Honda MotoGP rider Marquez on pole at Aragon for 200th grand prix start

Honda's Marc Marquez took pole position for the MotoGP Aragon Grand Prix by 0.327 seconds, despite intense pressure from Yamaha rider Fabio Quartararo in the closing stages

Honda MotoGP rider Marquez on pole at Aragon for 200th grand prix start

Marquez was over a second clear of the field after Friday's practices, and duly delivered on his status as favourite for his ninth pole of the year ahead of his 200th grand prix start with a blistering final effort of 1m47.009s.

The opening stages of Q2 were a hot affair, with Q1 pacesetter Franco Morbidelli setting the initial pace at 1m48.495s aboard his Petronas SRT Yamaha, before being quickly demoted by Pramac's Jack Miller and Maverick Vinales' factory Yamaha.

Miller bettered Vinales's 1m48.159s on his follow-up tour with a 1m47.862s, with Quartararo on the sister SRT M1 soon edging ahead.

However, their laptimes paled into insignificance as Marquez put in his first flying lap of 1m47.050s to go almost eight tenths clear of the field.

The Honda rider managed to go slightly quicker on his last effort with a 1m47.009s, however pole looked all but certain as no one was troubling the timing screens.

But Quartararo, who battled hard with Marquez for the victory at Misano one week ago following which Marquez marked him out as a future champion, came through the first two sectors fastest of all and still held a slight advantage as he ended the third sector.

He couldn't hold that slender lead, however, and missed out on pole by 0.327 seconds in second spot.

This demoted Vinales to third and Miller off the front row, while Aprilia's Aleix Espargaro secured the marque's first top five qualifying result since the 2017 Japanese GP.

Valentino Rossi completes row two on the sister works Yamaha ahead of LCR's Cal Crutchlow, Morbidelli, Joan Mir (Suzuki) and Ducati's Andrea Dovizioso.

Andrea Iannone ensured two Aprilias would make it into Q2 for the first time ever.

He was last of the 11 runners present in Q2, after Pol Espargaro has been forced to sit out the rest of the weekend after fracturing his left wrist in a crash in FP4.

Alex Rins was the big-name scalp in Q1, the Suzuki rider missing out on a place inside the second 15-minute segment by over a tenth of a second.

He attempted to replicate the strategy team-mate Mir used on Friday to secure direct passage to Q2 in FP2 in using the hard rear tyre for his final run, but came up short with a 1m48.449s.

LCR's Takaaki Nakagami shadowed him in 14th ahead of the works Ducati of Danilo Petrucci and his Pramac counterpart Francesco Bagnaia.

Johann Zarco's KTM replacement Mika Kallio did hold fifth for much of the session, but was dropped back to ninth in the end.

He will start his first race since last year's Catalan GP in 18th - due to Espargaro's absence - having outpaced Honda's Jorge Lorenzo by two tenths.

Aragon MotoGP starting grid

Pos Rider Team Bike Gap
1 Marc Marquez Honda Honda 1m47.009s
2 Fabio Quartararo Petronas Yamaha Yamaha 0.327s
3 Maverick Vinales Yamaha Yamaha 0.463s
4 Jack Miller Pramac Ducati Ducati 0.649s
5 Aleix Espargaro Aprilia Aprilia 0.724s
6 Valentino Rossi Yamaha Yamaha 1.006s
7 Cal Crutchlow LCR Honda Honda 1.313s
8 Franco Morbidelli Petronas Yamaha Yamaha 1.363s
9 Joan Mir Suzuki Suzuki 1.449s
10 Andrea Dovizioso Ducati Ducati 1.599s
11 Andrea Iannone Aprilia Aprilia 2.231s
12 Alex Rins Suzuki Suzuki 1.440s
13 Takaaki Nakagami LCR Honda Honda 1.468s
14 Danilo Petrucci Ducati Ducati 1.673s
15 Francesco Bagnaia Pramac Ducati Ducati 1.739s
16 Miguel Oliveira Tech3 KTM KTM 1.818s
17 Tito Rabat Avintia Ducati Ducati 1.907s
18 Mika Kallio KTM KTM 2.076s
19 Jorge Lorenzo Honda Honda 2.273s
20 Hafizh Syahrin Tech3 KTM KTM 2.306s
21 Karel Abraham Avintia Ducati Ducati 2.508s
22 Bradley Smith Aprilia Aprilia 2.747s
1001 Pol Espargaro KTM KTM 1.383s
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