The weather could not make up its mind as the premier class was warming up engines in preparation for qualifying and riders had a hard time keeping up, a combination of slick and wet tyres on track at the same time in both qualifying sessions. Regardless, the correct decision, with a touch of luck, was in the happy Honda camp, Marc Marquez keeping the crash for after he posted a pole worthy lap. The Spaniard set camp at the top of the timesheets on his second lap and swiftly went down at turn six but then immediately regrouped and restarted his assault. Despite the hiccup in the world champion’s plan, the weather went his way and extra spots of rain slowed his rivals’ progress. Marquez stayed on track on his scraped and bruised machine with rain tyres and turned it into a bit of a long run while everyone else was struggling to match his 1:40 time.
Danilo Petrucci came closest by three tenths of a second while Jack Miller probably enjoyed the conditions and the end result but not as much the crash that ended his session early. Regardless, the Pramac rider got a bit of luck as rivals failed to improve and he stayed on the front row of the grid for the first time this season.
Andrea Dovizioso went under the radar on his way to fourth place, partly due to Yamaha’s adventures stealing airtime. Valentino Rossi pulled a rabbit out of the hat in Q1, gambling on slicks at the right time to gain his worthy place in Q2 with a 1.5 second advantage. But there were no more rabbits left the second time around. The Italian tried the same strategy in Q2 but it proved to be the wrong one and lost some time changing back to wet rubber on his way to fifth spot. Fellow Q1 escapee Franco Morbidelli will join his favourite teacher on the second row of the grid.
Takaaki Nakagami was the second best Honda, one second off pole and opening third row ahead of Jorge Lorenzo. Aleix Espargaro will keep the Hondas company on row three, with a rather disappointing and disappointed row four. Fabio Quartararo and Maverick Vinales also gambled on slicks at the wrong moment and ran out of time to squeeze anything better than 10th and 11th from rain-friendly rubber. Pol Espargaro would have been even more miserable after a good performance in practice was thrown out the window by the weather and a late crash before even setting a time. One might argue there are worst things than a fourth row start though, for example 15th for Cal Crutchlow and a dismal 19th for Alex Rins, whose qualifying form betrayed him once again, aided by the conditions too.