The MotoGP qualifying session for the sixth round of the 2019 World Championship at Mugello, the Italian Grand Prix, got underway in near-perfect conditions, with the sun having baked the track all day.
In Q1, it was Andrea Dovizioso (Mission Winnow Ducati) and wildcard Michele Pirro (Mission Winnow Ducati) who advanced to the Q2 pole position shootout, taking the edge off the disappointment of the majority of the crowd, whose chosen favourite Valentino Rossi (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) could manage only eighth in Q1, meaning he will start his home race from eighteenth.
Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) spent most of his second Q2 run negotiating track position with Andrea Dovizioso (Mission Winnow Ducati). Eventually, for his final lap, Marquez achieved the perfect distance from the back of the #04, got some tow down the straight to start the lap, a perfect marker ahead of him through the lap, and a strong tow down the straight to finish the lap as well. He took pole with a stunning 1’45.519, taking seven tenths from Rossi’s lap record from last year. This pole also moves him one clear of Rossi in the all-time premier class poles list.
Fabio Quartararo (Petronas Yamaha SRT) impressed once more, as he became the first rider to break the 1’46 barrier in Mugello on a MotoGP bike. He did three laps in the 1’45s, but the power deficit of his Yamaha compared to the Honda of Marquez cost him pole position.
Danilo Petrucci (Mission Winnow Ducati) identified himself as the biggest hope for the Italian crowd on Sunday as he qualified third, living up to the expectations that had been amassing over the course of what has been a difficult, but strong weekend for the #9.
Franco Morbidelli (Petronas Yamaha SRT) had a place on the front row until Marquez fired his pole lap in, but will start from a strong fourth place, meaning that once more both Petronas SRT Yamahas have out-qualified both factory M1s. Jack Miller (Pramac Racing) and Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda CASTROL) join the Italian on row two.
Maverick Vinales (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) heads up row three, from Francesco Bagnaia (Pramac Racing) and the struggling Andrea Dovizioso; whilst Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda IDEMITSU) impressively put the 2018 Honda in tenth place, ahead of Pol Espargaro (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) and Michele Pirro.
Alex Rins (Team Suzuki Ecstar) once again left himself with a tough job for Sunday as he qualified thirteenth, ahead of Tito Rabat (Reale Avintia Racing) and Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini); whilst Karel Abraham (Reale Avintia Racing) heads up row six from the struggling multiple World Champions, Jorge Lorenzo (Repsol Honda Team) and Valentino Rossi. Row seven consists of Johann Zarco (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) – who might have improved on his final lap before a crash at Corentaio ended his chances – Joan Mir (Team Suzuki Ecstar) and Hafizh Syahrin (Red Bull KTM Tech3). Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM Tech3) and Andrea Iannone (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini) complete the grid.
Featured image courtesy of Box Repsol