Maverick Viñales (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) took pole position on his penultimate lap in qualifying for the Gran Premio Tribul Mastercard di San Marino e della Riviera di Rimini, deposing home hero and key Championship rival Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team), who will now start second. Completing the top three is reigning Champion Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team), who crashed in the session when on his fastest lap – rider ok.
Despite doubts about the weather, Saturday gave the grid good conditions for practice and qualifying at Misano, and pole position came down to a three-way duel. Dovizioso was the man on provisional pole as Viñales and Marquez began their final pushes, with the younger Spaniard going fastest on his penultimate effort and then rolling off after Marquez fell out of contention.
Fourth was a late dash from Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda), riding with a finger injury, and the Brit headed five-time World Champion Jorge Lorenzo (Ducati Team) by only 0.024 seconds. Joining the experienced duo on Row 2 is rookie Johann Zarco (Monster Yamaha Tech 3), who bounced back from a crash on Saturday morning to take a second row start in sixth.
Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda Team) is seventh – one place higher than his qualifying position last year, when he went on to win – with Friday’s fastest Danilo Petrucci (Octo Pramac Racing) taking eighth. Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini) moved up slightly on his last lap, and completes the third row in P9.
Alvaro Bautista (Pull&Bear Aspar Team) is P10 after leading the charge from Q1, with Ducati test rider and wildcard Michele Pirro suffering a problem in the session and lining up in eleventh. Karel Abraham (Pull&Bear Aspar Team) completed the top twelve.
From Q1, P13 is Hector Barbera (Reale Avintia Racing) despite a big crash earlier on Saturday, with Jack Miller (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) in fourteenth after having a lap deleted. Loris Baz (Reale Avintia Racing) locked out the fastest fifteen, with Jonas Folger (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) also falling foul of track limits and relegated to P16 after marginally heading wide in Q1.
Now it’s race time. Will we see a re-run of 2017 and the number 26 slicing through the field? Can Marquez bounce back, Viñales go one better, Dovizioso make it three in a row? And the big question: will it be rain or shine on Sunday…
Mattia Pasini (Italtrans Racing Team) will start his second home race of the year from pole position, taking the honour for the fourth consecutive time and aiming to take his second home turf victory of the season on Sunday. The closest challenger was once again compatriot Franco Morbidelli (EG 0,0 Marc VDS), with the Championship leader only 0.083 seconds off. Dominique Aegerter (Kiefer Racing) took third after a weekend of good pace, back on the front row for the first time since Jerez.
Lorenzo Baldassarri (Forward Racing Team) – winner at the track last season – made a late lunge onto the second row in P4, heading multiple Misano winner Takaaki Nakagami (Idemitsu Honda Team Asia). Francesco Bagnaia (Sky Racing Team VR46) took sixth, fastest rookie once again to lock out Row 2.
Key title challenger Tom Lüthi (CarXpert Interwetten) had a slightly muted session to take seventh, the key victim of Baldassarri’s late charge as he got bumped off the second row, and he will now line up just ahead of veteran Italian Simone Corsi (Speed Up Racing). Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM Ajo), after a difficult FP3, completes the third row in ninth. Fabio Quartararo (Pons HP 40) takes tenth, after a weekend of good pace for the French rookie.
Luca Marini (Forward Racing Team) is P11, ahead of another rookie in the form of Jorge Navarro (Federal Oil Gresini Moto2). Sandro Cortese (Dynavolt Intact GP) made good use of qualifying to take thirteenth, with Hafizh Syahrin (Petronas Raceline Malaysia) and Xavi Vierge (Tech 3 Racing) forming the final part of the fastest fifteen.
The lights go out for what is sure to be a showstopper at 12:20 (GMT +2).
The ‘Beast’ is back! Enea Bastianini (Estrella Galicia 0,0) will start the Gran Premio Tribul Mastercard di San Marino e della Riviera di Rimini from pole position after a new lap record in qualifying – and a dramatic end to the session. An incident out the final corner on the final run saw Gabriel Rodrigo (RBA BOE Racing Team) lose control and his bike get collected by Livio Loi (Leopard Racing), creating a spectacular crash for the Belgian rider but with both riders soon up and on their feet. Behind that drama, Jorge Martin (Del Conca Gresini Moto3) just missed out on pole and starts from the middle of the front row, with Championship leader Joan Mir (Leopard Racing) taking third.
Fabio Di Giannantonio (Del Conca Gresini Moto3) was the first man to break Brad Binder’s former pole record, and the Italian heads up the second row after the dust settles on a frantic session. Just behind him is Romano Fenati (Marinelli Rivacold Snipers), with Rodrigo set to line up in sixth despite that late drama.
Ayumu Sasaki (SIC Racing Team) was the rookie superstar of the session to take seventh and break a run of more difficult qualifying results, ahead of home hero Niccolo Antonelli (Red Bull KTM Ajo), who has shown solid top ten form all weekend. Just behind Antonelli is teammate Bo Bendsneyder.
Nicolo Bulega (Sky Racing Team VR46) had a fast lap deleted for exceeding track limits and took tenth by the flag, ahead of Aron Canet (Estrella Galicia 0,0), who provided some earlier drama of his own. Canet highsided at Turn 15 part way through the session, but was able to get back out on track and take P11. Mugello winner Andrea Migno (Sky Racing Team VR46) rounds out Row 4.
Kaito Toba (Honda Team Asia) was another to impress to take P13, with the Japanese rookie just beating Marco Bezzechi (CIP) by 0.013. Philipp Oettl (Südmetall Schedl GP Racing) completes the fastest fifteen.
The lightweight class get ready to race at 11:00 (GMT +2) at Misano on Sunday, with Bastianini looking to take his second win at the venue from pole. If he does that, he’ll be the first winner from P1 on the grid since Brad Binder took the win at Phillip Island last season.
*Pending review by Race Direction, some positions may be liable to change.
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