In nauseatingly hot conditions, Marc Marquez was flying straight from the box, grabbing the lead after the first run. No one would have expected anything less, which makes the rest of this story sound somewhat unlikely. While the world champion was swapping tires, Cal Crutchlow and the factory Ducatis had the playground all to themselves and the British rider made the best of it to sneak ahead of the competition. Marquez was out to play soon after but his attempts to defeat the LCR rider fell short repeatedly and the Crutchlow sealed pole position with the fastest lap ever around the Spanish track.
Dani Pedrosa was as strong as everyone expected in the hot conditions and the Spaniard climbed into second position, leading a very tightly packed group all the way down to seventh place, with six riders within a tenth of a second. Out of the bunch, Johann Zarco was the one “lucky” enough to grab the final spot available on the front row, the Frenchman looking lost for most of the session before putting in a flyer on a medium tire.
Jorge Lorenzo was once again the lead Ducati man in fourth spot, starting the second row of the grid ahead of Marquez and Alex Rins, the Suzuki another one to qualify on the medium tire. His teammate Andrea Iannone will start from the third row of the grid but will hope for much more after showing great pace throughout practice. The championship leader had no trouble escaping from Q1 and eventually qualified eighth, ahead of fellow Ducati man Danilo Petrucci.
The Yamahas looked to operate in damage limitation mode, Valentino Rossi opening the fourth row of the grid ahead of teammate Maverick Viñales, who just about made it out of Q1. Jack Miller completed fourth row, with Aleix Espargaro best of the rest in 13th after the Spaniard missed out on Q2 by four hundredths of a second.