Like Mugello last weekend, Q1 was littered with big names as seven MotoGP race winners were taking part. 

One of those was Brad Binder, who despite showing extremely good race pace, was again finding one lap performance hard to come by.

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That all changed come the final few minutes though, as Binder jumped to the top of the leaderboard before quick responses from Maverick Vinales and Marco Bezzecchi relegated the KTM rider to third. 

Third then became fifth as Takaaki Nakagami and Eena Bastianini also moved ahead of the South African. The top five were separated by just +0.033s.

In Q2, the names we expected to be fighting it out for pole did just that, and although Francesco Bagnaia tried his absolute best to spoil Aleix Espargaro’s party, the Ducati rider was unable to deliver the lap he needed, instead losing out on pole by just +0.031s.  

While there were some great performances, there were some riders who failed to show the speed we expected. So with that said, who are the five riders that surprised us?

Fabio Di Giannantonio - 5th

Di Giannantonio makes his way onto this list for the second weekend in a row after a brilliant FP3 and Q2 performance. 

Yes, Marco Bezzecchi has looked strongest of the five rookies in terms of race pace so far in Catalunya, however, Di Giannantonio once again showed his qualifying ability is not to be doubted. 

The Italian managed to split both Prima Pramac Ducati riders, while also finishing less than four tenths off pole. 

It’s also the second time in as many weekends that Di Giannantonio has got the better of team-mate Enea Bastianini in qualifying, a rider who currently has the most MotoGP wins in 2022 (3).  

Maverick Vinales - 8th

While it’s no surprise to see Vinales inside the top ten this weekend - aside from team-mate Aleix Espargaro he’s had one of the better race paces - Vinales was again left with the tough task of coming through Q1.

But unlike previous weekends Vinales managed to find form over one lap when it counted, something that was so often a strength for the Spaniard at Yamaha.

Vinales topped Q1 before going on to take a solid P8, a position that could set him up for a top five finish in Sunday’s Grand Prix. 

Who were the three MotoGP riders we expected more from?

Jack Miller - 11th

One of the best qualifiers and racers on the MotoGP grid, Mugello’s disappointing result has seemingly lingered into Catalunya for the Australian. 

Miller could only manage 11th during Q2, a result that leaves him with a lot of work to do in tomorrow’s race.

Even more of a surprise, the potential 2023 KTM rider was only the sixth quickest Ducati as he lost out to the likes of Di Giannantonio and Luca Marini. 

Joan Mir - 17th 

While team-mate Alex Rins managed to drag out a seventh place finish, Mir was a further ten places back. 

Mir, who has failed to finish the last two races in Le Mans and Mugello, has once again struggled for performance throughout this weekend. 

An early season title favourite, Mir is anything but that as it stands. It appears as though Suzuki leaving MotoGP and addressing his own future seems to be weighing heavily on the Spaniard.

Franco Morbidelli - 18th 

Looking somewhere close to his best during Friday practice, and FP4 for that matter as he claimed P8 - a drastic improvement compared to the opening eight rounds - Morbidelli was unable to build on that when it mattered most. 

After slipping out of the top ten in FP3, Morbidelli failed to show any resurgence in Q1, instead finishing six tenths away from the top five. 

The Italian is likely to be in for another disappointing race given the issues riders are facing with overtaking in MotoGP, that’s despite showing good long run pace for much of the Catalan weekend.