Petronas Yamaha’s Fabio Quartararo has stunned the MotoGP paddock with his maiden pole position at Jerez and it was a double celebration for the Malaysia-based squad as team-mate Franco Morbidelli is next to him on the front row.
Quartararo is now the youngest-ever pole position man, taking over from reigning champion Marc Marquez, and it was Marquez who he deposed from top spot on the timesheets in only his fourth-ever race in the premier class.
It was the Repsol Honda duo of Marquez and Jorge Lorenzo who were the first out and it was Marquez who wasted little time in putting himself in the familiar position of pole position.
It was clear that Marquez was planning on stopping twice and having three cracks at the pole position. Marquez’ initial time of a 1:36.970 ended up being his fastest time of the session.
Quartararo built up to his fastest time and continuing on from the morning session, on his second run of the afternoon, the young Frenchman eventually went top with a 1:36.880, the time which would eventually be good enough for his maiden pole position in the MotoGP class.
Behind the Frenchman, it was double delight for the Petronas SRT Yamaha team, when Morbidelli jumped into second position. The Italian found himself behind Maverick Vinales on track and used the factory man as a marker to post his fastest lap, just 0.082 seconds behind his team-mate.
Marquez had to settle for third, with his final run on his third soft tyre, almost ruined with a typically huge Marquez moment at turn five.
Andrea Dovizioso will be happy to start from fourth, just ahead of Maverick Vinales who will be hoping that he can sort his starts out ahead of tomorrow. Cal Crutchlow brushed off his morning crash to round out the second row, less than three tents off of Quartararo’s pole time.
Free practice fast man Danilo Petrucci could only manage seventh, and his disappointment was compounded by a late spill at turn one. Taka Nakagami will start from eighth with Austin winner Alex Rins in ninth.
Pecco Bagnaia will head the fourth row, just ahead of Jorge Lorenzo, whose 32nd birthday was made worse with a low side, which he walked away from. Joan Mir rounded out the top twelve.
Valentino Rossi will start from thirteenth, having been bumped out of the top two spots by Bagnaia in the closing seconds of Q1.