MotoGP Raceweek: Vinales denies Espargaro maiden pole as Marquez and Rossi clash

By Sports Desk September 14, 2019

Maverick Vinales claimed his first pole since the opening round in Qatar, producing a superb late lap to deny Pol Espargaro in San Marino as Marc Marquez and Valentino Rossi were involved an incident that saw both men summoned to the stewards.

Espargaro had looked set to claim his maiden MotoGP pole and the first for KTM as he moved to the top of the timesheets with a lap of 1:32.560.

However, KTM saw a piece of history snatched away from them at Misano, where Vinales went 0.295 seconds quicker to take the top slot on the grid.

The Monster Energy Yamaha rider will now hope for a better result than he enjoyed in the season opener in Qatar. Vinales was left to settle for a seventh-place finish on that occasion despite starting at the front.

Qualifying specialist Fabio Quartararo completed the front row of the grid for Petronas Yamaha, with runaway championship leader Marc Marquez only able to claim fifth behind Franco Morbidelli after a tempestuous duel with Rossi.

Marquez was involved in a crash in the fourth practice session but appeared well positioned to challenge for the top three on his final flying lap.

However, he and Rossi traded overtaking moves before the Italian pushed the Spaniard wide at turn 14, the two riders coming close to making contact.

The near-collision hindered each rider's lap, with Marquez gesturing angrily at the seven-time premier class champion after being condemned to the second row.

It was later confirmed the pair would be required to attend a hearing with the stewards panel regarding the incident. 

Rossi qualified seventh behind Andrea Dovizioso, who is Marquez's closest challenger in the championship, the Ducati rider trailing the Repsol Honda star by 78 points with a maximum of 175 points still to be claimed.

LCR Honda's Cal Crutchlow failed to make it out of Q1 and will start from 14th, with Aleix Espargaro just behind him for Aprilia. Espargaro's team-mate Andrea Iannone was unable to compete in qualifying after an FP4 crash left him nursing a shoulder issue that will keep him out of the race.

Jorge Lorenzo, himself still recovering from injury, could only qualify 18th.

 

PROVISIONAL CLASSIFICATION

1. Maverick Vinales (Monster Energy Yamaha): 1:32.265
2. Pol Espargaro (KTM): +0.295s
3. Fabio Quartararo (Petronas Yamaha): +0.306s
4. Franco Morbidelli (Petronas Yamaha): +0.445s
5. Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda): +0.477s
6. Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati): +0.773s
7. Valentino Rossi (Monster Energy Yamaha): +0.814s
8. Johann Zarco (KTM): +0.858s
9. Alex Rins (Suzuki Ecstar): +1.000s
10. Joan Mir (Suzuki Ecstar): +1.166s
11. Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda): +1.184s
12. Michele Pirro (Ducati): +1.196s

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    TOP 10

    1. Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda)
    2. Fabio Quartararo (Yamaha) +0.870secs
    3. Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati) +1.325s
    4. Maverick Vinales (Monster Energy Yamaha) +2.608s
    5. Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda Castrol) +9.140s
    6. Franco Morbidelli (Yamaha) +9.187s
    7. Alex Rins (Suzuki Ecstar) +9.306s
    8. Joar Mir (Suzuku Ecstar) +10.695s
    9. Danilo Petrucci (Ducati) +14.216s
    10. Jack Miller (Pramac Racing) +18.909s

    TITLE STANDINGS

    Riders

    1. Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda) 350
    2. Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati) 231 (-119)
    3. Alex Rins (Suzuki Ecstar) 176 (-174)
    4. Maverick Vinales (Yamaha) 176 (-174)
    5. Danilo Petrucci (Ducati) 169 (-181)

    Teams

    1. Ducati 400
    2. Repsol Honda 383 (-17)
    3. Monster Energy Yamaha 321 (-79)
    4. Petronas Yamaha 263 (-137)
    5. Suzuki Ecstar 246 (-154)

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    YAMAHAS POSE FAMILIAR THREAT

    Franco Morbidelli out-qualified Fabio Quartararo as the two Petronas Yamaha bikes joined Marquez on the front row.

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    His team-mate Quartararo has only missed the front row at three races this year and was cruelly denied a maiden win by Marquez in Thailand, instead having to settle for a fifth podium of an excellent rookie campaign.

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    "I wasn't expecting to be that fast," conceded Morbidelli, who was just 0.132secs behind Marquez.

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    Cal Crutchlow came through Q1 and then claimed fifth, as he looks to follow up on last season's Motegi podium.

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    Jack Miller has not scored a point in his previous two races in Japan, but is the top Ducati ahead of factory duo Dovizioso and Danilo Petrucci.

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    "There were still some damp patches on the track and I wasn't able to have a really fluid riding style there," he said. "It's a pity about the third row, but we are in quite good shape for the race."

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    THE GRID

    1. Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda)
    2. Franco Morbidelli (Petronas Yamaha)
    3. Fabio Quartararo (Petronas Yamaha)
    4. Maverick Vinales (Monster Energy Yamaha)
    5. Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda)
    6. Jack Miller (Pramac Racing)
    7. Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati)
    8. Danilo Petrucci (Ducati)
    9. Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing Team)
    10. Valentino Rossi (Monster Energy Yamaha)
    11. Alex Rins (Suzuki Ecstar)
    12. Joan Mir (Suzuki Ecstar)

    PREVIOUS WINNERS

    2018: Marc Marquez
    2017: Andrea Dovizioso
    2016 : Marc Marquez
    2015: Dani Pedrosa

    TITLE STANDINGS

    Riders

    1. Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda) 325
    2. Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati) 215 (110)
    3. Alex Rins (Suzuki Ecstar) 167 (-158)
    4. Maverick Vinales (Monster Energy Yamaha) 163 (-162)
    5. Danilo Petrucci (Ducati) 162 (-163)

    Teams

    1. Ducati 377
    2. Repsol Honda 358 (-19)
    3. Monster Energy Yamaha 308 (-69)
    4. Petronas Yamaha 233 (-144)
    5. Suzuki Ecstar 229 (-148)

    WEATHER FORECAST

    After a wet FP3 and damp FP4, conditions largely cleared for qualifying on Saturday. Sunday's forecast is presently for a dry and cloudy day, with temperatures reaching 25 degrees Celcius.

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