The big battle for pole got underway in front of the enthusiastic local crowds and there was sugar, spice and everything nice (but mostly spice) from the very start of Q1. Although it was no surprise to see the Ducatis headlining the show, there was still room for a new record, with the 10th different pole sitter of the season. The honour went to Marco Bezzecchi, the rookie securing a maiden pole position, as well as the all-time lap record at Buriram. Having been a consistent fixture at the top end throughout qualifying, Jorge Martin tried to retaliate and reclaim the lead, but came two hundredths of a second short, while Pecco Bagnaia in third was just a tenth off pole.
Fabio Quartararo was once again confronted with a gaggle of Ducatis and limited the damage with a second-row start, but surrounded by more Bologna bullets, with Johann Zarco and Enea Bastianini joining him on the second row. Jack Miller was a frontrunner early on, but an issue on his second outing saw him return to pitlane without posting another fast lap and the Australian got demoted to seventh on the grid. After spicing things up in Q1, Marc Marquez had to make it work with only one fresh soft tyre left and the Honda man was on course for a front row when a moment at the final corner slowed him down and only gained him eighth place on the grid. Luca Marini’s solid weekend continues with a third row start, about half a second behind his leading teammate. Alex Rins opens row four for Suzuki, ahead of the factory KTM machines, with Miguel Oliveira escaping Q1 to then finish ahead of teammate Brad Binder.
The big heartache in Q1 was Aleix Espargaro having to admit defeat by a tenth of a second and equalling his worst qualifying of the season in 13th position. The Aprilia man will share fifth row with the improving Yamaha duo of Franco Morbidelli and Cal Crutchlow, while Raul Fernandez impressed in 16th position, having missed FP3 due to a stomach ache. Much less impressed was Maverick Viñales, who spent almost as much time off track as he did between the white lines and finished a disgruntled 17th on the grid, in between the Tech 3 machines of Fernandez and Remy Gardner.
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