Maverick Viñales made it back-to-back pole positions during a thrilling qualifying session for the Aragon Grand Prix. Valentino Rossi took a remarkable third, while Marc Márquez crashed.
Reigning World Champion Márquez held provisional pole after a blistering effort, dipping into the 1:47s, as he chased a fifth straight pole position at the venue.
However, Márquez suffered a high-speed crash on the entry to Turn 12 as he strived to improve his time and, though he recovered to the pits, was not able to record another lap.
As Márquez hit the floor, Rossi stunned the pack by surging to the front, having been towards the rear of the top 10 after the initial runs.
Rossi’s time at the top was short-lived, however, as Viñales blasted across the line with a time of 1:47.635 to take his fifth pole of the campaign.
Ducati’s Jorge Lorenzo split the Yamaha riders, qualifying just 0.1s down on Viñales, despite having to negotiate his way through Q1.
Rossi was initially not set to participate this weekend due to his injury. But he ultimately opted to make the trip to MotorLand Aragón, will start Sunday’s race from the front row of the grid.
Cal Crutchlow is fourth fastest, with Márquez in fifth position. He is in front of Repsol Honda team-mate Dani Pedrosa and title rival Andrea Dovizioso, the Ducati rider never a factor in the pole battle.
Aleix Espargaró claimed a fine eighth for Aprilia, ahead of Aspar’s Álvaro Bautista, who crashed through Turn 8 during the closing stages.
Suzuki’s Andrea Iannone rounded out the top 10, with Tech 3’s Johann Zarco and KTM wildcard rider Mika Kallio the slowest of the Q2 competitors.
Jack Miller missed out on a place in Q2 by just 0.009s and will line up from 13th place. He is ahead of KTM’s Pol Espargaró and Aspar’s Karel Abraham.
Danilo Petrucci was a low-key 16th for Pramac. With outgoing Avintia duo Loris Baz and Héctor Barberá 17th and 19th.
Suzuki rookie Álex Rins was 20th, ahead of Marc VDS’ Tito Rabat. This leaves Scott Redding (Pramac), Bradley Smith (KTM) and Sam Lowes (Aprilia) at the back of the 24-bike grid.