Maverick Vinales set the stage for another gripping head-to-head battle with Valentino Rossi after beating his team-mate to pole position at Mugello. The championship leader saw off the home favourite by a quarter of a second with Rossi securing second when Danilo Petrucci had a lap cancelled which would have seen him split the Movistar Yamahas.
Cal Crutchlow had set the pace in Friday’s practice sessions but the times tumbled so much that the Briton fell all the way out of the top ten in FP3, forcing him to go through Q1. Despite his best efforts, the LCR Honda rider wouldn’t advance into the pole position shootout with Johann Zarco and Petrucci getting the better of him.
Despite his injury hit build-up, Rossi entered qualifying as the fastest rider ahead of Marc Marquez and Jorge Lorenzo but it was the two Spaniards that took centre stage early in Q1. Lorenzo wasted no time getting out on track, targeting a three-run strategy, while Marquez was intent on picking up a slipstream from the ultra-powerful Ducati. It seemed to work, as he took provisional pole on a 1:47.417.
The picture changed dramatically as the final runs began with Dani Pedrosa taking over at the top, setting a 1:47.221, only to be usurped by Alvaro Bautista who launched his Aspar Ducati onto provisional pole. The Yamahas soon restored order as Vinales broke into the 1:46s, half a second clear of Bautista, while Rossi’s 1:46.814 proved enough for second once Petrucci’s late flyer was deleted for exceeding track limits.
Andrea Dovizioso and Michele Pirro would ultimately lead the Ducati challenge, taking third and fourth respectively, while Pedrosa and Marquez rescued second-row starting spots for Honda after pipping Bautista late on. Lorenzo also edged ahead of the customer Ducati rider to take seventh with Petrucci relegated to ninth after losing his quickest lap.
Tito Rabat, the unlikely star of FP3, will start a career-high of tenth with Zarco lining up eleventh ahead of Aprilia’s Aleix Espargaro.
2017 Gran Premio d’Italia Oakley: Qualifying Result
|1||25. Maverick Vinales||Yamaha||Movistar Yamaha MotoGP||1:46.575||Q2|
|2||46. Valentino Rossi||Yamaha||Movistar Yamaha MotoGP||1:46.814||Q2|
|3||4. Andrea Dovizioso||Ducati||Ducati Team||1:46.835||Q2|
|4||51. Michele Pirro||Ducati||Ducati Team||1:46.878||Q2|
|5||26. Dani Pedrosa||Honda||Repsol Honda Team||1:46.999||Q2|
|6||93. Marc Marquez||Honda||Repsol Honda Team||1:47.050||Q2|
|7||99. Jorge Lorenzo||Ducati||Ducati Team||1:47.152||Q2|
|8||19. Alvaro Bautista||Ducati||Pull&Bear Aspar Team||1:47.167||Q2|
|9||9. Danilo Petrucci||Ducati||OCTO Pramac Racing||1:47.266||Q2|
|10||53. Tito Rabat||Honda||EG 0,0 Marc VDS||1:47.292||Q2|
|11||5. Johann Zarco||Yamaha||Monster Yamaha Tech 3||1:47.319||Q2|
|12||41. Aleix Espargaro||Aprilia||Aprilia Racing Team Gresini||1:47.475||Q2|
|13||35. Cal Crutchlow||Honda||LCR Honda||1:47.220||Q1|
|14||8. Hector Barbera||Ducati||Reale Avintia Racing||1:47.272||Q1|
|15||94. Jonas Folger||Yamaha||Monster Yamaha Tech 3||1:47.305||Q1|
|16||29. Andrea Iannone||Suzuki||Team Suzuki ECSTAR||1:47.625||Q1|
|17||76. Loris Baz||Ducati||Reale Avintia Racing||1:47.809||Q1|
|18||44. Pol Espargaro||KTM||Red Bull KTM Factory Racing||1:47.940||Q1|
|19||43. Jack Miller||Honda||EG 0,0 Marc VDS||1:47.961||Q1|
|20||45. Scott Redding||Ducati||OCTO Pramac Racing||1:47.975||Q1|
|21||17. Karel Abraham||Ducati||Pull&Bear Aspar Team||1:48.361||Q1|
|22||22. Sam Lowes||Aprilia||Aprilia Racing Team Gresini||1:48.416||Q1|
|23||38. Bradley Smith||KTM||Red Bull KTM Factory Racing||1:48.594||Q1|
|24||50. Sylvain Guintoli||Suzuki||Team Suzuki ECSTAR||1:48.892||Q1|