Jorge Lorenzo led a Ducati 1-2 in qualifying for the Aragon Grand Prix after a frantic finish which saw Marc Marquez denied pole position. Ducati have won every Grand Prix since the summer break, excluding the cancelled race at Silverstone, and the Bologna squad look well placed to extend that run with Lorenzo on pole ahead of Andrea Dovizioso.
The afternoon began with all eyes on Movistar Yamaha and their season hit a new low with Valentino Rossi unable to reach Q2, leaving him in his worst qualifying position for twelve years in 18th spot. Maverick Vinales did at least save some face for the team by topping Q1 ahead of Takaaki Nakagami but the Spaniard could do no better than eleventh once he reached the pole position shootout.
Marquez had finished quickest in the combined practice standings but a high-speed crash in FP4 disrupted his preparation for the Grand Prix. It didn’t seem to affect his confidence though, as he proved with a 1:46.974 lap on his very first attempt in Q2, a lap time he would improve upon shortly afterwards.
After the riders retreated to the pits for a change of tyres, the second runs began but no-one seemed motivated to go for a timed lap straight away, instead focussing on finding a slipstream for the all-important final effort. With seconds remaining, the twelve riders finally pulled the pin with virtually the entire field circulating together.
Despite the traffic, Marquez was still setting red sectors early in the lap but the world champion always appeared close to the limit, and an error at turn 12 put paid to any hopes of improving his time. This left the Honda rider exposed to the two Ducatis and they duly punished him with Dovizioso setting a 1:46.895, only for his team-mate Lorenzo to edge him out by 0.014s.
Cal Crutchlow suffered a crash of his own at turn 12 in the dying seconds but still maintained fourth while Andrea Iannone and Dani Pedrosa complete the second row. Danilo Petrucci heads row three ahead of Alvaro Bautista and Alex Rins while Jack Miller rounds out the top ten.
2018 Gran Premio Movistar de Aragon (Qualifying)
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