The premier class went into battle for precious Q2 positions under a spotless blue sky, after putting the soft-medium tyre combination through its paces. Although the likes of Aleix Espargaro and Franco Morbidelli held top spot in the early stages, Pecco Bagnaia’s FP2 time was not at threat until the final time attack. Trying to avoid a last-minute yellow flag disaster, many riders anticipated the shoot-out and started their charge with 20 minutes left of the session. Fabio Quartararo looked like he would continue his great run in Jerez, had it not been for Takaaki Nakagami’s first and only 1:36 time of the session, posted in the final couple of minutes. The LCR Honda man went unchallenged to the checkered flag, with Quartararo two hundredths of a second slower. An impressive Stefan Bradl placed a second Honda in the top three, only half a tenth behind his leading colleague, while reigning world champion Joan Mir finally managed to skip Q1, although he left it late in the session to show his speed.
Aleix Espargaro dropped to fifth position, ahead of the Yamaha duo of Maverick Viñales and Morbidelli, who posted identical times that were within a tenth of a second of the leader. Pecco Bagnaia’s FP2 time served him well for most of the session, but the Italian eventually found himself out of the top ten and had to rely on his final flying lap to rejoin in eighth place, ahead of Ducati colleague Johann Zarco. Alex Rins snatched the final Q2 ticket, leaving Jack Miller out in the cold by only a hundredth of a second and despite being only two tenths off the lead.
Marc Marquez spent most of the session safely inside the top positions, but the Jerez curse struck once more in the final couple of minutes of the session, when the Honda man hit the airfence at turn 7 at considerable speed. As he wobbled away to the familiar medical centre for a precautionary check after the first crash since his comeback, his name dropped to 12th on the timesheets and into Q1, where he will also be joined by another of the crashers in FP3. Brad Binder suffered an unusual fall going into turn 5 early on and could not go quicker than 13th on his second machine, although the KTM man was less than four tenths off top spot.
UPDATE: Franco Morbidelli's fastest time got cancelled after the session and he got relgated to 11th place on the combined timesheets, joining the Q1 line-up and promoting Miller into the top 10.