Viñales pole, remarkable Rossi on front row
Maverick Viñales has taken pole position for the Aragon Grand Prix as Valentino Rossi qualified third in a shock return from a broken leg.
Jorge Lorenzo (Ducati Team) split the two Movistar Yamahas on the front row, while a late crash consigned Marc Marquez to fifth.
Marquez had clocked the first lap in the 1:47s bracket of the weekend during his first run, but pushed too hard into Turn 12 during his second run and lost the front end of his Repsol Honda.
The defending MotoGP champion had been first placed and on track to go even faster at the time.
That opened the door for Viñales to take pole position, but only after Rossi had held top spot for a handful of seconds.
Rossi had not even been expected to ride in Aragon having broken his right leg in a motocross crash just 23 days earlier.
“I think we did a great job after the injury,” said the Italian.
“I have to thank all the guys that helped me, the doctor that made the surgery Raffaelle (Pascarella) was great, and after every day I work very hard with Carlo (Casabianca, trainer).
“The leg is coming better every day, and since I’ve been on the bike I feel some pain but I can ride quite comfortably.
“I am very happy; (it’s) very important to start from the front row.
“Now we have to try to understand the pace, try to understand also if I’m able to push to the end, but anyway I’m happy.”
Viñales, whose pole was his second straight and fifth of the season, reflected on the fact that he had qualified fastest on home soil for the first time.
“I’m really happy, the bike is working well, the team is working really good,” he said.
“(I’m) so happy to make my first pole in (a) Spanish grand prix; honestly the crowd, the fans are amazing, so I’m so pleased and happy for all of them.”
Row 2 will be Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda) and the Repsol Hondas of Marquez and Dani Pedrosa.
Andrea Dovizioso, second in the championship on a countback, will line up in seventh on his factory Ducati, next to Aleix Espargaro (Gresini Aprilia) and Alvaro Bautista (Aspar Ducati).
Andrea Iannone (Suzuki Ecstar), Johann Zarco (Tech 3 Yamaha), and Mika Kallio (Red Bull KTM), make up Row 4.
Kallio, a wildcard, was clearly faster than his full-time team-mates Pol Espargaro and Bradley Smith, who qualified 14th and 23rd respectively.
Jack Miller (Marc VDS Honda) fell just 0.009s short of passage to Q2 when he was pipped by Zarco in the first part of qualifying, and will start 13th.
Sunday’s 23-lap race starts at 2200 AEST.
Qualifying: Aragon Grand Prix
|1||25||Maverick VIÑALES||SPA||Movistar Yamaha MotoGP||Yamaha||1’47.635|
|2||99||Jorge LORENZO||SPA||Ducati Team||Ducati||1’47.735||0.100 / 0.100|
|3||46||Valentino ROSSI||ITA||Movistar Yamaha MotoGP||Yamaha||1’47.815||0.180 / 0.080|
|4||35||Cal CRUTCHLOW||GBR||LCR Honda||Honda||1’47.830||0.195 / 0.015|
|5||93||Marc MARQUEZ||SPA||Repsol Honda Team||Honda||1’47.963||0.328 / 0.133|
|6||26||Dani PEDROSA||SPA||Repsol Honda Team||Honda||1’48.107||0.472 / 0.144|
|7||04||Andrea DOVIZIOSO||ITA||Ducati Team||Ducati||1’48.137||0.502 / 0.030|
|8||41||Aleix ESPARGARO||SPA||Aprilia Racing Team Gresini||Aprilia||1’48.159||0.524 / 0.022|
|9||19||Alvaro BAUTISTA||SPA||Pull&Bear Aspar Team||Ducati||1’48.187||0.552 / 0.028|
|10||29||Andrea IANNONE||ITA||Team SUZUKI ECSTAR||Suzuki||1’48.289||0.654 / 0.102|
|11||5||Johann ZARCO||FRA||Monster Yamaha Tech 3||Yamaha||1’48.402||0.767 / 0.113|
|12||36||Mika KALLIO||FIN||Red Bull KTM Factory Racing||KTM||1’48.471||0.836 / 0.069|
|13||43||Jack MILLER||AUS||EG 0,0 Marc VDS||Honda||1’48.307||Q1 / Q1|
|14||44||Pol ESPARGARO||SPA||Red Bull KTM Factory Racing||KTM||1’48.387||Q1 / 0.080|
|15||17||Karel ABRAHAM||CZE||Pull&Bear Aspar Team||Ducati||1’48.467||Q1 / 0.080|
|16||9||Danilo PETRUCCI||ITA||OCTO Pramac Racing||Ducati||1’48.908||Q1 / 0.441|
|17||76||Loris BAZ||FRA||Reale Avintia Racing||Ducati||1’48.911||Q1 / 0.003|
|18||94||Jonas FOLGER||GER||Monster Yamaha Tech 3||Yamaha||1’49.034||Q1 / 0.123|
|19||8||Hector BARBERA||SPA||Reale Avintia Racing||Ducati||1’49.052||Q1 / 0.018|
|20||42||Alex RINS||SPA||Team SUZUKI ECSTAR||Suzuki||1’49.233||Q1 / 0.181|
|21||53||Tito RABAT||SPA||EG 0,0 Marc VDS||Honda||1’49.258||Q1 / 0.025|
|22||45||Scott REDDING||GBR||OCTO Pramac Racing||Ducati||1’49.288||Q1 / 0.030|
|23||38||Bradley SMITH||GBR||Red Bull KTM Factory Racing||KTM||1’49.578||Q1 / 0.290|
|24||22||Sam LOWES||GBR||Aprilia Racing Team Gresini||Aprilia||1’50.769||Q1 / 1.191|