New day, new challenges, the decision to switch back to the F1 layout used in the race last year leaving the MotoGP class with only one session to set a time worthy of Q2. The change saw quite a rush of cancelled lap times before the final rush for a fast time.
The minor change still left the Hondas in charge of proceedings, Marc Marquez starting his morning in trademark style, by elegantly sliding out while topping the timesheets. After failing to restart and going back out on his second bike, the world champion picked up where he left it to recover top position.
Dani Pedrosa made it a Honda one-two, the veteran rider a tenth down on his teammate. Alvaro Bautista had followed Marquez’s example and tipping over in the same corner almost at the same time but the small incident only served to motivate him more, the Spaniard briefly leading the session before dropping down to third, two tenths down on Marquez.
Home boy Aleix Espargaro had a brilliant morning for Aprilia, the Spaniard snatching fourth after leading the session on two occasions and being fastest in two sectors around the track. He also completed an all-Spanish top four.
Andrea Dovizioso looked in danger with two minutes to go, down in seventeenth, but the Italian’s penultimate lap bumped him into fifth place and pushed Maverick Viñales out of the top ten. The Mugello victor was followed by his teammate, Jorge Lorenzo only eight thousandths of a second behind.
Places seven to ten were all within a tenth of a second, Andrea Iannone placing Suzuki in seventh spot, in front of the Pramac duo of Scott Redding and a gesticulating Danilo Petrucci. The final Q2 ticket went to Hector Barbera.
If you noticed a particular lack of Yamahas in the story up to this point, don’t worry, I did not forget them, it’s just that there aren’t any. The top Yamaha proved to be Jonas Folger in eleventh place, in front of Cal Crutchlow.
After struggling on Friday, Viñales looked to have found some speed early in the session to almost challenge Marquez but after a save at turn fourteen and some other slight moments along the way, he failed to improve further as the final rush of laps started. His teammate never even looked like putting up a fight for Q2, Valentino Rossi only jumping from eighteenth to fifteenth on his final fast run.
The disappointing weekend for Johann Zarco continued, with the Frenchman flipping over at great speed in turn nine mid-session. Shook but not defeated, he went back out but failed to improve and finished sixteenth, a second down on the leader and with a set of reputable rivals waiting in Q1.