Ducati’s Jorge Lorenzo reigned supreme on his rival’s home venue at Misano to take pole in San Marino GP from Pramac Ducati’s Jack Miller and Yamaha’s Maverick Vinales.
There was little drama in the first part of qualifying with two Honda riders making it through to Q2 at ease. Factory Honda rider Dani Pedrosa (1m32.389s) stayed in front all-through to be safely into Q2.
Suzuki’s Andrea Iannone (1m32.566s) had second place early on in the session but the Italian was pipped by Marc VDS Honda’s Franco Morbidelli (1m32.454s) who improved to second from fourth to get into the second part of qualifying.
Iannone had to settle for third and 13th for Sunday’s race with wildcard rider Michele Pirro (1m32.624s) behind him as he couldn’t improve on his final run after a crash. A Q2 regular in 2018, Angel Nieto Ducati’s Alvaro Bautista (1m32.792s) missed out this time to be 15th.
Behind him was Aleix Espargaro (1m33.084s) in the lead Aprilia, followed by the lead KTM of Bradley Smith (1m33.085s) in 17th. Another wildcard entrant, Honda’s Stefan Bradl (1m33.361s) finished 18th from LCR Honda’s Takaaki Nakagami (1m33.437s).
The returning Pol Espargaro (1m33.502s) did well abode his KTM to be 20th ahead of Aprilia’s Scott Redding (1m33.572s), Avintia Ducati’s Xavier Simeon (1m33.705s) and Marc VDS Honda’s Thomas Luthi (1m33.755s).
Simeon had a better run on Tito Rabat’s bike. Angel Nieto Ducati’s Karel Abraham (1m33.812s) finished 24th after a crash, followed by Tech 3 Yamaha’s Hafizh Syahrin (1m34.080s) and Avintia Ducati’s Christophe Ponsson (1m37.180s).
The fight for pole got interesting after a crash for Marquez on his second run having been beaten by Lorenzo who took provisional pole with a 1m31.763s lap time. The Spaniard fell in Turn 15 and quickly got up to rush back into the pits.
It took him just over two minutes to return to his pits and get back out on the second bike for his final run. In no time, Marquez started to go quicker on his first flying lap but couldn’t improve on it due to a poor second sector.
He couldn’t do it on the second lap either as Lorenzo improved further to take pole with a 1m31.629s lap time to break his own lap record from 2016. Pramac Ducati’s Miller (1m31.916s) surprised everyone with a second place finish.
The Australian managed to clear the two factory bikes as Vinales (1m31.950s) improved to third to demote Ducati’s Andrea Dovizioso (1m32.003s) to fourth and out of the front-row. Marquez (1m32.016s) eventually finished fifth after a mistake on his final lap.
LCR Honda’s Cal Crutchlow (1m32.025s) was sixth as the British rider crashed on his final attempt with Yamaha’s Valentino Rossi (1m32.028s) slotting in seventh from Pramac Ducati’s Danilo Petrucci (1m32.136s) and Tech 3 Yamaha’s Johann Zarco (1m32.250s).
It wasn’t the best running from Suzuki with Alex Rins (1m32.338s) only ninth but the Spaniard beat Pedrosa (1m32.369s) and Morbidelli – the latter not able to complete any lap in the session after his off moment late in Q1.