Pol Espargaro will start from pole position for the second time in his MotoGP career at the European Grand Prix as the title favourites struggled.

The Red Bull KTM Factory Racing rider registered a time of one minute, 40.434 seconds to pip Alex Rins to first place on the grid in wet conditions in Valencia.

Espargaro's only previous pole came at this year's Styrian Grand Prix and he was denied victory on that occasion on the final corner of the race by Miguel Oliveira.

Takaaki Nakagami will join Espargaro - who claimed his first MotoGP podium in Valencia - and Rins on the front row, with championship leader Joan Mir qualifying fifth between Johann Zarco and Jack Miller.

Mir's closest rival in the title race Fabio Quartararo struggled on a drying track that was still unsuitable for slicks and will get away from 11th, one place ahead of Andrea Dovizioso.

Maverick Vinales, who is third in the riders' standings, failed to get out of Q1 but was already guaranteed to start from the pitlane after taking his sixth engine of the season.

His Monster Energy Yamaha team-mate Valentino Rossi was back on track after sitting out the past two grands prix and Friday's action while he awaited a second negative coronavirus test.

Having been given the all clear to return, Rossi was only eighth-quickest in Q1 and will consequently start 17th, next to Danilo Petrucci.

Provisional classification

1. Pol Espgargaro (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) 1:40.434
2. Alex Rins (Suzuki Ecstar) +0.041s
3. Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda) +0.096s
4. Johann Zarco (Esponsorama Racing) +0.143s
5. Joan Mir (Suzuki Ecstar) +0.270s
6. Jack Miller (Pramac Racing) +0.459s
7. Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia) +0.563s
8. Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM Tech 3) +0.894s
9. Franco Morbidelli (Petronas Yamaha) +1.123s
10. Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) +1.347s
11. Fabio Quartararo (Petronas Yamaha) +1.509s
12. Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati) +1.815s