MotoGP: Lorenzo leaves it late to snatch pole

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Jorge Lorenzo has taken a stunning pole position for tomorrow’s Aragon Grand Prix, leaving it late in the session to set a stunning lap time that demoted teammate Andrea Dovizioso to second and reigning world champion Marc Marquez to third. Brit Cal Crutchlow managed yet another strong performance too, coming in fourth despite a crash in the session.

It was third place Marquez who came out the blocks quickest though, immediately clocking a 1:46.974 – the quickest lap of the weekend – on his first flying run, with Lorenzo 0.110 behind and Crutchlow on the provisional front row at that stage. But tactics soon came out to play on the final run, with Dovizioso marked by Marquez as the top two in the championship played cat and mouse. That led to both backing out of flying laps – and sending everything down to the wire.

On that final dash, it was Maverick Viñales leading a freight train of eight riders as Marquez clung onto the tailpipes of Dovi. The two were setting the timing screens alight but heading into Turn 12 the Honda rider slightly out-braked himself – losing a potential pole lap.

Meanwhile, despite having to manoeuvre past Alvaro Bautista at the same corner, Dovi went fastest by 0.065 to grab provisional pole. Teammate Lorenzo had other ideas, however, heading out slightly later than the rest of the field. Lorenzo put the hammer down and snatched pole by 0.014 – his fourth of the season and his fourth successive front row in Aragon.

That bumped Dovi to second and Marquez to third, with Crutchlow then unable to make good on a threat to take a front row after a crash at Turn 12 on his final flying lap ended his chances. Fifth on the grid went to Andrea Iannone, his best starting position since the Catalan GP, with Dani Pedrosa securing his best qualifying position since Jerez in sixth.

Danilo Petrucci will launch from seventh, with Bautista eighth, Alex Rins ninth and Jack Miller tenth. Q1 graduate and leading Yamaha rider Maverick Viñales had to settle for the 11th fastest lap, with Takaaki Nakagami going 12th after also coming through Q1.

Q1 made some other headlines, however. Viñales received a three-place penalty for an incident with Bradley Smith, with Franco Morbidelli penalised for the same but the Italian’s sanction a loss of six positions. The biggest of them all though was a tough session for Valentino Rossi as the nine-time World Champion failed to make the cut, set to start 17th after Morbidelli’s penalty has been applied.

Simon Patterson

By Simon Patterson

MotoGP and road racing reporter, photographer, videographer