole positions (yes, yes, since records are available) on the line, Jorge Lorenzo was unleashed for his first run, the world champion beating his own pole time from last year to hint that a 1:31 was within reach. And so it was, the Spaniard beating the lap record once again, with a marvellous 1:31.868. That puts him ahead of Rossi and Marquez with 64 career pole positions.
Teammate Valentino Rossi didn’t have the best first run and saw a fast time cancelled in the second one, but did well to post another low 1:32 and grab second position on the grid. Over half a second down on Lorenzo, the last man on the first row was Maverick Viñales, the Suzuki the best of the rest behind the Yamahas.
Marc Marquez started strong but did not improve on his second run, narrowly missing out on the front row and starting tomorrow’s race staring straight ahead at his title rivals. Having given up on an automatic Q2 spot to jump on Iannone’s bike instead, Q1 was a walk in the park for Michele Pirro and Q2 was another fine performance, the Italian qualifying in the middle of the second row as the top Ducati, two tenths faster than Andrea Dovizioso in sixth.
Cal Crutchlow will open the third row, with Dani Pedrosa not really showing the same great pace from practice down in eighth. Following a late crash, Aleix Espargaro will close down line three, brother Pol starting the fourth row. Running out of tyres after having to go through Q1, Hector Barbera only did one run that placed him in eleventh spot, Alvaro Bautista last in Q2 but still a good result for Aprilia.