Franco Morbidelli became today the true main player of the Gran Premi Monster Energy de Catalunya. The Petronas Yamaha SRT rider signed his first pole position in the premier class of motorcycling after a spectacular lap which nobody was able to equal on the asphalt of Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya.
The Italian smashed the clocks at 1:38.798. With this lap time he got as near as one tenth of a second to the fastest lap time ever clocked at the Circuit by Jorge Lorenzo in 2018. Morbidelli squeezed the best out of his Yamaha, and after the warning sent yesterday with the fastest time of the practice sessions, today, he managed to top the result with an impeccable lap during which he didn’t even need to follow the slipstream of any of his rivals. Franco Morbidelli will have to prove tomorrow that he is able to repeat his best result of this year so far, the victory in Misano.
The first row of the CatalanGP will be completed by other two Yamahas, ridden by team-mate Fabio Quartararo and Valentino Rossi (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP). The Frenchman saw options to clock the fastest lap and repeat the result of last year, but he eventually had to settle for the second position. Valentino Rossi can be more than happy as he managed to get onto the provisional podium on the same day on which he announced his renewal for next year. The Italian will surely want to make up for last year’s result, when he crashed against Jorge Lorenzo and was not able to finish the Grand Prix.
Jack Miller (Pramac Racing) led the Ducatis with his fourth position and his time of 1:40.225. Next to him on the second row, will be Maverick Viñales, who also managed to be the best qualified local rider. Born in Roses, Viñales is used to suffer the battles on Sunday, and he will have to face the first moments of the race as a crucial phase to move forward and keep his chances for a win. Johann Zarco closes the top 6 of the Gran Premi Monster Energy de Catalunya.
Pol Espargaró was seventh today followed by Joan Mir and Danilo Petrucci. Binder, Nakagami and Oliveira were the last three riders to make it into Qualifying 2.
Less fortunate were riders like Álex Rins, who could not make it past Q1. The Catalan rider, used to fight during the races, will have the chance to make up for it tomorrow at his home Grand Prix. Andrea Dovizioso is in a similar situation, and will be starting from the seventeenth position. The leader of the overall standings will have a lot of work to do, especially if he does not want to lose too many points in the tightest season of recent times.
Luca Marini imposes authority in Moto2
Luca Marini became the Moto2 poleman. Second consecutive pole position for the Italian, who will be able to strengthen his leadership tomorrow. His reference time is 1:43.355. Two tenths of a second behind, on second position, finished the Spaniard Jorge Navarro who had spent several events without such a good result in the qualifying practice.
Sam Lowes clocked the third fastest time with 1:43.637, which was almost exactly the same time clocked by Fabio di Giannantonio, who finished fourth. Jake Dixon completed the top 5 of the day.
Behind them, there are eight riders within only three tenths of a second: Marco Bezzechi, Joe Roberts, Marcos Ramírez, Xavi Vierge, Remy Gardner, Enea Bastianini, Thomas Luthi and Augusto Fernández.
Jorge Martín, the best classified Spaniard in the standings will start from the fourteenth position. Martín, who has missed already two races, will need to work really hard if he wants to keep the options to fight for the points. Such is the case for Aron Canet as well, who finished nineteenth today.
Tony Arbolino, first pole of the season in Moto3
For the first time in this season, it was Tony Arbolino who clinched the pole position after the qualifying session. The Italian is the fifth different rider to take the pole this year. Moreover, Arbolino broke the overall record of the class with his time of 1:47.762.
The magical lap by Arbolino was not equalled by any other rider. On second position, six tenths of a second behind, finished Raúl Fernández. Raúl Fernández was already in the forecasts, because he is one of the quickest riders on one lap. Gabriel Rodrigo completes the front row of the grid.
The provisional Moto3 leader Albert Arenas will be leading tomorrow the second row of the grid, followed by Jaume Masià and Niccolo Antonelli. Masià was the focus of attention as he had not been able to clock a time until almost the end of the session. In fact, Masià, had only one chance to do it, so his fifth position is more than deserved.
Filip Salac, Kaito Toba, Darryn Binder and Sergio García close the ten top starting positions for the Gran Premi Monster Energy de Catalunya.
More thrill tomorrow
The Gran Premi Monster Energy de Catalunya will end tomorrow, with the staging of the Moto3™ race at 12 h, Moto2™ at 13.20 h and MotoGP™ at 15 h. The three classes will have their War-Up session in the morning, starting at 9.40 h.