With the qualifying being the first full dry session of the weekend at Misano, all MotoGP riders were very eager to get out on track as soon as possible and make the most of the one hour they had to set up their bikes and set a quick laptime for a good grid position.
Alvaro got off to a good start in the session, quickly establishing himself inside the top five in the beginning, taking over second place in the early minutes. Laptimes quickly dropped to get within two seconds of last year’s circuit record after only ten minutes and steadily improving further to get closer to the previous best laptimes with Pedrosa leading the field for most of the session and eventually taking pole.
About halfway through the qualifying Pedrosa led the field by almost half a second, but the riders behind him up until eighth position were very close together with Alvaro sitting comfortable around fifth position and with a good shot at a front row start at his team’s home Grand Prix.
With around 20 minutes still to go he reached for just that as he started to put in a few quick laps which moved him up the order as high as second place before being pushed down to third shortly after and making a quick pit stop before another attack on the laptimes.
As the hectic last ten minutes started, he did another great run of quick laps, being fastest in the first three sectors, but then losing out by about two tenths each time in the last split, yet still making up enough everytime to take over second place with a consistently fast pace.
He quickly made a final pit stop as the last few minutes ticked down to put on another slick tyre for a hopefully successful attempt on a front row start. While the laptimes improved rapidly with the lead changing hands repeatedly in the last three minutes, Alvaro managed to improve his laptime further, but eventually not quite enough to secure a front row start, ending the session in fifth and lining up in the middle of the second row tomorrow.
But being less than half a second behind fastest man Pedrosa he looks as close to a podium battle again as he hasn’t been since snatching pole position and fourth place in the British Grand Prix at Silverstone earlier this year. The top five riders are very close together and it promises to become another big battle between Pedrosa and Lorenzo at the front with a good group fighting for the remaining podium position. Having a good fight in that group tomorrow would be a good confidence boost for Alvaro and a great present for his team at their home race.
Pos. Rider Team Time Gap 1st/Prev.
1 Dani PEDROSA Repsol Honda Team 1’33.857
2 Jorge LORENZO Yamaha Factory Racing 1’33.875 0.018 / 0.018
3 Cal CRUTCHLOW Monster Yamaha Tech 3 1’34.001 0.144 / 0.126
4 Stefan BRADL LCR Honda MotoGP 1’34.221 0.364 / 0.220
5 Alvaro BAUTISTA San Carlo Honda Gresini 1’34.299 0.442 / 0.078
6 Valentino ROSSI Ducati Team 1’34.619 0.762 / 0.320
7 Andrea DOVIZIOSO Monster Yamaha Tech 3 1’34.916 1.059 / 0.297
8 Ben SPIES Yamaha Factory Racing 1’34.988 1.131 / 0.072
9 Jonathan REA Repsol Honda Team 1’35.358 1.501 / 0.370
10 Nicky HAYDEN Ducati Team 1’35.401 1.544 / 0.043
11 Karel ABRAHAM Cardion AB Motoracing 1’35.648 1.791 / 0.247
12 Randy DE PUNIET Power Electronics Aspar 1’35.756 1.899 / 0.108
13 Hector BARBERA Pramac Racing Team 1’36.048 2.191 / 0.292
14 Aleix ESPARGARO Power Electronics Aspar 1’36.284 2.427 / 0.236
15 Michele PIRRO San Carlo Honda Gresini 1’36.340 2.483 / 0.056
16 James ELLISON Paul Bird Motorsport 1’37.124 3.267 / 0.784
17 Mattia PASINI Speed Master 1’37.162 3.305 / 0.038
18 Yonny HERNANDEZ Avintia Blusens 1’37.316 3.459 / 0.154
19 Danilo PETRUCCI Came IodaRacing Project 1’37.751 3.894 / 0.435
20 Colin EDWARDS NGM Mobile Forward Racing 1’38.068 4.211 / 0.317
21 David SALOM Avintia Blusens 1’40.075 6.218 / 2.007