MotoGP: Viñales in control as Marquez crashes out

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Maverick Viñales took control of today’s MotoGP qualifying for the San Marino Grand Prix with a dominant pole position, sharing the front row for tomorrow’s race at Misano with championship rivals Andrea Dovizioso and Marc Marquez despite ending the day 0.162 ahead of Dovi.

It looked like it would be the quadruple race winner who would end the day on top at home until a late lap from Viñales demoted the Ducati rider to second, while Marquez’s hopes at improving on third were dashed by a crash late in the session.

But while the pole position might put him in good stead for tomorrow’s race, he says tomorrow’s race won’t be as straightforward as just riding away from the opposition.

“The qualifying went really well. I was feeling great on the bike, the team did a really good job! Yesterday and especially this afternoon we modified the bike a little bit and I was feeling better, so for tomorrow the strategy will be to try and stay consistent, keep the tyres on a good temperature - it‘s important not to have cold tyres, especially on the first laps.

“I‘m going to start from first and try to ride at my own pace. I‘m happy with how things are going and let‘s see what will happen tomorrow. I‘m confident that we can do a great race. For sure there are many riders who can be contenders. For tomorrow, we will have to try to make another step, if we want to win this race.”

Cal Crutchlow was an impressive fourth despite the damaged finger he underwent surgery for this week, ahead of Jorge Lorenzo and Johann Zarco, while the third row was rounded out by Dani Pedrosa, Danilo Petrucci, Aleix Espargaró.

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Simon Patterson

By Simon Patterson

MotoGP and road racing reporter, photographer, videographer