Twenty-five degrees and a touch of cloud cover – more of the fluffy type rather than any real threat – invited the premier class to form an orderly queue. And the queue ended up being led by Maverick Viñales, the Spaniard rather ruining the Italian party after bumping the world championship leader out of what would have been his first pole of the season.
Viñales was the first serious provisional pole holder, posting the fastest time of the weekend on his third lap. Once he was done shaking off some opportunistic chasers, Marc Marquez relegated his rival off top spot but the duo were still quite a way off Jorge Lorenzo’s pole record at the circuit. The rest of the title contenders, Dani Pedrosa and Andrea Dovizioso, kept close behind them after the first run.
Lorenzo once again anticipated the second run to jump into third before the pole regulars rejoined the action. Dovizioso was fast right out the box and looked set for a glorious home pole before the only factory Yamaha racing in Misano snatched it at the flag. The Italian gave it another go but even with a new personal best, he could not better Viñales’ time. Marquez also looked like a factor in the pole equation but the world champion proved a bit too fast through the gravel at turn thirteen on his final lap. Despite the harmless oopsie, the Spaniard kept third place on the grid, behind his main opponents.
Cal Crutchlow’s finger will have celebrated a worthy fourth place on the grid, the British rider sharing second row honours with the Ducati of Lorenzo and the Yamaha of Johann Zarco. The third row of the grid will be occupied by Pedrosa, who appeared to struggle in the marginally cooler conditions, the Spanish veteran followed by perhaps a disappointed Danilo Petrucci, the Italian looking in much better form on Friday and the Aprilia of Aleix Espargaro completing the top nine.
On the fourth row, Q1 survivors Alvaro Bautista and Karel Abraham were sandwiching wildcard Michele Pirro. Pirro spent the early part of the session chasing Marquez but a suspected wheel rim issue saw him back into the pits before posting a significant time. The Italian rejoined but struggled to improve, while the two Q1 passengers got a little lucky with Jonas Folger and Jack Miller’s track limits issues – the two being the original men to top Q1. As it stands, the Australian will have to start fourteenth, with the German sixteenth.