At the end of FP4 it looked like a straightforward plotline for qualifying in the premier class and Fabio Quartararo seemed to confirm that by posting the first 1:58 time of the weekend on his very first flying lap. However, his advantage was not as big as you’d expect, only three tenths or so heading into the second run of laps, when Pol Espargaro flashed at the top of the timing screens for a brief second. It was only brief because Jorge Martin went faster by almost nine tenths of a second, with an unreal advantage of well over a second in sector two, raising lots of eyebrows across pitlane when he crossed the finish line in pole. After an exceedingly long moment of confusion, it turned out that Martin had cut the corner at turn 8 and pole position went back to its rightful – if unlikely – owner, Pol Espargaro. The Spaniard takes his first pole position of the season after a tough start to his life with Honda, while Pecco Bagnaia missed out by two hundredths of a second.
Quartararo wasn’t even on the front row when the checkered flag came out but was promoted back to third once Martin’s time got cancelled and the Pramac rider will start fourth. Marc Marquez’s enthusiastic approach to track limits left him with no lap time posted after his first run but the Spaniard eventually climbed onto the second row of the grid, ahead of compatriot Aleix Espargaro.
Jack Miller in seventh place was half a second off pole and ahead of an impressive showing from Valentino Rossi in eighth. Johann Zarco ruled the roost in Q1 on his way to 9th on the grid, while the most recent victor at Silverstone, Alex Rins, leads Suzuki teammate Joan Mir on the fourth row, where they will be joined by Brad Binder.