Maverick Vinales slaughtered the field to claim a second pole position in three races at the San Marino Grand Prix.
Vinales fired in a new track record at the Misano circuit to lead a Yamaha one-two-three-four in qualifying, with Franco Morbidelli beating Petronas Yamaha SRT team-mate and championship leader Fabio Quartararo to second.
Vinales’ Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP team-mate Valentino Rossi, who topped Free Practice 3 on Saturday morning, wound up fourth, 0.466s off a first pole in two years.
Rossi set the initial pace in Q2 with a 1:31.877s before Quartararo fired to the top with a 1:31.791s, but it was Vinales who shot to provisional pole by just 0.004s after the first runs.
With the chequered flag waving, Morbidelli rose to the top with a 1:31.723s and firmed for a maiden premier class pole, before Vinales blew them all away with a whopping effort to put 0.312s between himself and his closest rival.
Quartararo, who was fastest ahead of Vinales in Free Practice 4 just prior to qualifying, was frustrated to miss out on a third pole of the season, yet managed to retain a front row start despite failing to improve on his final flying lap.
Q2 began in high drama for Pol Espargaro, who dumped his factory KTM into the gravel trap at Turn 15 with little more than 11 minutes remaining.
Espargaro, after a frustrating practice effort, had to progress from Q2 to make the fight for pole, and was joined in the final stanza by last-start winner Miguel Oliveira. However, both missed the top 10.
Pramac Racing’s Jack Miller was fifth ahead of team-mate Francesco Bagnaia, with Team Suzuki Ecstar team-mates Alex Rins and Joan Mir joined on the third row by Ducati’s Andrea Dovizioso.
Johann Zarco (Avintia), Espargaro and Oliveira will launch from the third row for Sunday’s race.
Sunday’s 27-lap race will commence at 22:00 AEST following the 20-minute warm-up session at 17:20.
Result: San Marino MotoGP, Qualifying
|1||12||Maverick Viñales||Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP||1:31.411|
|2||21||Franco Morbidelli||Petronas Yamaha SRT||1:31.723|
|3||20||Fabio Quartararo||Petronas Yamaha SRT||1:31.791|
|4||46||Valentino Rossi||Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP||1:31.877|
|5||43||Jack Miller||Pramac Racing||1:32.052|
|6||63||Francesco Bagnaia||Pramac Racing||1:32.054|
|7||42||Alex Rins||Team SUZUKI ECSTAR||1:32.090|
|8||36||Joan Mir||Team SUZUKI ECSTAR||1:32.102|
|9||4||Andrea Dovizioso||Ducati Team||1:32.184|
|10||5||Johann Zarco||Esponsorama Racing||1:32.218|
|11||44||Pol Espargaro||Red Bull KTM Factory Racing||1:32.266|
|12||88||Miguel Oliveira||Red Bull KTM Tech 3||1:32.323|
|13||44||Pol Espargaro||Red Bull KTM Factory Racing||1:32.064|
|14||88||Miguel Oliveira||Red Bull KTM Tech 3||1:32.212|
|15||41||Aleix Espargaro||Aprilia Racing Team Gresini||1:32.295|
|16||30||Takaaki Nakagami||LCR Honda IDEMITSU||1:32.382|
|17||9||Danilo Petrucci||Ducati Team||1:32.418|
|18||33||Brad Binder||Red Bull KTM Factory Racing||1:32.534|
|19||53||Tito Rabat||Esponsorama Racing||1:32.791|
|20||27||Iker Lecuona||Red Bull KTM Tech 3||1:32.838|
|21||6||Stefan Bradl||Repsol Honda Team||1:32.915|
|22||38||Bradley Smith||Aprilia Racing Team Gresini||1:33.166|
|23||73||Alex Marquez||Repsol Honda Team||1:33.333|
|24||35||Cal Crutchlow||LCR Honda CASTROL|