It is always hard to look past Marc Marquez every time the words ‘pole position’ are spoken but the world champion’s trademark two-stop strategy was not enough to dethrone a dominating Dani Pedrosa in Jerez.
The Honda veteran only just missed his chance of beating Marquez by three hundredths of a second on his first run, the duo running together in the last minutes and Pedrosa taking the opportunity to snatch pole by half a tenth. He will start the 3000th grand prix of the world championship with a great opportunity to get his first win of the year, considering the pole position man has won the race in Jerez for the past three years.
Marc Marquez won’t be two disappointed with second position, while Cal Crutchlow managed to get stung by a bee and, more notably, complete an all-Honda first row.
Maverick Viñales put the troubles of FP4 behind him and qualified fourth, as Q1 leader Andrea Iannone had a great afternoon to place the Suzuki in the middle of the second row. Johann Zarco continued to impress when it mattered and grabbed the last available slot on the second row, pushing Valentino Rossi to seventh position on grid.
Jorge Lorenzo showed good speed throughout practice but ultimately lost his record of starting every race in Jerez on the front row. He will have to settle for eighth spot, next to his old pal Rossi and in the middle of a Yamaha sandwich, with Jonas Folger ninth.
Jack Miller crashed late in the session and will share a fourth row with Scott Redding and fellow late faller Aleix Espargaro. Andrea Dovizioso’s feeling towards the track won’t have improved much after qualifying fourteenth, behind Danilo Petrucci.