It felt almost like normal service had been resumed. The team that tested here two weeks ago, Repsol Honda, are on either end of the front row with Valentino Rossi on between them. I’m not sure we expected the two factory Ducatis to be on the second row but it isn’t a surprise to see Cal Crutchlow between them. Vinales back in seventh is definitely a surprise, and he’s showing the strain and not at all happy with his bike from Catalunya on. That will be down to the new chassis that Valentino likes so much. Different Yamaha sources told me that both have two new chassis and also that some back-to-back testing took place on Friday. I suspect the former is true and that Maverick is not coping too well with what, as Valentino is prone to say, a Yamaha should feel like.
What happened today was not a million miles away from events of Jerez or Catalunya. We have a track that hasn’t been resurfaced since 2002 on a very hot day, so the one thing that can be deduced is that factory Yamaha have improved their performance on slick, low-grip tracks. As for tomorrow, much will depend on track temperature, rain is forecast but we don’t know when, and Valentino is of the opinion that any of the front seven can be on the podium.
In setting pole I reckon Marquez crashed two or three times without actually falling off the motorcycle. Just a few minor miracles. Rossi appeared late in proceedings to mug everybody except Marc and Dani Pedrosa has been putting in impressive long runs in both wet and dry conditions. Dovi’s not using the wings, Jorge Lorenzo is. Rins is seven plays in front of Iannone.
Confused? You will be.