Lorenzo Baldassarri (Pons HP40) sealed his first ever World Championship pole position at the Gran Premio Red Bull de España, setting a new pole lap record at the Circuto de Jerez – Angel Nieto circuit along the way. Home hero and 2017 winner Alex Marquez (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) battled hard to get his third pole position of the season, however the Spaniard missed out by just 0.071 in P2. Championship leader Francesco Bagnaia (SKY Racing Team VR46) was a further 0.068 seconds back in third, securing his second front row start of the season.
The top three were the fastest men on track for the majority of the session, as all of them lit up the sectors with red indicators throughout – with Baldassarri breaking the pole lap record after just 15 minutes. Meanwhile, there were a total of eight fallers at Turn 9 during qualifying, as track temperatures soared in southern Spain.
Sam Lowes (Swiss Innovative Investors), Jorge Navarro (Federal Oil Gresini Moto2), Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM Ajo) and Mattia Pasini (Italtrans Racing Team) – who fell again at Turn 2 shortly after – all took a trip through the gravel trap at the tricky right hander. All riders who fell during the session were ok.
Despite his late tumble, Navarro confirmed he has great pace this weekend by qualifying fourth on the grid, as 2016 Moto3™ Jerez race winner Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Ajo) secured P5. Reigning Moto3™ World Champion Joan Mir (EG 0,0 Marc VDS rider) – who is suffering with a stomach bug this weekend – launches from sixth on Sunday.
Xavi Vierge (Dynavolt Intact GP) heads the third row of the grid in seventh, with Swiss Innovative Investors rider Sam Lowes lining up in P8, the former winner at the track failing to improve his time after crashing midway through the session. Romano Fenati (Marinelli Snipers Team) was once again inside the top ten in ninth, he starts ahead of Argentina race winner Pasini in P10.
Oliveira has work to do from P14 on the grid, with the heroic Marcel Schrӧtter (Dynavolt Intact GP) taking the checkered flag in P17 as he continues to recover from ligament damage in his shoulder.
The battle for victory tomorrow looks incredibly tight, who will come out on top? Watch the intermediate class race live at 12:20 local time (GMT +2).