Maverick Vinales has another golden opportunity to put himself firmly in the MotoGP title picture when he starts on pole at Misano on Sunday. 

Vinales was on pole for the San Marino Grand Prix last time out but was unable to convert that position into a victory, finishing down in sixth. 

The Spaniard is 18 points adrift of Andrea Dovizioso in a wide-open fight to replace the injured Marc Marquez as world champion. 

However, he is in the prime spot to vault up the standings after an error by Francesco Bagnaia gave him pole for the Emilia Romagna and Rimini's Coast Grand Prix. 

Yet the owner of the lap record at Misano cannot afford to take anything for granted ahead of what looks set to be a fascinating fight for the chequered flag.

WHAT HAPPENED IN QUALIFYING

Bagnaia should have been celebrating a maiden MotoGP pole - and another Misano lap record - having smashed the previous mark in FP3. 

He crossed the line on his final flying lap in one minute and 30.973 seconds, a time that would have seen him top the timesheets. 

However, he crucially exceeded the track limits on the final turn, an infraction that saw his lap struck off and both pole position and the record handed to Vinales.

Vinales will have Jack Miller and Fabio Quartararo for company on the front row, with Bagnaia dropping to fifth as a result of his error. 

Championship leader Dovizioso heads the fourth row, with Franco Morbidelli - winner of the San Marino Grand Prix - sandwiched between Valentino Rossi and Danilo Petrucci on the third row. 

THE STARTING GRID

1. Maverick Vinales (Monster Energy Yamaha), 2. Jack Miller (Pramac Racing), 3. Fabio Quartararo (Petronas Yamaha)
4. Pol Espargaro (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing), 5. Francesco Bagnaia (Pramac Racing), 6. Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing)
7. Valentino Rossi (Monster Energy Yamaha), 8. Franco Morbidelli (Petronas Yamaha), 9. Danilo Petrucci (Ducati)
10. Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati), 11. Joan Mir (Suzuki Ecstar), 12. Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda)
13. Iker Lecuona (Red Bull KTM Tech 3), 14. Johann Zarco (Avintia), 15. Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM Tech 3)
16. Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia), 17. Alex Marquez (Repsol Honda), 18. Alex Rins (Suzuki Ecstar)
19. Bradley Smith (Aprilia), 20. Tito Rabat (Avintia)

EMILIA ROMAGNA GRAND PRIX TALKING POINTS

The searing pace displayed by Bagnaia will be a topic of discussion despite his phenomenal last flying lap counting for nothing. 

He and team-mate Miller will surely pose a significant threat to Vinales, though Quartararo is concerned about some of his title rivals positioned further back on the starting grid. 

Joan Mir of Suzuki trails Dovizioso by 16 points, but he produced a disappointing display in Q2 and starts 11th. However, with Quartararo branding the Suzuki "a perfect bike", a charge through the field from Mir is not out of the question.

"Yes, I'm worried because they are fast in the straight, they are fast in acceleration to overtake people, they are so fast," Quartararo said on Thursday.

WHAT THE RIDERS SAID

Maverick Vinales (pole): "This weekend I tried to work always with a race setting. We make an improvement. Last weekend the bike always feels good without fuel but with fuel on the race I struggle a lot. This weekend we work a lot and it seems that we make an improvement. We wish it will work for the race."

Jack Miller (2nd): "When we got to Q2 I only had one tyre, so it was kind of a one-shot wonder. Anyway, we made it, not a bad qualifying, I was lucky to get the two off Pecco [Bagnaia]."

Fabio Quartararo (3rd): "Feeling great to be on the front row, that is really important. Our race pace is looking good. I'm happy because we have a good base for tomorrow."

CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS

Riders

1. Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati) 76
2. Fabio Quartararo (Petronas Yamaha) 70
3. Jack Miller (Pramac Racing) 64
4. Joan Mir (Suzuki Ecstar) 60
5. Maverick Vinales (Monster Energy Yamaha) 58

Teams

1. Petronas Yamaha 127
2. Monster Energy Yamaha 116
3. Ducati 101
4. Suzuki Ecstar 100
5. Pramac Racing 97

Maverick Vinales claimed his second successive pole position at Misano as an error from Francesco Bagnaia saw him miss out on the front row in a dramatic qualifying session for the Emilia Romagna and Rimini's Coast Grand Prix.

Bagnaia, who smashed the Misano lap record in third practice, found searing pace as the Pramac Racing rider attempted to deny Vinales.

He crossed the line in one minute and 30.973 seconds, which would have seen him take a first career pole and set the first 1:30 lap at the Marco Simoncelli circuit.

However, his lap was immediately expunged as Bagnaia exceeded the track limits on the final turn, handing pole to Vinales after his lap record of 1:31.077.

Bagnaia dropped to fifth, with Jack Miller and Fabio Quartararo completing the front row behind Vinales.

The KTMs of Pol Espargaro and Brad Binder were fourth and sixth respectively, while championship leader Andrea Dovizioso will have work to do to hold on to his six-point lead over Quartararo.

Dovizioso was 10th behind Ducati team-mate Danilo Petrucci, the fourth row completed by Joan Mir and Takaaki Nakagami.

LCR Honda's Nakagami went off at turn 15 in FP4 and repeated that error in Q2, wrecking his second bike of the race week and leaving him to settle for 12th on the grid.

Provisional classification

1. Maverick Vinales (Monster Energy Yamaha) 1:31.077s
2. Jack Miller (Pramac Racing) +0.076s
3. Fabio Quartararo (Petronas Yamaha) +0.145s
4. Pol Espargaro (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) +0.231s
5. Francesco Bagnaia (Pramac Racing) +0.236s
6. Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) +0.312s
7. Valentino Rossi (Monster Energy Yamaha) +0.359s
8. Franco Morbidelli (Petronas Yamaha) +0.489s
9. Danilo Petrucci (Ducati) +0.497s
10. Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati) +0.504s
11. Joan Mir (Suzuki Ecstar) +0.540s
12. Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda) +1.207s

 

 

Repsol Honda rider Stefan Bradl will miss the Emilia Romagna and Rimini's Coast Grand Prix because of an arm injury.

Bradl has filled in for Marc Marquez - the six-time world champion who broke an arm in the MotoGP season opener at Jerez - but is battling ongoing issues in his own right arm.

The German competed in the first practice session at Misano but was 1.3 seconds adrift of Fabio Quartararo, who set the pace with a time of one minute and 31.271 seconds.

Following discussions with Honda, Bradl will sit out the rest of the race weekend.

"Unfortunately, I am still having problems with my right arm and I am unable to ride in a safe and consistent way," Bradl said.

"I spoke with my doctor and we performed a small operation to clean the nerve before this weekend, but when they opened the arm they saw the situation was more complicated than they first thought.

"I came to Misano with the intention of racing because my doctor told me it would be okay to race. But in this situation, I do not feel I can ride safely over a whole race, together with HRC [Honda Racing Corporation] we have decided to take the rest of the week to recover before Barcelona."

FP2 saw Brad Binder of KTM lead the way with a lap of 1:31.628.

Fabio Quartararo fears a challenge from Joan Mir again at the Emilia Romagna and Rimini's Coast Grand Prix due to Suzuki's "perfect" bike.

Yamaha rider Quartararo was the 2020 pace-setter in MotoGP after winning the first two races of the year in the absence of usual champion Marc Marquez.

But the Frenchman has not tasted victory since and tumbled to second in the standings with his retirement last week, behind Andrea Dovizioso.

Rather than the Ducati, though, it is Mir's Suzuki which is causing Quarataro concern.

Spaniard Mir has two retirements this year but has otherwise finished fifth, second, fourth and last week third, reaching fourth in the standings - 10 points behind Quartararo.

Quartararo said of Mir and Suzuki team-mate Alex Rins: "I'm worried because they are fast in the straight, they are fast in acceleration to overtake people, they are so fast.

"So, yes, I'm worried because both riders are very fast.

"Mir is in full confidence, so it's not easy for us because we are spread in this area and I think right now, overall, the bike is the perfect bike."

Mir was merely amused by the claim, however, responding: "I didn't know Fabio rode my bike. It's really nice to hear someone that knows my bike better than me.

"What can I say? Of course the bike of the other people is better than the one you are using, for sure.

"At the moment, the one that is getting pole positions is him and the winner of the last race was one Yamaha."

Andrea Dovizioso enters the Emilia Romagna and Rimini's Coast Grand Prix as the new MotoGP standings leader, but Yamaha are hoping to ensure his stay at the top is a short one.

Yamaha showed impressive pace in the San Marino Grand Prix at Misano last week and riders are returning to the same venue for round seven.

Fabio Quartararo was unable to take advantage of his manufacturer's speed at the circuit last time around, as team-mate Franco Morbidelli became the fifth different race winner of an unpredictable season with defending champion Marc Marquez out injured.

Sunday's race begins at 14:00 local time (13:00 BST), with eight riders sitting within 23 points of Ducati star Dovizioso.

LAST TIME OUT

Yamaha dominated qualifying by locking out the first four places on the grid.

They converted that into three finishes in the top six, with Morbidelli's maiden MotoGP win added to by fourth place for Valentino Rossi and pole-sitter Maverick Vinales coming sixth.

But Quartararo, who started on the front row, suffered a crash and ultimately retired in a torrid afternoon that saw him lose the championship lead, finishing outside the top six for a fourth straight week.

There were impressive podiums for Francesco Bagnaia and Joan Mir, while a low-key seventh was enough to move Dovizioso to the top of the pile.

WHAT TO LOOK OUT FOR IN MISANO

There is no rider who has recorded more than two podiums in the opening six races, with Quartararo struggling massively since winning the opening two events of 2020 and now looking to avoid back-to-back retirements for the first time in his MotoGP career.

The next few races in this middle section of the season are likely to determine who out of Dovizioso, Quartararo and the chasing back emerges to become true title contenders ahead of the final run-in, with the current picture still wide open.

Dovizioso, who will leave Ducati at the end of the season, is arguably the most consistent rider in the championship, but has raised doubts over whether he ultimately has the speed to challenge for the title. If the Italian can end this round still on top before moving on to more favourable circuits that would represent a good result given he has only finished on the podium twice in 13 Misano attempts.

Riders looking to maintain momentum include Suzuki Ecstar youngster Mir, who is on an impressive run of three consecutive top-four finishes, while the veteran Rossi has recovered nicely from a retirement in week one and sits level on points with factory team-mate Vinales.

TOP FIVE OPTA STATS

Good race for Rossi - Aside from Marquez, Rossi is the only active rider to have reached three wins at the Misano circuit in MotoGP. He has finished on the podium in six of his 13 MotoGP races there, though has not done so in his last three outings, so may be due.

Moto joy for Morbidelli – The rising star has finished on the podium in two of his last four MotoGP races, having not recorded any top-three finishes in his first 37 premier class appearances.

Pole not leading to wins – Vinales has had pole position in three of his last four appearances at Misano (2017, 2019 and 2020), but did not win in any of them (fourth, third and sixth). Indeed, the last 10 Misano races have seen the pole-sitter fail to win (Dani Pedrosa was the last to win from first on the grid in 2010).

Strong circuit for Yamaha – The manufacturer's triumph with Morbidelli last week means they have won 13 of the 24 races held at Misano.

Miller meagre in Italy – The Australian Jack Miller is third in the championship but must improve his record on Italian soil if he is to stay there. Miller has failed to surpass the sixth position in his 10 MotoGP races in Italy, five of them without collecting a single point.

CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS

Riders

1. Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati) 76
2. Fabio Quartararo (Petronas Yamaha) 70
3. Jack Miller (Pramac Racing) 64
4. Joan Mir (Suzuki Ecstar) 60
5. Maverick Vinales (Monster Energy Yamaha) 58

Teams

1. Petronas Yamaha 127
2. Monster Energy Yamaha 116
3. Ducati 101
4. Suzuki Ecstar 100
5. Pramac Racing 97

Valtteri Bottas says he was "was not at all to blame" for the crash that caused a red flag during the early stages of the Tuscan Grand Prix.

The incident-packed race was halted on lap nine following a multi-car collision that forced Carlos Sainz Jr, Kevin Magnussen, Antonio Giovinazzi and Nicholas Latifi to retire.

With the safety car already out following a chaotic first lap, Mercedes driver Bottas bunched up the field and was seen to weave slowly down the pit straight.

A number of drivers accelerated and slowed in an attempt to second-guess Bottas, leading to the crash, with Romain Grosjean hitting out at the "f****** stupid" decision making.

However, the 31-year-old insisted he stuck to the rules and instead questioned the safety of the current restart laws.

"We're all allowed to race from the control line, which has been there for a while I think," Bottas said.

"It's just the decision this year has been that [on] the safety car they are putting the lights off quite late so you can only build the gap pretty late on.

Lewis Hamilton was drained and delighted after holding off Valtteri Bottas to record an epic win at Mugello in the Tuscan Grand Prix, labelling the track "phenomenal".

The race was stopped twice for red flags, while an early safety car period was also required shortly after pole-sitter Hamilton lost the lead to his Mercedes team-mate.

That came as part of a dramatic start which also saw a crash further down the field and a retirement for title rival Max Verstappen.

But Hamilton was able to reclaim first place by overtaking Bottas during the first standing restart and ultimately recorded his 90th Formula One win, moving to within one of Michael Schumacher's all-time record.

"It was all a bit of a daze," said Hamilton, who leads Bottas atop the drivers' championship by 55 points after his sixth win of the 2020 season.

"It was like three races in one day! It was just incredibly tough, obviously with a difficult start.

"This track is phenomenal. Obviously the heat and keeping Valtteri behind, who has been quick all weekend, was not easy and I was behind in the beginning. 

"All those restarts, the total focus that's needed during that time, it was really, really hard."

He added: "It was those restarts [that were tricky] - the first stint I was fine managing my tyres and I didn't need to stop but they were worried because Valtteri had a problem. 

"Then the last stint I started on the softs, a used tyre, not knowing how long they would go and Valtteri appeared out of nowhere when before Danny [Ricciardo] was the man behind. 

"And Valtteri was on it. I was looking after the tyres and he would close up, so trying to keep that gap above one second – I didn't want him to have the DRS with such a long 1,000m straight – my heart was definitely racing.

"It's crazy to be here and have 90 Grands Prix [wins]."

Hamilton ended his interview by saying "justice for Breonna Taylor", referring to the Black emergency services technician fatally shot by police in Louisville earlier this year.

It was a statement he accompanied with a t-shirt he was wearing during his post-race media availability and on the podium. 

Lewis Hamilton triumphed in a tumultuous Tuscan Grand Prix, beating Valtteri Bottas as Max Verstappen retired to increase his championship lead to 55 points.

After a dramatic win by Pierre Gasly in Monza last week at a race that included a red flag, there were two this time around – the first time that has happened in Formula One since Brazil in 2016.

Amid the chaos caused by multiple crashes - the safety car came out three times - Bottas was in prime position to win after overtaking Hamilton at the start.

But the Briton, who also claimed the fastest lap, fought back to win for the sixth time this season, with Verstappen's retirement on lap one ensuring he holds a dominant position in the drivers' standings.

There was some consolation for Red Bull as Alex Albon claimed his first career podium in third, with Daniel Ricciardo, Sergio Perez and Lando Norris rounding out the top six.

Franco Morbidelli was left overwhelmed after achieving a first MotoGP victory at the San Marino Grand Prix on Sunday.

The Italian was a popular local winner in front of a limited crowd, the first time spectators have been able to watch a live race in 2020 amid the coronavirus pandemic.

An emotional Morbidelli struggled to comprehend the scale of his achievement at Misano, in a race where Fabio Quartararo surrendered his championship lead to Andrea Dovizioso after a costly tumble.

"I don't know how it feels, I still have to process everything, but it's definitely a good thing, a good feeling," he said. 

"I'm very happy, I'm enjoying the moment now, the only thing I can say is thanks to my team, thanks to my people, all the people working with me and helping me.

"During the last laps I was thinking a lot about seven years ago, more and less, when I was racing in the Italian Championships, super stock. I was winning that race and it felt just the same but much more. 

"So, I'm just overwhelmed at the moment, the only thing I can is thank you to everybody."

Francesco Bagnaia earned a first career podium with a fine race to finish second, an impressive achievement considering he has just returned from a knee injury and a deserved one after engine failure saw him miss out on the top three in Jerez earlier this year.

"The last five weeks it was very difficult to be happy but it gave me the anger here to be competitive," said the Pramac Racing rider.

"All I can say is that I'm very happy, already at Jerez I was close to my first podium, the taste of my first podium is very good."

Suzuki Ecstar's Joan Mir was cruelly denied a first win last time out at the Styrian Grand Prix when a rare red flag was waved while the Spaniard was well out in front.

Having not prepared for such an eventually, Mir went out on 18-lap tyres when the race was restarted but he claimed a third-place this finish this time around and he reflected on a job well done at Misano.

"I'm really happy, I gave my hundred per cent in this race," he said. "We started on the medium rear so I was struggling early to warm the tyres but then I started to catch up.

"I missed a couple of laps too because I saw the other riders were dropping a bit more and I was able to maintain pace. 

"Thanks to my team, it was not as strong as Austria but we're on the podium so let's keep it like this."

Franco Morbidelli scored a dominant maiden MotoGP victory at the San Marino Grand Prix as Fabio Quartararo's costly crash saw him surrender the championship lead to Andrea Dovizioso.

Italian Morbidelli was a popular local winner at Misano in front of a limited number of spectators, who were allowed at a race for the first time in 2020 amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The impressive Francesco Bagnaia (Pramac Racing) flew through the pack from sixth on the grid to take second behind Morbidelli, holding on for a first career podium amid a frantic final lap on his first race back since returning from a serious knee injury.

Valentino Rossi (Monster Energy Yamaha), who grew up in the nearby town of Tavullia, looked as though he had done enough to finally land a landmark 200th career podium in third.

But Joan Mir (Suzuki Ecstar) had fantastic race pace throughout and passed Rossi – who must have felt bittersweet as Morbidelli and Bagnaia are graduates of his academy – on the final lap to snare a memorable podium, with both men in pursuit of Bagnaia.

It was a day to forget for Quartararo, though, as the Frenchman – many people's pre-race favourite – tumbled with 14 laps remaining after going too wide at Turn 4.

To compound a miserable day, Quartararo – who had struggled right from the off – later came off the bike again shortly after returning from the pitlane as Dovizioso to moved top of the standings by six points despite finishing back in seventh.

Maverick Vinales had started on pole after a record-breaking lap on Saturday but once again struggled to produce qualifying pace on Sunday.

The Spaniard was jumped on the line by Morbidelli, who celebrated with the Italian flag on a very slow cool down lap, and Rossi before falling back through the pack and finishing sixth.

Lewis Hamilton heads into the Tuscan Grand Prix in pole position as the defending Formula One world champion aims to secure his sixth win of the season.

It is already looking to be a tough ask for the chasing pack to catch Hamilton, who holds a 47-point lead over Valtteri Bottas.

Hamilton's Mercedes team-mate will start second on the grid at Mugello, while Red Bull are primed to attack with both Max Verstappen and Alex Albon having placed in the top four in qualifying.

Ferrari, meanwhile, head into their 1,000th grand prix with Charles Leclerc fifth on the grid as the Italian outfit continue to struggle.

 

WHAT HAPPENED IN QUALIFYING

Hamilton took pole on Saturday, though his team-mate Bottas was left lamenting his bad luck after Esteban Ocon's mistake cost him vital time.

Bottas looked in a strong position to take top billing off Hamilton in his final qualification lap, yet Ocon span off the track and a yellow flag was raised.

Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel endured another difficult session as he failed to reach Q3.

THE STARTING GRID

1. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes), 2. Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes)
3. Max Verstappen (Red Bull), 4. Alex Albon (Red Bull)
5. Charles Leclerc (Ferrari), 6. Sergio Perez (Racing Point)
7. Lance Stroll (Racing Point), 8. Daniel Ricciardo (Renault)
9. Carlos Sainz (McLaren), 10. Esteban Ocon (Renault)
11. Landon Norris (McLaren), 12. Daniil Kvyat (Alpha Tauri)
13. Kimi Raikkonen (Alfa Romeo), 14. Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari)
15. Romain Grosjean (Haas), 16. Pierre Gasly (Alpha Tauri)
17. Antonio Giovinazzi (Alfa Romeo), 18. George Russel (Williams)
19. Nicholas Latifi (Williams), 20. Kevin Magnussen (Haas)

TUSCAN GRAND PRIX TALKING POINTS

It is a landmark race for Ferrari, yet the team's poor season does not look set to improve drastically any time soon, with Leclerc having a lot to do from fifth if he is to achieve a podium finish, while Vettel – who will move to Racing Point at the end of the season – can hardly be considered a contender down in 14th on the grid.

Vettel's impending move means Sergio Perez has had his contract with Racing Point, who are soon to be Aston Martin, cut short, and the Mexican was handed a a one-place penalty for causing a collision with Kimi Raikkonen in practice on Friday.

Bottas, meanwhile, struggled to hide his frustration after he was denied the chance to pip Hamilton to pole, though that will perhaps give Mercedes' second-seat driver extra motivation to outshine the world champion.

Red Bull enjoyed a fine qualifying session and Verstappen seems well placed to challenge for his second victory of the season.

WHAT THE DRIVERS SAID

Lewis Hamilton (pole): "This track is phenomenal… it's crazy! You go through Turns 6, 7, 8, 9 at like 170, 180 miles per hour, and the G-force we're pulling through there, it's insane, and it just gets more and more as you go through 8 and then 9. [Turns] 10 and 1 and 2 were the areas where I needed to improve and I managed to pick it up once I got into qualifying, so Valtteri did a great job in pushing me. But I'm really, really happy to be up there."

Valtteri Bottas (2nd): "I still had more time in there. Run one was okay, but not perfect. I was looking forward to the last lap but I didn't get the opportunity. It's disappointing because the speed has been good all weekend. For sure it [Ocon spinning off] had an effect. I knew there was more in it and I was confident that this weekend it belongs to me. But there's two types of luck, unlucky or lucky. And I got unlucky again."

Max Verstappen (3rd): "From my side, I always expected to be third. Of course, coming from Monza, this was a lot better. I always expected it to be better than Monza of course – I think Monza was just the worst track for us. Everything [at Monza] is just not good: low downforce, long straights, it's not what we like. But I'm pleased to be third."

Charles Leclerc (5th): "I'm very happy with the lap overall. I put everything together and P5 was definitely above any of our expectations so very, very happy. We are lacking overall performance to be able to fight with the guys in front, but the balance was good today, it gave me confidence. I could give my best on that quali lap. There's a good opportunity [in the race]. But on the other hand if we look at the race pace of the other teams on Friday, there are quite a lot of cars that are stronger from us."

Daniel Ricciardo (8th): "I think with Charles in fifth, I'm not sure he's got a fifth-placed race car, so that in itself might create a bit of a battle for that top five. Him qualifying there will hopefully make it a bit exciting."

Sebastian Vettel (14th): "It's a bit of a fight, but it's been a fight all year. So we try nevertheless to do everything we can to try and understand the car a bit more. I try to do anything I can with driving to adapt, but I think there's still more to look at."

CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS 

Drivers 

1. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) – 164
2. Max Verstappen (Red Bull) – 117
3. Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes) – 110
4. Charles Stroll (Racing Point) - 57
5. Lando Norris (Renault) – 57

Constructors  

1. Mercedes – 281
2. Red Bull – 158
3. McLaren – 98
4. Racing Point – 82 (after 15-point deduction)
5. Renault – 71

Valtteri Bottas lamented his bad luck after Esteban Ocon's spin cost him a shot at pole position in qualifying for the Tuscan Grand Prix.

Lewis Hamilton clinched first spot on the grid for Sunday's race, a maiden Formula One pole at Mugello, with a time of one minute and 15.144 seconds.

However, Mercedes team-mate Bottas seemed to be the pre-qualifying favourite after he finished top of the timesheets across all three practice sessions.

Yet, with a yellow flag raised as a result of Ocon spinning off the track in his Renault, Bottas could not complete his last run and ultimately placed second.

"I still had more time in there," a frustrated Bottas told Sky Sports. "Run one was okay, but not perfect. I was looking forward to the last lap but I didn't get the opportunity.

"It's disappointing because the speed has been good all weekend.

"For sure it [Ocon spinning off] had an effect. I knew there was more in it and I was confident that this weekend it belongs to me.

"But there's two types of luck, unlucky or lucky. And I got unlucky again."

For his part, Ocon offered apologies for the incident, with the laps of Lance Stroll and Daniel Ricciardo having also been affected by the spin.

"You try and push the limit through the session and I felt comfortable in the car," Ocon told Sky Sports. "I felt great.

"I felt there was a lot of time that could be gained. Unfortunately it was a bit over the limit and I am sorry for the guys that couldn't complete their laps. Everyone pushes hard on this track and it bites you when you go over [the limit]."

Hamilton was thrilled to claim a seventh pole of the season, and his first one at a track he described as "phenomenal".

Mugello, which is owned by Ferrari, is staging a Formula One grand prix for the first time.

"It's been a really tough weekend if I'm being honest," Hamilton told Sky Sports after earning his 95th career F1 pole.

"This track is phenomenal. It's a really, really challenging circuit, and Valtteri was quicker than me all through yesterday, this morning, and even in Q1.

"I've been working so hard in the background to try and improve. The team did such a great job and I finally got the lap that I needed. I couldn't go quicker at the end, but it was job done.

"Valtteri did a great job pushing me, but I'm really, really happy [to be on pole]."

Ferrari, celebrating their 1,000th grand prix, had Charles Leclerc in fifth, though team-mate Sebastian Vettel failed to make it into Q3.

Max Verstappen and Alex Albon, both of Red Bull, will start in third and fourth respectively.

Maverick Vinales will hope to fire himself firmly back into the MotoGP title picture after a sensational performance in qualifying for the San Marino Grand Prix.

Vinales' terrifying crash in Austria last time out prompted a red flag but he showed no ill-effects as he smashed the lap record at Misano.

The Spaniard is fifth in the standings, with no rider yet able to take an authoritative hold on matters early in the season.

If qualifying is anything to go by, Yamaha's Vinales should be expected to thrive on the new asphalt surface in San Marino.

WHAT HAPPENED IN QUALIFYING

Franco Morbidelli sat in provisional pole with his second lap clocked at one minute, 31.723 as the session clock ticked down, but his joy was short-lived as Vinales' took a second pole of the season with a thrilling display.

Vinales tore around Misano in 1:31.411 – three tenths of a second quicker than any other rider in the session and two tenths faster than Jorge Lorenzo's previous lap record.

A man seemingly committed to weighing his season by the number of viral clips he can produce, Vinales then entertained the fans in attendance.

The San Marino Grand Prix is the first Moto GP event of the season to permit supporters in the grandstands and they saw the pole-sitter celebrate so vigorously he activated the air bag in his leathers.

Pol Espargaro claimed a maiden pole last time out but had no chance of a repeat after coming off at turn 15 early on in Q2.

THE STARTING GRID

1.Maverick Vinales (Monster Energy Yamaha), 2. Franco Morbidelli (Petronas Yamaha), 3. Fabio Quartararo (Petronas Yamaha)
4. Valentino Rossi (Monster Energy Yamaha), 5. Jack Miller (Pramac Racing), 6. Francesco Bagnaia (Pramac Racing)
7. Alex Rins (Suzuki Ecstar), 8. Joan Mir (Suzuki Ecstar), 9. Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati) 
10. Johann Zarco (Esponsorama Racing), 11. Pol Espargaro (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing), 12 Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM Tech 3)
13. Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia), 14. Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda), 15. Danilo Petrucci (Ducati)
16. Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing), 17. Tito Rabat (Esponsorama Racing), 18. Iker Lecuona (Red Bull KTM Tech 3)
19. Stefan Bradl (Repsol Honda), 20. Bradley Smith (Aprilia), 21. Alex Marquez (Repsol Honda)

SAN MARINO GRAND PRIX TALKING POINTS

Yamaha's dominant showing in qualifying was certainly timely after Fabio Quartararo and Valentino Rossi both questioned their manufacturer's failure to cash in on the experience of test rider Lorenzo, who has been used sparingly.

Securing a place on the front row might suggest better things to come for Quartararo, who has seen his lead at the top of the riders' standings trimmed to three points.

Back-to-back victories in the first two races of the season felt like a fast-fading memory when he limped to 13th place at the Styrian Grand Prix.

However, nearest challenger Andrea Dovizioso could only manage fifth and the Ducati man qualified down in ninth on Saturday.

The newly laid surface at Misano could be a factor after it came in for criticism during practice. "It's bumpy, it's bad, especially in the fastest sector it's really quite bad," said an unimpressed Jack Miller.

WHAT THE RIDERS SAID

Maverick Vinales (pole): "I felt on the limit. We tried to take out the maximum from the bike. For sure, we made a good strategy. I saved quite a lot of tires during the weekend to put everything on Q2 and it paid off. I feel amazing. Every lap I feel fantastic on the bike, I am enjoying this weekend a lot.

Franco Morbidelli (2nd): "Yes, I felt quote strong. I believed that I could do my lap alone and I tried to do it. It came out a pretty good lap. Unfortunately, Maverick did much better, but the front row is quote important for us. We will try to make a good job and start from a good position.

Fabio Quartararo (3rd): "I'm happy because I imagined before that I was going to feel better but the confidence was not so great. I lost the front in the 11th corner, so it was not the best feeling. I lost it in 14 as well and still managed a nice lap so I was a bit surprised. We hope for a good race because our pace is decent."

CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS

Riders

1. Fabio Quartararo (Petronas Yamaha) 70
2. Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati) 67
3. Jack Miller (Pramac Racing) 56
4. Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) 49
5. Maverick Vinales (Monster Energy Yamaha) 48

Teams

1. Petronas Yamaha 102
2. Monster Energy Yamaha 93
3. Ducati 92
4. Red Bull KTM Factory Racing 84
5. Suzuki Ecstar 73

Lewis Hamilton outpaced team-mate Valtteri Bottas and received help from a yellow flag to claim the maiden Formula One pole position at Mugello.

Mercedes driver Bottas was considered the favourite to lead the way in qualifying for the Tuscan Grand Prix on Saturday after topping the timesheets in all three practice sessions.

However, reigning champion Hamilton clocked a time of one minute, 15.144 seconds to ensure he will start from the front of the grid for the fourth straight race and seventh time this season.

Although Hamilton did not improve on his final lap amid high winds, Bottas had to lift off in the first sector of his last run due to Esteban Ocon spinning off and placed second in a front-row lockout for Mercedes.

Ferrari are celebrating their 1,000th grand prix this weekend and will see Charles Leclerc get away from fifth, behind the Red Bull duo of Max Verstappen and Alex Albon.

However, Leclerc's team-mate Sebastian Vettel, who this week agreed to drive for Aston Martin next season, was unable to make into Q3 for the fifth straight race.

Vettel scraped into Q2 at the expense of Pierre Gasly, bringing the AlphaTauri driver back down to earth with a bump after his incredible maiden triumph at Monza last weekend.

Sergio Perez, who will make way for Vettel next year, was sixth but will start behind team-mate Lance Stroll in seventh after being handed a one-place grid penalty for making contact with Kimi Raikkonen in FP2 on Friday.

PROVISIONAL CLASSIFICATION

1. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) 1:15.144 
2. Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes) +0.059s 
3. Max Verstappen (Red Bull) +0.365s
4. Alex Albon (Red Bull) +0.810s 
5. Charles Leclerc (Ferrari) +1.126s 
6. Sergio Perez (Racing Point) +1.167s 
7. Lance Stroll (Racing Point) +1.212s 
8. Daniel Ricciardo (Renault) +1.399s 
9. Carlos Sainz (McLaren) +2.726s 
10. Esteban Ocon (Renault) DNF

Maverick Vinales led a Yamaha lockout of the front row for the San Marino Grand Prix after he produced a stunning Q2 lap.

Vinales tore around Misano in one minute, 31.411 seconds - three tenths of a second quicker than any other rider in the session and two tenths faster than Jorge Lorenzo's previous lap record.

With supporters allowed back in the stands for the first time this season, Vinales then celebrated ebulliently, to the extent he triggered the air bag in his leathers.

It meant first and fourth for Monster Energy Yahama, with Valentino Rossi just missing out on the front row as Franco Morbidelli and championship leader Fabio Quartararo came in second and third for Petronas Yamaha.

Those results amounted to a timely strong showing for the manufacturer after Rossi and Quartararo this week questioned the failure to extensively utilise the expertise of test rider Jorge Lorenzo.

Morbidelli had shot to provisional pole with a 1:31.723 lap, but his joy was short-lived as Vinales' heroics secured a second pole of the season.

Pramac duo Jack Miller and Francesco Bagnaia rounded out the second row behind Rossi, ahead of Suzuki pair Alex Rins and Joan Mir, with Ducati's Andrea Dovizioso in ninth.

Pol Espargaro is down in 11th after a crash at turn 15 early on in Q2, sandwiched by Avintia Ducati's Johann Zarco and fellow Q1 graduate Miguel Oliveira.

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