Fabio Quartararo has had one hell of a MotoGP season so far this year. From winning the first two races to dropping back and only scoring a few points, he’s managed to keep the championship lead—but only just. A bad crash in a Saturday practice session before qualifying for the Aragon Grand Prix looked set to put him out of contention, but, as he’s done all year, the Yamaha rider persevered and took his fourth pole position of 2020.
Cold temperatures all weekend have raised questions about safety, since it will be harder for riders to find grip and thus can make them more prone to crashing. It seems that this is what happened to Quartararo, who was flicked off of his bike in Turn 14 during FP3.
As he was placed onto a stretcher, Quartararo cried out in pain—but he managed to escape any serious injury, and a medical check found him fit to race. He reported pain in his hip, but a Petronas spokesperson noted that the medical center had conducted x-rays and found no fractures or breaks.
With the all-clear to get back on his bike, Quartararo did just that.
While several riders traded pole-worthy times, Quartararo ultimately set the fastest time, a 1m 47.076s lap.
“As soon as I had the crash, I thought, ‘Will I ride?’” Quartararo said after qualifying. “Honestly, right now, it’s not that bad, but when I crashed, I fell quite bad. I stood up and felt there was something wrong... Yesterday I had a crash, then again this morning. Normally I take a bit of time to get back, but FP4 wasn’t bad, and qualifying was good. My lap time was great. I could do better because that lap wasn’t perfect. But I can be happy because we are in pole position and the goal was to be on the front row today.”
Maverick Vinales and Cal Crutchlow followed Quartararo in second and third, respectively. That marks Crutchlow’s first front-row start since 2019's United States Grand Prix.
Despite topping the time sheets in every other session, Vinales was pleased with his second-place start. “The lap time came along,” he said. “I have a little bit better feeling with the first time on which I can do my best first sector. I cannot ask for much more because we are really good. Tomorrow we’ll try to improve a little bit more and be a little more consistent.”
Crutchlow has had some frankly terrible luck this season. He’s already undergone surgery on both arms and has taken time to heal, so this front row start is massive.
“Obviously as you saw in Le Mans, I felt a little bit better with the bike, I felt more comfortable," he said after qualifying. "My arm seems to be getting better as well. It’s nice to come here and get front row after we were so close in Le Mans."