Ducati Lenovo’s Pecco Bagnaia celebrated his fifth MotoGP pole position in succession at Portimao with a new lap record.
The Bologna party continuing as Jack Miller completed the top two ahead of Joan Mir’s first front row of his premier class career.
Premier class qualifying opened with Johann Zarco and Miguel Oliveira amongst the 12 riders battling for promotion around the 4.6km rollercoaster layout. Brad Binder crashing out from eighth at turn three in the opening minutes as his teammate battled Aleix Espargaro at the top.
Iker Lecuona sat third after three laps on track with Maverick Viñales fourth on the second Aprilia while Stefan Bradl headed Valentino Rossi in the mid table.
Zarco was the next to strike at the halfway stage, the Frenchman setting a 1’39.340 to head Espargaro and dump the local rider out of contention as Danilo Petrucci slid into sixth.
Binder was back out with six minutes on the clock as the second runs prepared. Takaaki Nakagami crashing out at turn five on a personal best from fifth in the standings.
Lecuona stormed to the top with two minutes to go thanks to a 1’39.171 as the screens lit up. Enea Bastianini taking second on his penultimate effort before Zarco claimed the place with a 1’39.199. The leading duo swapping places next time around as the Frenchman improved once more to sit four-hundredths ahead.
The Avintia rider settled for third at the flag ahead of Espargaro, Petrucci and Rossi with Oliveira seventh. Viñales holding eighth from Binder, Bradl, Andrea Dovizioso and the fallen Nakagami.
The quest for pole started with Ducati dominance as Jorge Martin circulated on the tail of Pecco Bagnaia with the duo claiming first and second respectively. Joan Mir and Jack Miller taking over at the top in quick succession with a new lap record on his third lap of the session. 1’38.836 holding court as Fabio Quartararo joined for third.
Disaster struck Luca Marini at turn 14 as the Avintia VR46 rider pushed on a personal best, the yellow flags deleting the World Champion’s previous effort as Martin returned to the top three.
The halfway stage found Yamaha siting seventh and ninth as Franky Morbidelli headed the M1 charge. Pol Espargaro running fifth with Bagnaia ahed and Zarco behind while the fellow Honda of Alex Marquez claimed eighth.
Bagnaia was on course for his fifth consecutive pole position with two minutes to go as he recorded a 1’38.775, Zarco claiming fourth as Espargaro returned to fifth. Quartararo only able to rise to seventh with one lap left on the table.
The eating Italian refined his command once again with a 1’38.725 as Miller did likewise in second, Mir maintaining his hold on the final front row place as the flag dropped.
Martin bettered his Pramac partner at the head of row two from the solo Repsol representative with Quartararo heading row three from Marquez and Morbidelli. Lecuona, Alex Rins and Marini completed the top 12.