Valentino Rossi has broken a pole position dry spell stretching back nearly two seasons by taking pole position for his home race at Mugello. The result is his first time starting from the top spot since the Japanese Grand Prix in 2016, but came after a masterclass in riding from the nine-time world champion.
Setting the blistering lap (the fastest ever of the Mugello track) with time to spare in the session, he was left untouched at the top after a series of mistakes from championship leader Marc Marquez.
Speaking afterwards, he said: "It gave a great emotion, especially facing the crowd the lap after the pole was fantastic. It‘s great, because it‘s also a surprise. This year in qualifying I always suffered, but today the lap was great and I thought it would be enough for the front row, but in the end it was pole position. It‘s been a long time since I was on pole, so it‘s important and it's a great feeling. I think tomorrow will be more difficult, but for sure I‘m enjoying this moment."
Rossi will be joined on the front row by a stunning performance from Jorge Lorenzo on the Ducati and his teammate Maverick Viñales, perhaps heralding a return to better form for the Yamaha duo.
Andrea Iannone leads the second row from Danilo Petrucci and Marquez, with the Italians unable to capitalise on strong pace. Andrea Dovizioso start seventh ahead of Cal Crutchlow and Johann Zarco, with the Brit docked a lap that would have left him fifth for exceeding track limits. Alex Rins rounds out the top ten.