2018 Aragon MotoGP Qualifying Result: The One Where Tom And Jerry Both Lose UPDATED

With the magic 8 ball suggesting that the lap record around Motorland Aragon was about to be shattered into pieces, expectations were high ahead of the MotoGP qualifying session. The reality was not quite as extraordinary as that but Ducati won’t have minded one bit once Jorge Lorenzo brought them a third consecutive pole position for the first time in a decade. The Spaniard was the last man to cross the line in the session and stole the show from the Dovizioso/Marquez shenanigans.

Marc Marquez’s damaged bike from FP4 was not fixed for qualifying, leaving the world champion in a risky position, even by his usual standards. Not one to take it easy, the Spaniard got within three tenths of his own pole record on the first flying lap and was the first man to dip into the 1:46s. Marquez and Dovizioso then went on to spend most of the final shootout doing the tango and neither wanting to lead. This left them with only one flying lap to change the hierarchy but luckily for them, no one did any better meanwhile and it all came down to one final lap for everyone. Unluckily for them, they both got stuck in significant traffic, which Dovizioso managed to escape to make it a Ducati 1-2 but Marquez could not dodge and had to give up the fight. Nonetheless, the favourites for the race all dipped into the 1:46s, covered by less than a tenth of a second and will start the fireworks from the front row of the grid.

Similarly to his factory colleague, Cal Crutchlow had to rely on his early benchmark after a late crash in turn 12 put an end to his hopes but the LCR rider had done enough to keep fourth position. Andrea Iannone was hot on Marquez’s tail, in fairly familiar fashion but with the Spaniard failing to improve, so did Iannone, dropping to fifth place. Dani Pedrosa played nice and was rewarded with a second row start from sixth position.

Danilo Petrucci opens row three, ahead of Alvaro Bautista and Alex Rins. Jack Miller could not replicate the excellent display from practice and was demoted to tenth, with the two Q1 survivors completing row four. Maverick Viñales worked out his escape from Q1 on his second lap but could not go any better than 11th in Q2, while Takaaki Nakagami snuck into Q2 on his final lap to the detriment of Franco Morbidelli.

Johann Zarco was close to Q2 as well and the Frenchman saved a couple of costly front end slides on the final lap but could not save the laptime as well. He will start from row five, sandwiched between the Honda of Morbidelli and the Aprilia of Aleix Espargaro. Valentino Rossi had an even more forgettable afternoon, the Italian looking like he was cruising – literally, not metaphorically – in Q1 and never seemed like threatening the top positions. He qualified 18th, closing row six behind Bradley Smith and Karel Abraham.

UPDATE: Maverick Viñales and Franco Morbidelli were given grid penalties for impeding Bradley Smith in Q1 and will start 14th and 19th respectively (3 grid positions for Viñales and 6 for Morbidelli). This promotes Nakagami to 11th, Zarco 12th, Aleix Espargaro 13th, Smith 15th, Abraham 16th, Rossi 17th and finally Syahrin in 18th grid position.


Pos. Num. Rider Bike Time Gap 1st Prev.
1 99 Jorge LORENZO Ducati 1'46.881    
2 4 Andrea DOVIZIOSO Ducati 1'46.895 0.014 0.014
3 93 Marc MARQUEZ Honda 1'46.960 0.079 0.065
4 35 Cal CRUTCHLOW Honda 1'47.146 0.265 0.186
5 29 Andrea IANNONE Suzuki 1'47.169 0.288 0.023
6 26 Dani PEDROSA Honda 1'47.224 0.343 0.055
7 9 Danilo PETRUCCI Ducati 1'47.351 0.470 0.127
8 19 Alvaro BAUTISTA Ducati 1'47.678 0.797 0.327
9 42 Alex RINS Suzuki 1'47.737 0.856 0.059
10 43 Jack MILLER Ducati 1'47.792 0.911 0.055
11 25 Maverick VIÑALES Yamaha 1'47.810 0.929 0.018
12 30 Takaaki NAKAGAMI Honda 1'48.284 1.403 0.474
    Q1 Results:        
Q2 25 Maverick VIÑALES Yamaha 1'47.823    
Q2 30 Takaaki NAKAGAMI Honda 1'47.946 0.123 0.123
13 21 Franco MORBIDELLI Honda 1'48.009 0.186 0.063
14 5 Johann ZARCO Yamaha 1'48.052 0.229 0.043
15 41 Aleix ESPARGARO Aprilia 1'48.181 0.358 0.129
16 38 Bradley SMITH KTM 1'48.216 0.393 0.035
17 17 Karel ABRAHAM Ducati 1'48.398 0.575 0.182
18 46 Valentino ROSSI Yamaha 1'48.627 0.804 0.229
19 55 Hafizh SYAHRIN Yamaha 1'48.975 1.152 0.348
20 12 Thomas LUTHI Honda 1'48.988 1.165 0.013
21 45 Scott REDDING Aprilia 1'49.303 1.480 0.315
22 10 Xavier SIMEON Ducati 1'49.699 1.876 0.396
23 81 Jordi TORRES Ducati 1'50.336 2.513 0.637
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If alien is defined as 'standardout' perfromance in comparision to the rest of the grid, then there are only 3 aliens on the grid. MM who is an alien from another galaxy then Dovi and Lorenzo who are aliens from our galaxy. Of course and alien flying a subpar space craft is technically still an alien, albit from our solar system.

-all tounge in cheek, no offense intended.

Three in a row. Well, actualy it was a great idea to kick Lorenzo out (yes, I know). Who wants two strong riders in one's team after all?
There will be a number one and a number… 7 at Ducati's next year, yippee.
Too bad for Honda which will have to manage an amazing team!

I'm looking forward this promising race though :)

Who’d have thunk it, that we’d ever see a factory bike, let alone a Yamaha, this far back. 

I'm really not happy with the amount of messing about in both Q1 and Q2. Some of that looked genuinely dangerous, when it wasn't just unsportsmanlike. But mostly, it ruined the spectacle. Race Control needs to stomp on it, just like they have done in Moto3. The irony of the whole thing is that several of the riders would have done better just concentrating on getting a bit of clear space and focussing on their own lap.

Morbidelli and Vinales have been punted back a few grid slots for dangerous dawdling. Zarco now top Yamaha on the grid. Speaking of Yamaha, it looks like the halcyon days are over. The bike don't go, don't stop, chews tires and Yamaha take the blame for it in public. Where did I see this in the past? Oh yeah! When #46 developed the Ducati GP10 and hence around himself to nigh extinction. The Ducati has come on leaps and bounds by virtue of the funding (VW) and organizational skills (Gianluigi). Lest ye forget, the red bike draped in carbon was the brainchild of the man in the wheelchair, Felippo Prezziosi. Now we see carbon swing arms, forks, carbon discs, carbon everything. Anyway, Prezzi got sideswiped along with Tardozzi, Stoner and the organizer of the hopelessly underfunded dream team, Livio, who left with Stoner and Gabbarini to join HRC in 2011. This clean out was no accident. It was a by and large a #46 dictat prior to signing the Ducati contract for uber millions. The end result was that it threw the innovation down the gurgler. Now the chickens come home to roost at Yamaha after Lorenzo left for much the same reason. Everything has a 'sell by date' including a #46 cap.  Props to Lorenzo, he's done a great job for Ducati as he did at Yamaha. Vinales is saddled with a Rossi horse and I guess he would be much better on a GP 18 Ducati or GP18 Suzuki for that matter. They used to call Ducati GP bike 'a career killer'. The mixed martial arts combo of Dovi and Lorenzo data have certainly made that bike a usefull piece of kit for anyone.