After a miserable set of practice sessions in Portugal, the large silver clouds held back enough to allow for some rays of sunshine to touch the track but that provided an even more daunting prospect ahead of qualifying, with a drying track causing a fair share of drama in Q1 and leaving the top men in the championship looking quite shabby. With conditions more settled at the start of Q2, slick tyres were a less controversial choice and riders were steading building up towards a last lap showdown. Quite predictably, the last rider to take the chequered flag was the one to steal pole, Johann Zarco timing it just right to gift Pramac Racing their third pole position of the season. The Frenchman demoted Joan Mir to second but the Suzuki man still celebrated his best qualifying result in the premier class and looks pretty keen to break the win-from-pole trend at the Algarve circuit. Aleix Espargaro was also in the right place at the right time (and with the right speed, of course) to make a return to the front row, only three hundredths of a second off pole.
Jack Miller looked good in the changing conditions but couldn’t quite threaten pole on a fully dry track and had to settle for fourth, opening the second row ahead of Fabio Quartararo and remarkable rookie Marco Bezzecchi, who posted identical times – after the world champion got his top time cancelled for a yellow flags issue. Despite the star-studded Q1 session, the drama of the mixed conditions saw the rather unlikely duo of Alex Marquez and Luca Marini mastering the slicks at the right time and the two went on to climb onto the third row of the grid, around a second off pole. Marc Marquez waited for the right time to pounce but found himself in the wrong place at the wrong time, his pole-worthy lap cancelled due to late yellow flags caused by teammate Pol Espargaro. That dropped the elder Marquez to ninth, while the younger Espargaro closes the top ten and shares fourth row with the rather anonymous KTM duo of Miguel Oliveira and Brad Binder.
Now to the tale of Q1, where despite early gambles on slick tyres ending in the gravel trap, Pecco Bagnaia still hoped to avoid that faith and the experiment promptly ended on a puddle at turn three, before the Italian even set a time. To make matters worse, the Ducati man needed some attention from the medics after landing quite heavily on his shoulder and will be hoping to pull a Marquez from last on the grid. Although championship leader Enea Bastianini managed to put a few times on the board before going for slicks, he suffered a similar faith on his final flying lap and got stuck with 18th grid position. While Alex Rins avoided anything too dramatic on track, 23rd on the grid was pretty dramatic on the timesheets, starting one row ahead of Bagnaia.
|15||49||Fabio Di Giannantonio||Ducati||1:49.639||3.323||0.307|