Cal Crutchlow will start his home Grand Prix from pole position after another masterclass in wet conditions at Silverstone. The LCR Honda rider was a full second ahead of the rest of the field with Valentino Rossi qualifying second and Marc Marquez fifth after a dramatic crash.
The session began in wet conditions but with rain continuing to fall, the track was hardly improving as the bikes pounded round. As it turned out, Crutchlow set what proved to be the pole position time with seven minutes still remaining, clocking a 2:19.265 which put him three seconds clear of anyone else.
Marquez halved the deficit to go second with two minutes to go but within seconds of doing so, the championship leader was fired over the handlebars of his Honda RC213V at Copse. The Spaniard was unhurt but powerless to stop his rivals relegating him down the grid. Rossi was the first to do so, snatching second on a 2:20.263, while Maverick Vinales took the final front row slot in the dying seconds.
Dani Pedrosa left it late to grab fourth, knocking his teammate down to fifth, while Eugene Laverty emerged from Q1 to qualify sixth although a crash on his final lap denied him a shot at an unlikely pole position. Scott Redding starts seventh ahead of Andrea Iannone and Jorge Lorenzo whose wet-weather troubles continue while Andrea Dovizioso and Jack Miller start tenth and twelfth after crashes, either side of Aleix Espargaro.
The rain also levelled the playing field in Q1 with no fewer than eight different riders topping the timing screens at one stage or another. With Laverty and Miller progressing, Loris Baz will head the fifth row in thirteenth ahead of Danilo Petrucci who couldn’t replicate his heroics of twelve months ago. The Tech 3 Yamahas will start line astern in fifteenth and sixteenth and although he was outqualified by Pol Espargaro, Alex Lowes will be thrilled to finish just one place and 0.029s adrift of the Spaniard.
The Aprilias of Stefan Bradl and Alvaro Bautista will start 17th and 19th, sandwiching the disappointing Hector Barbera, while Yonny Hernandez and Tito Rabat round out the 21-bike grid.