Pol Espargaro will hope to convert pole position into a first MotoGP win at the second attempt at the European Grand Prix, which is set to be intriguing with the championship contenders spread out.

Red Bull KTM Factory Racing rider Espargaro got his maiden pole at the Styrian Grand Prix in August but ran wide on the final corner and slipped from first to third, with Miguel Oliveira and Jack Miller sneaking in front of him.

He can expect to be under significant pressure again on Sunday with Joan Mir, who leads the riders' standings, Fabio Quartararo and Maverick Vinales having been unable to master the wet conditions in Valencia.

It has been an incredible 2020 season and the drama is sure to continue with this the first of three races on successive weekends to close the season.


Alex Rins was on provisional pole with two minutes of Q2 remaining but Espargaro knocked him down to second with a flying lap of one minute, 40.434 seconds.

Mir was unable to improve his time on his last run and Johann Zarco knocked the championship leader down to fifth.

Quartararo is 14 points behind Mir in the standings but struggled on a drying track that was still unsuitable for wets and will get away from 11th, while Vinales has to start from the pitlane after taking a sixth engine of the season.


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

*To serve a long lap penalty
** To start from the pitlane


After rain on Friday and Saturday, it is forecast to be dry at lights out. With there having been no dry session this weekend, teams will be light on data going into the race so things could quickly become very interesting.

Quartararo will be among those hoping for dry conditions in order to help him put pressure on Mir, with the championship battle promising to add an extra layer of intrigue to the race.

The omens are in the favour of the Suzuki Ecstar rider, however, with eight of the past nine races at the Circuit Ricardo Tormo having been won by a Spaniard; Andrea Dovizioso, who could really use a win if he is to make a late charge for the title, is the only other rider to have triumphed in that time.

Franco Morbidelli could also shoot into contention if he follows up his win in Aragon last time out, but he has had to retire in his past two appearances at this track.

Away from the championship picture, Rossi is back after missing the two previous events due to coronavirus and will hope for a strong performance as his time with Monster Energy Yamaha winds down.


Pol Espargaro (pole): "That qualifying was crazy. We have not so much to lose. We are not fighting for much in the championship, we are not far [away] but we are not close enough. It's a pity but it's a reality. I'm super pleased. I couldn't believe when I crossed the line when my mechanic put P1 on the board. It's difficult to protect the weather at this time of the year. We need to wait until tomorrow morning when we wake up and see the sky, then we'll plan. Everyone's going to be in the same situation, which makes me happy."

Alex Rins (2nd): "Very bad and dangerous conditions in qualifying, but I'm so happy to start from the first row. Let's see what's happens. It looks like tomorrow will be dry, so I hope at least for dry conditions in the warm-up so we can see what tyres we can take, the set-up, because for now it's a mystery. Let's do a good start and see where we are."

Takaaki Nakagami (3rd): "In qualifying I was expecting dry conditions but before FP4 rain came. It was really tricky conditions in FP4 and also Q2, but the bike managed well and the feeling is pretty good. I gave my best and the last corner was a bit too fast and I lost the front, but this is a positive crash because in those conditions you always have to find the limit. It's a great result for us and a big surprise because I didn't expect it. If it's dry [for the race] some riders can come from the back and surprise."

Fabio Quartararo (11th): "Honestly, the position I am in tomorrow, I really have nothing to lose. My goal is to win the championship and if I don't take big risks tomorrow, it will be over. So, now I'm really on the mood that I do the best, if I need to be really, really aggressive I will be and if we crash or something it will be for a good reason. So, I just want to be in the best way possible. Of course, I'll try to make a really good warm-up, which will be so important. But it will be really important for us tomorrow that we make a good race."



1. Joan Mir (Suzuki Ecstar) – 137
2. Fabio Quartararo (Petronas Yamaha) – 123
3. Maverick Vinales (Monster Energy Yamaha) – 118
4. Franco Morbidelli (Petronas Yamaha) – 112
5. Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati) – 109


1. Suzuki Ecstar – 242
2. Petronas Yamaha – 198
3. Ducati – 180
4. Red Bull KTM Factory Racing – 157
5. Monster Energy Yamaha – 176