Aleix Espargaro has begun qualifying day at the Valencia MotoGP in impressive style after bettering Ducati rider Jack Miller by just -0.018s.

Lap times were a considerable way off Miller’s fastest FP2 time to begin the day due to cold track temperatures. 

However, Espargaro was one of a select few to improve as he went ninth fastest, which relegated 2021 world champion Fabio Quartararo down to 13th. 

While the Aprilia rider went even quicker on his next lap to go sixth, Johann Zarco suffered a mechanical failure as smoke was coming from the rear of his Pramac Ducati. 

The French rider managed to return to pit lane without dropping any fluids down on-track. 

Espargaro, who was already fastest in regards to FP3, then went half a second clear of Takaaki Nakagami after beginning his time-attack runs with 20 minutes to go. The Spanish rider’s time put him third overall behind brother Pol Espargaro

Nakagami went fourth quickest just moments later as the LCR Honda rider also had a soft rear tyre fitted. 

Franco Morbidelli was next to make a big jump up the order as he went fifth fastest from 14th. The Italian’s lap was enough to move Petronas Yamaha rider Andrea Dovizioso out of the top ten. 

Shortly after, yellow flags were deployed in sector four as P. Espargaro suffered a huge off at turn 13. 

Espargaro’s crash left him down and in the gravel for a few minutes before being stretchered away. Espargaro has since been taken to the medical centre. 

At the front, Joan Mir momentarily went fastest as improvements over one lap continued for last year’s world champion. 

However, Jack Miller quickly responded by going four tenths quicker to regain first place. The Australian’s team-mate Francesco Bagnaia then made it a Ducati 1-2 with seven minutes left. 

Bagnaia’s second place quickly became Morbidelli’s as the Yamaha rider got within a tenth of Miller. Nakagami also went third, while Quartararo was down in 17th after having multiple laps deleted. 

Quartararo finally got it right with three to go and went ninth quickest - a position he kept through to the chequered flag. 

A late 1:30.529s saw Espargaro then secure top spot from Miller, while Valentino Rossi secured direct access thanks to tenth place. The nine-time world champion’s quickest lap came whilst following Bagnaia who himself finished fourth.