MotoGP: Martin Swipes Maiden Pole in Heated Qualifying Session
Pramac Racing dominates last-lap dash to take grid 1-2.
While Jorge Martin spent most of Q2 in the top spot, it was all to fight for come the final few minutes of the session. Taking P1 from the get-go, and holding the position until the riders entered the pits, it seemed to be somewhat of a lacklustre Saturday. But, as usual, it was wrong to assume such a thing with the MotoGP grid.
With just under a minute left, it was Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP’s Maverick Viñales who stood up to the plate, taking P1 with a time of 1:53.383, and then breaking that at the chequered flag with a 1:53.267. However, with Mack being the first to face the flag, it was only a matter of time before someone else came for the lead, and that someone else came in the form of the Pramac Pair. Next across the line was Johann Zarco, who pipped Viñales by just 0.004 of a second – a cheeky steal. However, fans hardly had any time to react, as Jorge Martin came to reclaim what he lost. With an astonishing 1:53.106, Martin cemented his maiden pole ahead of his teammate. Original challenger Viñales will begin in an admirable P3.
The final drama of the session was the fight for P4, as Fabio Quartararo first took the position at the flag, only to be immediately debunked by Jack Miller. Despite his P4 being a very promising position on the grid, the Aussie didn’t seem anywhere near pleased with the result. While Miller has shown avid success on Fridays, he is yet to qualify on the front row so far this season – which could make all the difference for the holeshot in the race, and with two other Ducatis on the front row, the frustration is understandable. His Ducati Lenovo Teamteammate Francesco Bagnaia rounds out the second row in P6.
Aleix Espargaro yet again remains consistent with a P7 for tomorrow’s race. The Aprilia Racing Team Gresiniman achieved 7th in last week’s race, from a P8 grid start, and so could do the same yet again tomorrow.
The Suzuki ECSTAR duo fill up the remaining third row spots, with Alex Rins leading teammate Joan Mir by 0.04 seconds. The defending champion worked his way up from the first qualifying session, taking the top spot in Q1. With the extra effort made by Mir, a spot within the top 10 seems like a reasonable achievement for the day.
The Petronas Yamaha SRT team have yet again had very mixed outcomes from today’s qualifying sessions, as Franco Morbidelli was the only rider to make it to Q2, as Valentino Rossi is set to start from a shocking 21stplace. With a time of 1:54.881, The Doctor sits over a second slower than his teammate, who will start from 10th place.
Stefan Bradl leads the Hondas once again in 11th place, as Repsol Honda Team teammate Pol Espargaro sits in P15 – sandwiched between the LCR Honda pair, with Alex Marquez in P14 and Takaaki Nakagami set to start in 16th place.
Luca Marini was a Q1 hopeful, as the Esponsorama Racing rider looked set to advance into Q2, only to have the opportunity taken from him in the final moments. Despite this, the Italian’s P13 start has a lot of potential, especially when teammate Enea Bastianini took home a Top 10 finish last Sunday from the same grid position. Said teammate is set to start his race from 19th place on the grid.
The KTM crew sit mainly towards the back of the grid for tomorrow’s start, with Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Miguel Oliveira being the exception. The Portuguese rider advanced to Q2 today, and despite not making an impact in the session, will start in a comfortable P12. Next in line is Tech 3 KTM Factory Racing’s Danilo Petrucci, who will start in P17, while Brad Binder rounds out the sixth row in 18th place. Iker Lecuona is the last of the KTMs on the grid, and will start in 20th place. Lorenzo Savadori sits at the back of the grid in P22, aboard the Aprilia.
With the Ducatis yet again dominant before the race, how will they fare when the lights go out tomorrow?
MotoGP’s Race will start at 20:00 Local Time (GMT +3).
Feature Image: MotoGP.com