Alex Rins comfortably beat Maverick Vinales to pole position in terms of lap time at Jerez although his route to top spot was far from straightforward. The championship leader was almost half a second clear of his compatriot but a crash midway through the session gave him and the Estrella Galicia squad a nervous time.
Rins had already set a 1:46.845 to claim provisional pole but he was next seen crashing at turn one, tumbling to the ground after trying in vain to correct a mistake. Matters were made worse when teammate Alex Marquez hit the deck but Rins restored some calm to his mechanics once his KTM had been repaired, improving to a 1:46.660.
Vinales couldn’t join him in the 1:46s but still held off Luis Salom for second with the Qatar GP winner unable to do better than a 1:47.327, keeping him back in third. Brad Binder qualified a career best fourth on Ambrogio Racing’s Suter Honda with Jack Miller and Niccolo Antonelli also impressing to complete row two on a circuit much more suited to the FTRs.
Jonas Folger was among the underperformers in seventh having set the second quickest time through the three practice sessions and the German will have the feisty Niklas Ajo for company on the third row. Jakub Kornfeil lines up next in ninth despite missing Friday’s action to sit a school exam with Efren Vazquez rounding out the top ten.
Danny Webb and John McPhee qualified twelfth and seventeenth respectively while Grand Prix debutant Livio Loi took 21st for Marc VDS, one place ahead of Marquez was wasn’t as lucky as his teammate in getting back on track after crashing.