Overcast and cooler conditions offered the perfect conditions for the premier class to fight for Q2 honours and some were more eager to get going than others. Alex Rins put in a banker lap on softs early on to join the provisional top ten while Valentino Rossi’s Yamaha thrived in the conditions to also take a massive step on the timesheets, from 14th to 6th. However, Marc Marquez was keen to keep the spotlight on himself and immediately took over at the top on a medium-hard tyre combination. With those the only early changes in the timesheets, riders turned their focus back on race setup, despite conditions not being particularly relevant for race time.
Things were going to plan until Cal Crutchlow went down quite rapidly at turn 9 and the session was red flagged to fix the air fence with 17 minutes left on the clock. The British rider was unharmed and did not miss too much track time as he could restart with the rest of his colleagues. With most of the grid on soft rubber in preparation for a time attack, the battle started early and the initial exchanges were between Fabio Quartararo and Danilo Petrucci, who traded lap records.
However, there was enough time for one final time attack that unleashed chaos, the top 10 changing names every other second. Petrucci was the biggest winner, the Italian setting the first ever lap in the 1:36s on a MotoGP bike in Jerez. Marquez came up short by half a tenth, while Quartararo kept a very dignified top three position. Andrea Dovizioso and Joan Mir posted identical times in fourth and fifth, with Rins dropping to sixth but only three tenths off the leader. The Suzukis were followed by the Hondas of Takaaki Nakagami and Cal Crutchlow, while Franco Morbidelli and Jorge Lorenzo snatched the final top ten positions.
Birthday boy Lorenzo was one of the first out the gates and he scored a rodeo moment at newly named Pedrosa Corner, a brief stint at the top and eventually just about held on to a Q2 place ahead of unlucky Valentino Rossi. The Italian missed out by only four hundredths of a second and will have to battle Jack Miller, The Espargaro duo and an anonymous Maverick Vinales in Q1.