The weather rollercoaster continued in Valencia, with a hint at a dry line appearing as riders got ready for Q2 but slicks didn’t get a chance to come out of their blankets and enjoy the sun. Who did come out to play was pretty much every manufacturer on the grid throwing a rider into the mix for pole. Jack Miller headed into qualifying as the main favourite in the tricky conditions but the Australian bided his time before joining the action and that allowed Takaaki Nakagami and Alex Rins to steal the spotlight in the early stages of Q2. Once Miller hit the track, he quickly reduced the Honda man’s gap from seven to three tenths of a second and while all eyes were on the trio, Pol Espargaro popped out of nowhere and claimed pole position for KTM.
Alex Rins came within four hundredths of a second of a first pole in the premier class but was happy enough with second, ahead of Nakagami, who missed out on a final opportunity to respond to Espargaro by crashing out in the final two minutes of qualifying. Q1 escapee Johann Zarco also looked fast on his way to placing a Ducati on second row of the grid, ahead of a solid fifth for Joan Mir and a perhaps disappointing sixth position for Miller.
Aleix Espargaro will start on the third row, only half a second off pole and ahead of Q1 leader Miguel Oliveira. The one factory who did not seem to stand a chance at pole was Yamaha, Franco Morbidelli their lead man in 9th spot, with teammate Fabio Quartararo in 11th and the factory boys stuck in Q1, although Maverick Vinales is scheduled to start from pitlane instead of 15th. Brad Binder leads despondent championship hopefuls Quartararo and Andrea Dovizioso on the fourth row, although the South African will have a long lap penalty to serve in the race.