The grid is set. Despite only returning to riding on Thursday after breaking his leg in preseason training, Marquez showed he means business with a great charge on the #93 Repsol Honda machine to pole with a 1’54.507 lap. This marks his 10th MotoGP career pole, from 19 starts in the class.
GO&FUN Honda Gresini’s Bautista had provisional pole but eventually qualified second by a +0.057s margin with Smith also close to the top spot missing out by less than a tenth. This is Smith’s first ever premier class front row qualifying effort and a great recovery to his FP3 crash.
Another solid run for Ducati Team’s Andrea Dovizioso sees him head the second row, with Jorge Lorenzo (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) and Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda Team) managing fifth and sixth respectively having struggled for much of the weekend so far.
Stefan Bradl on the LCR Honda leads the third row with a time just 0.364s off the pace, with Cal Crutchlow (Ducati Team) improving to eighth.
A disastrous session for Aleix Espargaro (NGM Forward Racing) saw him qualify ninth, having walked away from two crashes, appearing to crack under the pressure of Q2. He had led the way earlier in the weekend and was furious with himself after both falls.
Valentino Rossi (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) starts in the unfamiliar territory of row four, ahead of Andrea Iannone (Pramac Racing) and Pol Espargaro (Monster Yamaha Tech3).