Photos by motogp.com
LCR Honda’s rider Cal Crutchlow smashed the previous pole lap record held by Ducati Corse’s Jorge Lorenzo at the newly-resurfaced Circuito de Jerez-Angel Nieto, via his Michelin-shodded Honda RC213V motorcyle.
The eccentric Briton has taken pole position for the first time since the 2016 British GP at Silverstone in some style as he topped the session on his first run, and then went even faster.
Fellow Honda rider Dani Pedrosa at Repsol Honda Team – the winner at Jerez in 2017, put in another stunner to take 2nd despite his ongoing recovery from a broken wrist sustained in Argentina, with Monster Yamaha Tech 3’s Johann Zarco in 3rd.
The surprise of the day had been reigning world champion Marc Marquez who lines up 5th. The Spaniard had made mistakes twice at the last sector despite having been faster than the rest for the first 3 sectors of the track in Q2.
It was a tense final shootout at the end of the session, and many eyes were on Marquez as the number 93 pushed and consistently lit up the first sectors red – and then just lost out before the line.
Unable to improve on his initial fast lap, the six-time World Champion was pushed off the front row and relegated to 5th as Lorenzo had lit it up to take 4th and head up Row 2 at the venue at which he took his first podium for Ducati.
It’s a big leap forward after a tough start to the season, with the five-time World Champion consistently the quickest Borgo Panigale machine for much of the weekend and only 0.013s off the front row.
Team Suzuki Ecstar’s Alex Rins and teammate Andrea Iannone, after topping FP4 in reverse order, line up 6th and 7th respectively – with the Hamamatsu factory a threat for the front throughout.
Rins, who is racing in his first Spanish GP in the premier class after missing the event in 2017 due to injury, was only 0.007 off Marquez and just 0.003 ahead of Iannone.
Championship leader Andrea Dovizioso lines up eighth after he was left heading through – and going fastest in – Q1, but the gap was small once again, with the Italian only 0.042 off his compatriot ahead of him. Fellow Italian on Borgo Panigale machinery Danilo Petrucci of Alma Pramac Racing completes the 3rd row.
It was a more difficult day for Movistar Yamaha MotoGP, however. Valentino Rossi will line up 10th after just edging out his teammate by 0.014, with Maverick Viñales therefore lining up P11. Viñales, along with Dovizioso, was a graduate of Q1.
Jack Miller lines up 12th ahead of Aprilia Racing’s Aleix Espargaro, who was just left behind in Q1 by 0.040 seconds, with some solid rookie performances from Takaaki Nakagami of LCR Honda Idemitsu and Marc VDS’ Franco Morbidelli completing the Top 15.