Not even the boiling 58°C tarmac could prevent threats to the all-time lap record around the Barcelona-Catalunya circuit and it was the local boy who stole the show to secure a dream pole position on his favourite playground. His speed throughout practice made him the clear favourite for pole but Aleix Espargaro kindly allowed Fabio Quartararo and Pecco Bagnaia some time in the limelight, before retrieving top spot in the final minute of Q2 and improving his own lap record set in the morning session. Although the gap to Bagnaia was only three hundredths of a second, it was too much for the Italian to overcome and he had to admit defeat and settle for second on the grid. Quartararo had no response to the Spaniard’s speed either but will join his main rivals on the front row of the grid.
If the front row was a more diverse affair, Ducati machines locked out row two, with the purple-tinted threats of Johann Zarco and Jorge Martin sandwiching another excellent performance from Fabio Di Giannantonio, the rookie only three tenths off pole. Alex Rins saved the day for Suzuki with seventh position, opening third row ahead of Q1 leader Maverick Viñales. The Spaniard had to fight his way through a very competitive Q1 session and fully earned his third row start, ahead of Luca Marini. The first Honda could be found on fourth row, where Pol Espargaro led the way from Jack Miller and Takaaki Nakagami – the Japanese rider serving a surprise in Q1 to deny some other fast men a place in Q2.
The first of those men was Marco Bezzecchi, the fine rookie spending much of the session in the top two positions but eventually missing out by one hundredth of a second. An even bigger name to miss out was Enea Bastianini, the most prolific victor of the season being denied passage to Q2 by three hundredths of a second and stuck with a fifth row start. The KTMs came out to play – if only briefly – with both Brad Binder and Miguel Oliveira threatening the top positions halfway through Q1, before settling for 15th and 16th on the grid, just ahead of a perpetually struggling Joan Mir. A notable absence from qualifying was Alex Marquez, who needed a trip to the medical centre after a fast tumble at turn 14 in FP4.
|5||49||Fabio Di Giannantonio||Ducati||1:39.099||0.357||0.072|