Valentino Rossi has taken pole position in a scintillating qualifying session at Mugello, and will start from the front of the grid in front of a jubilant home crowd. The Italian found himself paired with Maverick Viñales throughout qualifying, leading the Spaniard on the first exit, then trailing him on the second run.
On his first exit, Rossi towed Viñales up to the first row, while not being able to make much of an impression himself, but on his second run, he tucked in behind Viñales, the Suzuki rider returning the favor and helping Rossi to his sixth pole at Mugello. The Spaniard was not willing to settle for towing Rossi to pole, however, launching a searing final lap where he came close to the Movistar Yamaha rider's time, but just lost out in the final sector.
Andrea Iannone fills the final spot on the front row, the Ducati rider using Jorge Lorenzo as a target on both his runs, until Lorenzo ducked back into the pits for a second stop. Marc Marquez looked like snatching pole from Rossi, but in a sign of just how hard he was pushing, he nearly washed both the front and rear tires at Correntaio, and almost colliding with Aleix Espargaro as he got back on line.
Marquez wound up in fourth, ahead of Jorge Lorenzo, who could not find the speed he had on the first day. Lorenzo gambled on a three-run strategy, but lost a lot of time when he swapped a hard front tire for a soft, and got out with just enough time for a single lap. Aleix Espargaro ended up in sixth, a very strong result given that he had been forced to come through Q1 first.
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