Valentino Rossi scored his first MotoGP pole position since the 2016 Japanese Grand Prix by breaking the Mugello Circuit lap record to head the starting grid for the Italian Grand Prix.
The former seven-time MotoGP premier class champion (nine across all classes) set a lap of 1min. 46.208sec. around the 14-turn, 5.245km Mugello Circuit, located in the Tuscany region of Italy, just north-east of Florence.
Sporting an Italian themed helmet, the local hero gave his adoring home crowd plenty to cheer about as he pipped Ducati's Jorge Lorenzo to pole position by just 0.035 seconds. Rossi's Yamaha teammate Maverick Vinales was third fastest, and also not far behind the Italian as his qualifying time was just 0.096 seconds slower than pole.
Another Italian, Andrea Iannone, was just outside the front row on board his factory Suzuki with a time that was 0.139 seconds slower than pole position while his compatriot Danilo Petrucci on board a Pramac Racing Ducati was fifth.
In sixth place was defending MotoGP world champion and the winner of the last three rounds of the season, Marc Marquez on board his factory Honda bike. Marquez currently leads the riders' standings by 36 points ahead of Vinales with Tech 3 Yamaha's Johan Zarco just one point behind Vinales, Rossi a further two points behind Zarco and Petrucci just two points behind Rossi.
Seventh on the grid and leading the third row is last year's runner-up and Lorenzo's Ducati teammate, Andrea Dovizioso behind whom is LCR Honda rider Cal Crutchlow and Zarco.
Iannone's Suzuki teammate Alex Rins completed the top ten in Q2, ahead of Pramac Racing Ducati's Jack Miller and Marc VDS Honda's Franco Morbidelli.