Vinales beats Espargaro in dramatic Misano MotoGP qualifying

MotoGP

Yamaha’s Maverick Vinales took pole ahead of KTM standout Pol Espargaro in MotoGP qualifying at Misano, as tempers flared between Marc Marquez and Valentino Rossi.

Marquez, who had a crash in the FP4 session that preceded qualifying, was sat behind Rossi on his final Q2 lap and looked on course to secure a front row spot.

But after the championship leader overtook Rossi at Curvone, the Yamaha man closed back up after Marquez ran wide and launched it down the inside of the Honda man at the hairpin-like Turn 14, with both riders’ laps compromised as Rossi ran wide.

Marquez was thus left fifth on the grid, five tenths off Vinales and two places up on Rossi.

Practice pace-setter Fabio Quartararo had taken the early lead in the Q2 pole shoot-out with a 1m32.686s, and bettered that with a 1m32.571s next time by as he and Franco Morbidelli made it a Petronas Yamaha 1-2 at the conclusion of the opening runs.

Morbidelli then looked set to challenge his teammate’s benchmark, only to have his fastest lap thwarted by a slide that very nearly led to a highside.

But Quartararo himself likewise struggled to improve, and while he backed out of his final attempt, Espargaro – who had tucked in behind the rookie – eclipsed him with 1m32.560s.

This meant the Spaniard briefly held provisional pole for KTM, only for Vinales to find another three tenths for a 1m32.265s.

Quartararo and Morbidelli completed the top four ahead of Marquez and Ducati’s Andrea Dovizioso, who had been outside the top 10 for much of the session.

Espargaro’s KTM teamate Johann Zarco will line up between Rossi and Suzuki’s Alex Rins on the third row after having progressed from Q1.

Another rider to advance from the opening segment, Rins’ teammate Joan Mir, will start 10th ahead of LCR Honda’s Takaaki Nakagami – whose squadmate Cal Crutchlow had to settle for 14th – and Ducati wildcard Michele Pirro.

Pramac Ducati rider Francesco Bagnaia came up 0.003s short of advancing from Q1 at Mir’s expense, and will line up 13th on the grid.

Bagnaia did see off the likes of Pramac teammate Jack Miller, who held a provisional Q2 sport after the first runs but dropped down to 16th, and works Ducati rider Danilo Petrucci, recording his worst grid position of the season in 17th.

Aleix Espargaro was ahead of both in 15th for Aprilia. His teammate Andrea Iannone was absent from the session entirely, after an FP4 crash – his third of the weekend – forced him to go to the medical centre with pain in his left shoulder.

Honda’s Jorge Lorenzo, still recovering from injury, will line up 18th on the grid, having lapped six tenths off Q1 pace-setter Zarco.

Results

Pos Rider Team Bike Gap
1 Maverick Vinales Yamaha Yamaha 1m32.265s
2 Pol Espargaro KTM KTM 0.295s
3 Fabio Quartararo Petronas Yamaha Yamaha 0.306s
4 Franco Morbidelli Petronas Yamaha Yamaha 0.445s
5 Marc Marquez Honda Honda 0.477s
6 Andrea Dovizioso Ducati Ducati 0.773s
7 Valentino Rossi Yamaha Yamaha 0.814s
8 Johann Zarco KTM KTM 0.858s
9 Alex Rins Suzuki Suzuki 1.000s
10 Joan Mir Suzuki Suzuki 1.166s
11 Takaaki Nakagami LCR Honda Honda 1.184s
12 Michele Pirro Ducati Ducati 1.196s
13 Francesco Bagnaia Pramac Ducati Ducati 1.223s
14 Cal Crutchlow LCR Honda Honda 1.251s
15 Aleix Espargaro Aprilia Aprilia 1.257s
16 Jack Miller Pramac Ducati Ducati 1.306s
17 Danilo Petrucci Ducati Ducati 1.365s
18 Jorge Lorenzo Honda Honda 1.512s
19 Miguel Oliveira Tech3 KTM KTM 1.897s
20 Hafizh Syahrin Tech3 KTM KTM 2.057s
21 Karel Abraham Avintia Ducati Ducati 2.136s
22 Tito Rabat Avintia Ducati Ducati 2.639s
23 Andrea Iannone Aprilia Aprilia

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