Mugello felt tense as riders prepared to leave pitlane for Q2, perhaps because of the lap record challenge set by Petrucci in FP3 or the fiery pace of Quartararo in FP4 or the drama all throughout Q1 that saw Dovizioso saved by the skin of his teeth. However, none of those men got to jump into their team’s warm embrace in parc ferme. Reigning world champion and Tissot watch aficionado Marc Marquez hogged almost all the limelight in Q2, only leaving some crumbs for Fabio Quartararo. While all eyes were on Marquez nearly cuddling Dovizioso’s Ducati into Palagio, Quartararo flew to the top of the timesheets, improving the lap record to a high 1:45 on his first outing. After Quartararo’s early masterpiece, the second run was slightly anticlimactic until Marquez opened fire on the final lap and outfoxed Dovizioso into a first class tow that helped him snatch pole position and demolish the previous lap record. Quartararo had enough reason to be proud of his second position, while Danilo Petrucci’s third place just came to confirm Marquez’s theory that flu doesn’t slow you down in the slightest.
Franco Morbidelli opening the second row of the grid just made his team’s smile even wider, the Yamaha man sharing row two with the Ducati of Jack Miller and Honda’s Cal Crutchlow, in quite an even spread of manufacturers on the front two rows. Despite looking quite dandy in the top two at one point, Maverick Viñales dropped to seventh, six tenths off pole. Pecco Bagnaia and Andrea Dovizioso will line up next to the Spaniard on row three, both the losing parties of a session-long tango with Marquez. Takaaki Nakagami, Pol Espargaro and Michele Pirro completed row five, the Ducati wildcard using his detailed knowledge of the track to sneak out of Q1 together with his factory teammate.
The real cautionary tales of Q1 were Alex Rins and Valentino Rossi, who somehow managed to miss an all-important final flying lap. For the Suzuki man that meant he was pushed back from a Q2 position by Dovizioso’s late attack, while Yamaha’s veteran got stuck in an uncomfortable 18th position, one behind Jorge Lorenzo and left with a lot of work to do.