Just like rain did not bother the premier class qualifying session, it looked like no one would bother Fabio Quartararo at the top of the timesheets after the Frenchman broke the all time lap record only three laps into the session, with the first 1:31 time around the track. It seemed like rivals were left to fight for the crumbs from Fabio’s lunch but Maverick Viñales didn’t make a meal of it this time and promptly improved the record by another seven hundredths of a second, with a bonus save at turn 9. Try as he did, Quartararo could not answer his teammate and Viñales went from zero back to hero in the space of a week. Although the Ducatis seemed to struggle throughout the weekend, Pecco Bagnaia showed up when he needed to and after he escaped Q1, he went on to snatch the final spot on the front row.
The Italian’s late charge demoted Takaaki Nakagami to fourth, but the LCR man was still the lead Honda rider. Johann Zarco was the chosen target for anyone needing a tow in Q1 but the Frenchman’s snuck out at the last second and eventually secured fifth on the grid. Miguel Oliveira closes the second row for KTM, while the Suzukis, although quick in practice, could not really replicate that in qualifying. Alex Rins might have hoped for better than seventh, had he not crashed at turn 8 on his final flying lap and having to start from the third row of the grid, ahead of Jack Miller, whose eighth place doesn’t really look as bad as it could have. Aleix Espargaro completes the third row of the grid, while Joan Mir won’t be too happy with tenth, sharing fourth row with a pretty anonymous duo of Pol Espargaro and Valentino Rossi.
Even though he missed out on Q2 by six hundredths of a second, Iker Lecuona scored his best qualifying of the season, with a little help from Marc Marquez, whose game plan didn’t pan out this time around and a late crash at turn 9 left him 20th on the grid. Starting from his worst qualifying position in MotoGP and still limping from his crash, the odds seem stacked against the SachsenKing but he will be hoping to follow the example that Viñales set today, not the Viñales of a week ago.