When two people fight, the third one wins! Everyone expected a head-to-head between Andrea Dovizioso and Marc Marquez in the Misano qualifiers, but it was Maverick Viñales who stole the show, taking pole position on Saturday afternoon. The Spaniard turned a perfect lap, stopping the clock at 1’32”439: “I knew that I had the potential to achieve this result – he revealed – With the hard tyre I proved to be consistent. I just needed to ride the way I know how to, nothing more.”
And to think that Dovizioso (+0.162) had already tasted pole position, but in the final moments his ambitions went up in smoke. On his final attempt he had a go, but there was nothing he could do: “It was a strange day, with highs and lows – the number 4 rider began – In view of the race we are looking good. Among other things, I was able to be competitive with the tyres. Now all we can do is wait for tomorrow.”
The fact remains that this is the Italian’s best performance ever in Misano. On the other hand, it was a bittersweet afternoon for Marc Marquez (+0.197). The five-time world champion started strong immediately, stopping the clock at 1’32”636, which placed him in the lead. Then, just as Dovizioso had improved his performance, number 93 incredibly ended up in the gravel, ending his session early: “I was going rather well, and in the first outing I managed to be fast – the Honda rider recalled – I tried to take pole position with the medium tyre, but unfortunately I touched the white line and ended up on the ground. In any case, I am satisfied where race pace is concerned.” Things went decidedly worse for Dani Pedrosa (+0.553) who was unable to do better than the seventh best time a half a second behind the leader.
Opening up the second row it was Cal Crutchlow (+0.329), just 24 thousandths ahead of Jorge Lorenzo’s Ducati, struggling tremendously in the last sector of the track where he loses important tenths. Behind the GP17 was the team Tech3 M1 ridden by Johann Zarco (+0.446).
As for the other Ducati riders, Danilo Petrucci (+0.558) was eighth, followed by Aleix Espargaró’s Aprilia, whereas Bautista leads the trio completed by Pirro and Abraham. The Spaniard and the Czech from team Aspar managed to go through to Q2 after passing through Q1. The fastest rider in the first qualifying session however, was Jonas Folger, but the German’s time was cancelled because he went beyond the permitted circuit limits. No joy for Iannone who finished eleventh in Q1.