The premier class returned fast and fresh from their long summer break and put on a quickfire show to open the second half of the season. While all eyes were on Aleix Espargaro’s fitness as he got back on track following the nasty high-side in FP4, it was the Pramac Racing duo keeping top spot warm throughout the session. After some early tentative laps, Espargaro was suddenly on course for pole on his second outing, posting the first 1:57 time on a MotoGP bike around Silverstone – but as impressive as that was, the Spaniard found himself down in sixth position in the blink of an eye, with the timing screens covered in red. The honour to claiming the new all-time lap record eventually went to Johann Zarco, despite the Frenchman being short on winglets compared to some of his Ducati colleagues. Almost as impressive was Maverick Viñales, who secured his first front row start for Aprilia, while Jack Miller put the Desmosaurus into third place on the grid, a tenth and a half off pole.
Fabio Quartararo had to settle for fourth, the world championship leader particularly grumpy as he faces the prospect of the long lap penalty losing him even more ground on Sunday. It won’t be helped by having Pecco Bagnaia breathing down his neck from fifth on the grid, with Espargaro filling the second row despite concussion to both ankles. Marco Bezzecchi was KTM’s number one enemy in Q1, as he demoted both their riders to steal a Q2 place away and then climbed as high as seventh on the grid, sharing third row with Q1 leader Enea Bastianini and early Q2 pacesetter Jorge Martin.
Luca Marini completed the top ten, half a second off pole and sharing fourth row with the rather anonymous Suzukis of Alex Rins and Joan Mir. The KTMs and Hondas were left out in the cold of Q1, with Miguel Oliveira leading Brad Binder on the fifth row, and Alex Marquez the top Honda in the middle of sixth row, after a light tumble.
|15||49||Fabio Di Giannantonio||Ducati||1:58.948||0.339||0.016|