Ryder Notes: Saturday at Aragon

Everyone on the front row was happy, for a variety of reasons. All Marc Marquez can do for the rest of the year is win races and hope for a minor miracle or two. He conjured up one today after a Friday that looked bad on paper, mainly because he and Dani Pedrosa only used the hard tyre in the afternoon session. Today, the medium was well used and propelled him to a stunning pole position. His first flying lap of qualifying: 1:6.635, took over half a second off his own record pole time and opened up a chasm between Marc and the rest. There was general astonishment when Jorge Lorenzo managed to close the gap to just over a tenth of a second at the end of rhe session, and even more when Andrea Iannone, handicapped by a recently re-dislocated shoulder, took the final lace on the front row.

Marc was happy with pole despite crashing trying to better his own time at the end of the session—he thought there was a bit more to come. Lorenzo was happy because he was able top better his personal best at Motorland Aragon by over a second, and no doubt because his championship rival and team mate is back on the second row and a lot slower than him. He’d also pushed Marc into a crash when he dramatically closed the gap. Pleasingly, Jorge described Marc as ‘explosive’ and seemed well content with his prospects for the race.

Andrea Iannone was happy because his shoulder stood up to the job; he said he didn’t try at 100% yesterday to save it and has yet to resort to painkillers, although he will tomorrow. There was also the fact that he was top Ducati by far and his much more experienced team mate didn’t make it out of Q1. There is the feeling of a power swing at Ducati as much as at Suzuki.

It is easy to lose sight of what actually matters tomorrow, which is the points gap between the Yamaha riders at the top of the table, which currently stands at 23 in favour of Valentino. On today’s showing, Valentino will be in the fight for third while Jorge fights for the win. That could be as little as a four-point turnaround, or it could be a lot worse.

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