The dramatic setting of MotorLand Aragon begged for an equally dramatic qualifying session, hinted at by how close times have been throughout practice. Q2 did not disappoint. Pecco Bagnaia gave us a small taster of what’s to come when he started the session at the front but he was quickly demoted by a rampant Fabio Quartararo, who immediately got within reach of the lap record to lead after the first run. The Frenchman’s time looked nearly unbeatable but then Bagnaia was on fire right out the gates on his second outing and posted an all-time lap record, putting four tenths of a second between himself and the championship leader. Quartararo got one last go at glory but could not match Bagnaia’s incredible lap time and instead proved to be an excellent marker for Jack Miller to follow, the Australian eventually demoting Quartararo another position to add a Ducati one-two to the team’s 50th premier class pole.
After a strong – if somewhat crash-happy – display in practice, Marc Marquez needed no reference to follow in qualifying and briefly stood on the front row, all of his own doing, until Miller’s late charge pushed him to fourth. The Honda man will have high hopes from a season-best qualifying, but the fire might not be that friendly from the men he shares second row with, Jorge Martin and Aleix Espargaro, the three Spaniards sharing some overly enthusiastic encounters over the last few races.
Joan Mir struggled to threaten the front two rows once again, the reigning world champion eight tenths off pole and down in 7th position, sharing third row with Pol Espargaro and an increasingly impressive Enea Bastianini, who honoured his first trip directly into Q2 with ninth place on the grid.
After leading the way in/out of Q1, Johann Zarco was somewhat underwhelming in 10th place, ahead of a pretty anonymous Takaaki Nakagami and fellow Q1 escapee, Brad Binder, the KTM man running out of fresh soft rubber for Q2. However, he coped better than teammate Miguel Oliveira, who finished Q1 towards the bottom of the timesheets and dropped to 18th on the grid. There was even worse news for Suzuki, with Alex Rins qualifying in the middle of the 7th row, in between former teammates Maverick Viñales and Valentino Rossi.