Fabio Quartararo demonstrated both his scintillating speed and mental fortitude as he took a brilliant fourth MotoGP World Championship pole position of the season for the Aragon MotoGP.

The Frenchman was reeling just hours earlier after suffering a second heavy crash of the weekend in FP3, leaving him with a pained left leg and hip that is forcing him to limp heavily in and out of the pit garage between runs.

Nevertheless, on the bike Quartararo remained his typical unflappable self over a single lap, leaving it until the last moments to pump in a 1m 47.076secs that just undercut Maverick Vinales. It also deals a little psychological blow to his title rivals by suggesting it will take more than a high-speed crash to halt his championship credentials.

Indeed, Quartararo’s pole will feel particularly bitter for Andrea Dovizioso - considered a favourite at Aragon this weekend - after he was not only knocked out of the running by failing to progress beyond Q1, but had the discomfort of being denied by Ducati counterparts Jack Miller and Danilo Petrucci

In a rare show of emotion from the normally placid Dovi, his throwing of gloves in the pit box spoke volumes

Up at the front, Quartararo will be joined on the front row by Vinales, the Yamaha rider no doubt pleased to be up towards the front again but perhaps irked to be out-performed by his hobbled Yamaha counterpart when it mattered.

Joining them on the front row will be Cal Crutchlow, the Briton taking a step beyond his fourth from Le Mans to secure a surprise spot for Honda. Third place marks the first time he has started on the MotoGP front row since COTA 2019.

Franco Morbidelli couldn’t quite make it a Yamaha lockout as his final lap went away from him, while Miller had Q1 arguably to thank for hitting the ground running to spare some blushes for Ducati on an otherwise torrid day for the Italian firm.

Title contender Joan Mir will feel satisfied with sixth, the Spaniard - only 10 points behind Quartararo in the standings - well poised knowing he is likely to come on stronger in race trim.

Takaaki Nakagami consolidated LCR’s strong day with a run to seventh on the year-old Honda - a winner in Marc Marquez’s hands last year - while Petrucci went some way to proving his upturn in pace can be attributed to those Ducati changes as he placed eighth on the grid.

Aleix Espargaro scored one of Aprilia’s best starts of the year in ninth, ahead of Alex Rins on the second of the Suzuki bikes, while Alex Marquez - making his first Q2 appearance - returned a season’s best 11th place. Pol Espargaro brought up the Q2 rear in 12th after suffering problems, on what was a disappointing day for the KTM contingent.

With Dovi missing out on Q2 - by just two hundredths of a second - he instead starts 13th, ahead of Brad Binder, while Iker Lecuona - despite KTM’s poor day - lands one of his best starts in 2020 with 14th.

Johann Zarco gets underway in 15th position, from Pecco Bagnaia, Miguel Oliveira, Bradley Smith, Tito Rabat and Stefan Bradl.

 

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