MotoGP World Championship leader Marc Marquez left it late to snatch pole position from Fabio Quartararo after a stunning final lap which saw him smash the outright lap record in Mugello.
The Repsol Honda man looked unsettled from the off in qualifying and after having his opening run ruined by traffic and erratic riding of his own, Marquez’ back was firmly against the wall, but that’s when the World Champion does his best work.
Sat down in a provisional seventh place, Marquez found himself half a second behind Andrea Dovizioso, with the factory Ducati man as the perfect reference point. A quarter of a second up through the first half of the lap, Marquez found himself behind the GP19 of Dovi and coming out of the final corer Marquez managed to get his RC213V perfectly in the slipstream of Dovizioso to break Danilo Petrucci’s newly set lap record with a 1:45.519 to take the 56 MotoGP pole position of his career.
For much of the session it looked as if the story was going to be that of Quartararo. The Frenchman broke Petrucci’s record first by being the first man ever to go into the 1:45’s around Mugello, before going faster on the next lap.
With red sectors under his name through the first three sectors, Quartararo ended up improving on his own lap at his final time of asking, only to see Marquez’ wonder lap prevent him from taking his second pole position in the last three races, ending just over two tenths of a second behind the Spaniard.
Petrucci will join Marquez and Quartararo on the front row after point a 45 of his own late in the session, as he hopes to maximise the potential of his Ducati around his home circuit.
Franco Morbidelli makes it two satellite Yamaha’s in the top four as he heads the second row with a 1:45.959, just ahead of the Pramac Ducati of Jack Miller, with Cal Crutchlow rounding out the second row on his LCR Honda.
Maverick Vinales will lead off the third row and the Spaniard will be joined on the third row by the Italian duo of Pecco Bagnaia and Andrea Dovizioso who qualified their Ducati’s in eighth and ninth respectively.
Taka Nakagami qualified in tenth position with top KTM man Pol Espargaro and Michelle Pirro rounding out the fourth row.
It was a qualifying session to forget for Alex Rins and Valentino Rossi. The Spaniard will start from thirteenth and the Italian from eighteenth after cruising in the closing stages of Q1 prevented them from getting final flying laps in.