Monster Energy Factory Yamaha MotoGP rider Maverick Vinales’ late lap snatched what would’ve been a historical pole position from KTM and Pol Espargaro, as Marc Marquez and Valentino Rossi almost came together during their final flying laps in Misano.
Coming into qualifying it was Fabio Quartararo who was favourite to secure the pole and the Frenchman was the first man to sit on provisional pole after the first set of flying laps, with the fastest time of the weekend, this is despite a big moment into turn four.
Quartararo’s Petronas SRT Yamaha team-mate Franco Morbidelli sat in second with first Vinales and then Marquez sitting in third after the first runs.
Vinales came out on his second bike and went back ahead of Marquez, however he didn’t have the pace to challenge Quartararo’s time on his second bike. Vinales came in and jumped back onto his number one bike, fitted with a set of brand-new soft Michelin tyres.
Whilst starting his lap, it looked as if Quartararo was going to further move the goalposts, with three red sectors to his name, however a mistake in turn eleven saw the Frenchman abort his lap.
Behind Quartararo had been Espargaro and his KTM, strong through free practice, he had sat behind the Yamaha man and looked as if he was going to be towed around to a potential front row start, but what followed shocked everyone, including Espargaro himself.
Through the final sector on his own, Espargaro hooked his RC-16 up perfectly to get into a provisional pole position. Despite the elation in the KTM garage, it wouldn’t last, as Vinales completed his lap and smashed the final sector to secure pole position by 0.295 seconds.
Despite missing out on the pole, Espargaro did hang on for second place, securing the first front row for KTM in dry conditions, with Quartararo having to settle for third place.
Off the front row, on the final lap, there was a moment of drama as Marquez and Rossi almost came together in the final sector of their last flying laps. Marquez was following the Italian around, before making a move under the Italian down the back, lightning fast straights, before running wide, therefore cancelling his lap.
Rossi was still on his lap, however was sat behind the World Champion who was still going on his RC213V, until the Doctor then let his brakes off in turn eleven, almost driving into the side of Marquez. The Spaniard then squared the corner off, with the pair somehow avoiding each other. Neither were on hot – or valid – laps when the moment happened, however that will undoubtedly rumble on.
Franco Morbidelli was fourth place, with Marquez one spot further back in fifth. The recovering Andrea Dovizioso somehow salvaged sixth place, with Rossi one spot further back, leading the third row. Johann Zarco came through Q1 and will start from eighth on his KTM, with Silverstone winner Alex Rins rounding out the third row.
Joan Mir will start from tenth, with Taka Nakagami and Michele Pirro rounding out the top four rows in twelfth place.