Motorland Aragon hotted up nicely ahead of the qualifying session for the premier class but it looked like a given that Marc Marquez would grow his watch collection as soon as FP1 concluded. The Spaniard’s second flying lap was good enough for provisional pole and for his second run he aimed to improve on his FP1 demolition job of a lap. The plan was slightly derailed when the Spaniard came across Maverick Viñales and refused to drag him along but the world champion will still start his 200th Grand Prix from pole position.
The only slight palpitations for the poleman came once again courtesy of Fabio Quartararo, the young Frenchman setting three red sectors on his final flying lap but it all came undone in the final sector and he had to settle for second. Viñales completes a fairly familiar front row configuration, where the Yamaha man was the only other rider to finish within half a second of pole.
Jack Miller opens row two ahead of Aleix Espargaro in an exceptional afternoon for Aprilia. Valentino Rossi climbed as high as sixth place, one full second slower than Marquez. Cal Crutchlow found some speed to join the third row of the grid, where he will be accompanied by Q1 leader Franco Morbidelli and the lead Suzuki of Joan Mir.
Andrea Dovizioso rounded out the top ten but a fourth row start is less than ideal for his championship challenge. The bigger story of row four, however, came from Andrea Iannone, the convalescent Italian making his first Q2 appearance for Aprilia and the first time the Italian factory has both bikes in the second qualifying session. He will line up 11th, although six tenths slower than Dovizioso and a couple seconds off pole.
Iannone’s Q1 surprise came to the detriment of Alex Rins, the Spaniard’s hard rear tyre gamble not paying off and leaving him stranded in 13th grid position. There was no room at the inn for Danilo Petrucci either, the Italian qualifying 15th. Although Pol Espargaro had secured a direct Q2 spot, the KTM rider could not make good use of it after a painful FP4 crash left him with a fractured wrist. With the Spaniard unfortunately declared unfit for the race, Rins finds himself promoted to the fourth row of the grid.