Rossi snatches Spanish GP pole in Jerez

Valentino Rossi celebrates pole position for the Spanish Grand Prix

Valentino Rossi celebrates pole position for the Spanish Grand Prix

Valentino Rossi will start the Spanish Grand Prix from pole position following a last gasp effort in a thrilling qualifying session at Jerez.

Rossi usurped his Movistar Yamaha team-mate Jorge Lorenzo with a 1:38.736s effort in a fascinating conclusion to the session as Honda’s Marc Marquez just fell short of a third straight pole.

Lorenzo, who had topped three of the four free practice sessions, set the early pace before attempting a three-run strategy.

His second run, however, failed to yield a timed lap with the reigning world champion left unsatisfied with what he described as a ‘defective’ tyre.

Marquez instead sat atop the timesheets at the conclusion of the first runs from Lorenzo and Rossi.

Lorenzo became the first man to lap in the 1:38s in his third run, but his Italian team-mate bested him by just over a tenth of a second as the chequered flag appeared.

Marquez twice went faster to the third sector late on, threatening to spoil Rossi’s warm down lap celebrations, but couldn’t dislodge either of the factory Yamahas.

The pole marks Rossi’s first since last year’s Dutch Grand Prix nearly 10 months ago, breaking a 13-race drought.

“We worked a lot because last year we struggled too much during qualifying,” explained Rossi.

“This year with the Michelin (tyre) I feel better and I’ve already started twice on the front row but pole position is different.

“For sure tomorrow will be very, very hard with Lorenzo and Marquez but we are there, we can fight.”

Andrea Dovizioso heads up the second row from the Suzuki duo of Maverick Viñales and Aleix Espargaro.

Dani Pedrosa (Honda), Pol Espargaro (Tech 3 Yamaha), and Hector Barbera (Avintia Ducati) completed the third row.

LCR Honda’s Cal Crutchlow came through Q1 to round out the top 10, while Australia’s Jack Miller qualified 19th on his return from injury.

Sunday’s 27-lap race is scheduled to begin at 22:00 AEST.

Result: MotoGP Spanish Grand Prix Qualifying 

Position Rider Team Time Gap
1 Valentino Rossi Yamaha 1:38.736s
2 Jorge Lorenzo Yamaha 1:38.858s +0.122s
3 Marc Marquez Honda 1:38.891s +0.155s
4 Andrea Dovizioso Ducati 1:39.580s +0.844s
5 Maverick Vinales Suzuki 1:39.581s +0.845s
6 Aleix Espargaro Suzuki 1:39.588s +0.852s
7 Dani Pedrosa Honda 1:39.678s +0.942s
8 Pol Espargaro Tech3 Yamaha 1:39.720s +0.984s
9 Hector Barbera Avintia Ducati 1:39.742s +1.006s
10 Cal Crutchlow LCR Honda 1:39.881s +1.145s
11 Andrea Iannone Ducati 1:40.054s +1.318s
12 Loris Baz Avintia Ducati 1:40.184s +1.448s
13 Alvaro Bautista Aprilia 1:40.239s +1.503s
14 Bradley Smith Tech3 Yamaha 1:40.242s +1.506s
15 Eugene Laverty Aspar Ducati 1:40.292s +1.556s
16 Yonny Hernandez Aspar Ducati 1:40.335s +1.599s
17 Scott Redding Pramac Ducati 1:40.595s +1.859s
18 Stefan Bradl Aprilia 1:40.835s +2.099s
19 Jack Miller Marc VDS Honda 1:40.968s +2.232s
20 Michele Pirro Pramac Ducati 1:40.985s +2.249s
21 Tito Rabat Marc VDS Honda 1:41.039s +2.303s

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