Just 23 days after his motocross accident, Valentino Rossi is back for the Aragon MotoGP Grand Prix and qualified third after a spectacular qualifying session. His Yamaha teammate Maverick Vinales took pole while Ducati's Jorge Lorenzo will start second tomorrow. Honda's Marc Marquez, who on the top of his game, crashed in the second qualifying session earlier today, which handed Rossi the front row spot. Nevertheless, the Italian qualified just 0.180 seconds behind Vinales.
Rossi is recovering from a leg fracture due to the accident and it was uncertain at one point that he'd make it to Aragon. Yamaha had also appointed World SBK rider Michael van der Mark as his replacement for this weekend, but the nine time world champion has proven otherwise. Rossi participated after clearing a medical examination.
Ever since his debut in MotoGP in 2013, Marquez has started the Aragon GP on pole and was all set to take his fifth consecutive pole at the track. He also managed to break the 1m48s record by lapping the track in 1m47.963s at about half in Q2, sealing his lead for tomorrow. Meanwhile, Lorenzo kept pace in second, but not before Vinales lapped the circuit in 1m48.142s.
However, at the start of the final runs, Marquez suffered a high speed crash at Turn 12 with just 2 minutes left on the clock. Soon after, Rossi made a startling lap jump to the top of lap times with 1m47.815s.
While it would have been just incredible to see Rossi on pole, Vinales managed to go even better finishing Q2 0.180s ahead of the Italian. Lorenzo then made his way between the teammates and was just a tenth slower than Vinales.
Cal Crutchlow got the best result for Honda on his LCR bike finishing fourth, 0.015s behind Rossi while Marquez was pushed to fifth. Dani Pedrosa qualified sixth for tomorrow while championship leader Andrea Dovizioso of Ducati will be starting in seventh place.
Jorge Lorenzo will start second, while joint-points leader - with Marquez - Andrea Dovizioso finished down in seventh. Aprilia's Aleix Espargaro, Alvaro Bautista of Aspar Ducati and Suzuki's Andrea Iannone completed the last three spots on the top 10.
Tech 3 Yamaha's Johann Zarco was next along with KTM wildcard rider Mika Kallio.