Vinales snatches Misano MotoGP pole from KTM’s Espargaro

Yamaha"s Maverick Vinales takes pole position for the San Marino MotoGP at Misano, holding off the impressive KTM of Pol Espargaro

Maverick Vinales - Yamaha M1

Maverick Vinales won the battle of the Yamahas to secure pole position for the San Marino MotoGP at Misano, while Pol Espargaro caused a major upset by securing KTM’s first-ever dry weather front row in second.

In a fast paced – and somewhat bad tempered – Q2 session, Vinales kept his head to come good on the expectation of a Yamaha pole position, the factory rider getting the better of anticipated rival Fabio Quartararo having gone toe-to-toe with his satellite counterpart in the forerunning practice sessions.

His second pole position of the year – and Yamaha’s fifth – Vinales’ pole position wasn’t in doubt as he put a sizeable 0.3s between himself and his nearest rivals.

That closest competition came in the form of KTM’s Espargaro, who proved his practice pace wasn’t a fluke with a superb final effort to grab second position and split the Yamahas, albeit partly thanks to the tow he was getting from Quartararo, whom he demoted to third as a result.

Comfortably the Austrian manufacturer’s best Saturday effort since joining MotoGP, though it is KTM’s second front row start of the year following Johann Zarco’s feat in Brno, it is the first to be achieved in dry conditions.

Behind Quartararo, his team-mate Franco Morbidelli made his three Yamahas inside the top four to set them up nicely for a tilt at victory on Sunday, while Marc Marquez had to make do with fifth place following his skirmish with long-time foe Valentino Rossi – click here for the full story.

Tough day for Ducati as Iannone forced to withdraw

Andrea Dovizioso saved some face for Ducati in sixth on a difficult day for the home manufacturer, which is making up five of the 23-bike grid this. Factory rider Danilo Petrucci starts down in a lowly 17th, one place behind Jack Miller, while Michele Pirro and Pecco Bagnaia are 12th and 13th respectively.

Valentino Rossi starts a provisional seventh, while Zarco confirmed KTM’s generally good pace by making his first dry Q2 appearance of the year and placing the improving KTM RC16 into eighth. Suzuki pair Alex Rins and Joan Mir completed the top ten.

Elsewhere, Cal Crutchlow was 14th as his tough weekend on the LCR Honda continued, while his RC213V counterpart Jorge Lorenzo gets underway in 18th.

Aprilia’s disappointing weekend showed no sign of abating with Aleix Espargaro in 15th and Andrea Iannone forced to withdraw with a shoulder injury sustained in a crash during FP4.