LCR Honda Castrol's Cal Crutchlow snatched the pole position for the MotoGP Grand Prix of Spain away from hometown hero and fellow Honda rider Dani Pedrosa. Yamaha Tech 3's Johan Zarco amazed once again by making it to the front row of the grid in third spot.
The British rider surprised everyone once again by placing his independent-team Honda bike directly ahead of the factory Honda of Pedrosa, who was a disappointing 0.250 seconds behind Crutchlow. The final laps of the last qualifying session were tense as Marc Marquez seemed to be on a strong charge to steal pole from Crutchlow, but he ultimately lost some time on the last sector of the Circuito de Jerez-Angel Nieto.
Pedrosa, Crutchlow, ZarcoGETTY
Marquez's last-minute slip-up cost him dearly as he dropped all the way to fifth place, promoting Johan Zarco to third place and Ducati's Jorge Lorenzo to fourth—the best starting position for the Spaniard in 2018. However, it wasn't Marquez, but the Yamaha MotoGP team who endured Saturday's biggest disappointment due to the lack of performance on the 2.7-mile circuit.
Nine-time world champion Valentino Rossi managed to sneak his Yamaha into the top 10 by clocking in a lap time of 1:38.267, which put him 0.614 seconds behind the pole-setting lap time of Crutchlow. His teammate Vinales followed him in 11th place. In fact, the first 12 spots on the grid were only separated by eight-tenths of a second, which speaks multitudes of the performance and skill of the riders and their machinery.
So far Ducati's Andrea Dovizioso (who starts eighth) leads the world championship with 46 points, just one ahead of Honda Repsol's Marc Marquez. Yamaha's Maverick Vinales lines up in third with 41 points and tomorrow's pole-sitter in fourth with 38. If Crutchlow manages to secure the win in Spain tomorrow it could have big implications for the championship.