Aragon MotoGP: Lorenzo beats Dovizioso to pole, Rossi 18th

Jorge Lorenzo took his fourth pole of the 2018 MotoGP season at Aragon, edging out Ducati teammate Andrea Dovizioso by 0.014s, while Valentino Rossi toiled to 18th on the grid.

Aragon MotoGP: Lorenzo beats Dovizioso to pole, Rossi 18th

Lorenzo and Dovizioso both set their fastest times on their last runs, when almost the entire Q2 field bunched together in one long train as multiple riders cruised for tows.

Honda’s Marc Marquez had set the pace up to that point, concluding the opening runs with a best time of 1m46.960s to put himself just over a tenth clear of Lorenzo.

But Marquez was one of those to lose out in the final shuffle as he didn’t improve after a small mistake at Turn 12, slipping to third as first Dovizioso and then Lorenzo profited from the slipstream to go quicker.

In the end, Lorenzo’s 1m46.881s narrowly gave him a third straight pole over Dovizioso, with Marquez still only 0.065s down in third.

Cal Crutchlow managed to hang on to fourth despite crashing his LCR Honda at Turn 12 in the closing stages, and will lead Suzuki’s Andrea Iannone and the second works Honda of Dani Pedrosa on the second row on Sunday.

Danilo Petrucci (Pramac Ducati) was seventh ahead of Alvaro Bautista (Nieto Ducati), Alex Rins (Suzuki) and Jack Miller (Pramac), who was not part of the main group of riders.

The top two from Q1, Maverick Vinales (Yamaha) and Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda) completed the Q2 order, with Vinales seemingly abandoning his final lap.

Q1: Vinales fastest, Rossi eliminated

While Vinales managed to escape Q1 by topping the session, his Yamaha teammate Rossi was only eighth-fastest, marking his worst qualifying performance since the 2006 Dutch TT.

The Italian was only fifth-fastest on the opening runs, half a second slower than Vinales, and then in the closing minutes of the sessions he coasted around looking for clear space on-track and simply ran out of time to post a hot lap.

It means he starts 18th, his lowest grid slot since he was sent to the back of the grid for the 2015 title decider at Valencia.

Nakagami managed to go second-quickest behind Vinales, ousting Honda rookie Franco Morbidelli (Marc VDS) from a spot in Q2.

The Italian will therefore head up the fifth row on Sunday ahead of Johann Zarco’s Tech 3 Yamaha and the lead Aprilia of Aleix Espargaro.

Bradley Smith, KTM’s sole runner again after Pol Espargaro’s practice crash on Saturday morning, starts 16th after being held up by traffic on his final hot lap ahead of Karel Abraham’s Nieto Ducati and Rossi’s Yamaha.

Jordi Torres brought up the rear in Q1 and will make his MotoGP debut starting 23rd on his Avintia Ducati.

Q2 results:

Pos. # Rider Bike Time Gap
1 99 Spain Jorge Lorenzo Ducati 1'46.881  
2 4 Italy Andrea Dovizioso Ducati 1'46.895 0.014
3 93 Spain Marc Marquez Honda 1'46.960 0.079
4 35 United Kingdom Cal Crutchlow Honda 1'47.146 0.265
5 29 Italy Andrea Iannone Suzuki 1'47.169 0.288
6 26 Spain Dani Pedrosa Honda 1'47.224 0.343
7 9 Italy Danilo Petrucci Ducati 1'47.351 0.470
8 19 Spain Alvaro Bautista Ducati 1'47.678 0.797
9 42 Spain Alex Rins Suzuki 1'47.737 0.856
10 43 Australia Jack Miller Ducati 1'47.792 0.911
11 25 Spain Maverick Viñales Yamaha 1'47.810 0.929
12 30 Japan Takaaki Nakagami Honda 1'48.284 1.403

Q1 results:

Pos. # Rider Bike Time Gap
Q2 25 Spain Maverick Viñales Yamaha 1'47.823  
Q2 30 Japan Takaaki Nakagami Honda 1'47.946 0.123
13 21 Italy Franco Morbidelli Honda 1'48.009 0.186
14 5 France Johann Zarco Yamaha 1'48.052 0.229
15 41 Spain Aleix Espargaro Aprilia 1'48.181 0.358
16 38 United Kingdom Bradley Smith KTM 1'48.216 0.393
17 17 Czech Republic Karel Abraham Ducati 1'48.398 0.575
18 46 Italy Valentino Rossi Yamaha 1'48.627 0.804
19 55 Malaysia Hafizh Syahrin Yamaha 1'48.975 1.152
20 12 Switzerland Thomas Luthi Honda 1'48.988 1.165
21 45 United Kingdom Scott Redding Aprilia 1'49.303 1.480
22 10 Belgium Xavier Simeon Ducati 1'49.699 1.876
23 81 Spain Jordi Torres Ducati 1'50.336 2.513
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