2018 Jerez MotoGP Qualifying Result: The Fast One And The Lottery Behind

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.

Results:

Pos. Num. Rider Bike Time Gap 1st Prev.
1 35 Cal CRUTCHLOW Honda 1'37.653    
2 26 Dani PEDROSA Honda 1'37.912 0.259 0.259
3 5 Johann ZARCO Yamaha 1'37.956 0.303 0.044
4 99 Jorge LORENZO Ducati 1'37.969 0.316 0.013
5 93 Marc MARQUEZ Honda 1'37.977 0.324 0.008
6 42 Alex RINS Suzuki 1'37.984 0.331 0.007
7 29 Andrea IANNONE Suzuki 1'37.987 0.334 0.003
8 4 Andrea DOVIZIOSO Ducati 1'38.029 0.376 0.042
9 9 Danilo PETRUCCI Ducati 1'38.086 0.433 0.057
10 46 Valentino ROSSI Yamaha 1'38.267 0.614 0.181
11 25 Maverick VIÑALES Yamaha 1'38.281 0.628 0.014
12 43 Jack MILLER Ducati 1'38.522 0.869 0.241
    Q1 Results:          
Q2 4 Andrea DOVIZIOSO Ducati 1'38.074    
Q2 25 Maverick VIÑALES Yamaha 1'38.349 0.275 0.275
13 41 Aleix ESPARGARO Aprilia 1'38.389 0.315 0.040
14 30 Takaaki NAKAGAMI Honda 1'38.481 0.407 0.092
15 21 Franco MORBIDELLI Honda 1'38.544 0.470 0.063
16 44 Pol ESPARGARO KTM 1'38.598 0.524 0.054
17 53 Tito RABAT Ducati 1'38.610 0.536 0.012
18 12 Thomas LUTHI Honda 1'38.752 0.678 0.142
19 36 Mika KALLIO KTM 1'38.759 0.685 0.007
20 19 Alvaro BAUTISTA Ducati 1'38.838 0.764 0.079
21 38 Bradley SMITH KTM 1'38.961 0.887 0.123
22 55 Hafizh SYAHRIN Yamaha 1'39.135 1.061 0.174
23 17 Karel ABRAHAM Ducati 1'39.146 1.072 0.011
24 10 Xavier SIMEON Ducati 1'39.708 1.634 0.562
25 45 Scott REDDING Aprilia 1'39.918 1.844 0.210
Round Number: 
4
2018
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Comments

That was a fun qualifying. The times are insanely tight, especially from 2nd through to 9th. I expect the race tomorrow to largely be a war of attrition. Marquez and Iannone appeared to have the best race pace from what I saw but after that it's wide open and I get the feeling that Race Direction could have their work cut out for them.

Márquez seems human in clockwise circuits, let's see tomorrow. 

P.S.: 25° Celsius "nauseantgly hot conditions"? ...