Marc Marquez set the fastest ever MotoGP lap of Aragon to snatch pole position from under the nose of Jorge Lorenzo. The championship leader headed into the session as favourite but Lorenzo pushed him all the way, missing out by just a hundredth of a second in a frantic finale.
Lorenzo signalled his intent right from the get-go by dashing out of the pitlane before anyone else, keen to make use of a clear track. With no traffic to worry about, the world champion clocked a 1:48.241 to lead teammate Valentino Rossi but on the second flying laps, the pendulum swung back towards Honda as Stefan Bradl edged ahead of Lorenzo, only to be beaten himself by Dani Pedrosa. Marquez’s first competitive lap was only good enough for second, a tenth shy of his teammate.
The revelation of qualifying was proving to be Valentino Rossi with the Italian jumping up to second on a 1:48.032. ‘The Doctor’ improved again to break into the 1:47s but a trio of Spaniards had all trumped him. Lorenzo was the first to cross the line with a 1:47.814 to regain provisional pole but a small mistake at turn one proved crucial as Marquez pipped him by 0.010s.
Pedrosa’s failure to improve on his second run saw him demoted to third with Rossi knocked off the front row to fourth, leading the satellite Hondas of Stefan Bradl and Alvaro Bautista. The Tech 3 Yamahas of Cal Crutchlow and Bradley Smith will start together on row three having qualified seventh and eighth respectively, the younger Briton having breezed through the first qualifying session to reach Q2.
Andrea Dovizioso is the leading Ducati on the grid in ninth with Aleix Espargaro separating him from Nicky Hayden and Andrea Iannone. Iannone was another who needed to earn his Q2 place in the first session and after fending off the challenge of his new Pramac teammate Yonny Hernandez, the Italian proved successful.