The Frenchman took the top spot by just 0.011s, ahead of Fabio Quartararo and Aleix Espargaro.
With Quartararo set to take his 6th consecutive Pole of 2021, the Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP rider was deemed the favourite heading into qualifying. At the start of the session, Quartararo sat strongly at the top of the board, with Marc Marquez following in second.
As the session reached its final minutes, Quartararo’s early top time remained untouched. However, as the Frenchman continued his charge to improve, his efforts were immediately squashed by the Pramac Racingman, as Zarco stuck in a sharp 1:20.236. The drama didn’t stop there either, as the provisional poleman then suffered a high-speed lowside at Turn 4 the following lap. While Zarco was okay after a couple of breathers, the yellow flags prevented any more fliers in the final minute, gifting Zarco a crucial Pole position against fellow Frenchman Quartararo in the race.
While all eyes were on the front, Aleix Espargaro’s P3 on the grid marks Aprilia’s first ever MotoGP front row. We can only hope that it pays off in the race!
Despite strong efforts throughout the session, as well as a last lap dash, Jack Miller failed to get the Factory Ducati onto the front row, and settles for a P4 start.
Marc Marquez had a decent session, sticking near the top of the board throughout. It was just the efforts of Zarco and Espargaro that pushed the Repsol Honda Team rider down to 5th on the grid – still a very solid starting position for the Spaniard. Miguel Oliveira rounds out Row 2 in 6th.
Jorge Martin achieves a very admirable P7 start for the race, once again showing his return to form since returning from injury.
Honda hopefuls for this weekend Pol Espargaro and Takaaki Nakagami will start from 8th and 9th, respectively, with the latter suffering a late crash in the session. Francesco Bagnaia rounds out the Top 10, after recovering from his P22 result in Free Practice 2 to make it straight into Q2.
Alex Rins and Alex Marquez graduated from Q1 to take P11 and P12 on the grid, as Brad Binder failed to make the cut in 13th place.
The Avintia duo sit in promising 14th and 15th place, with Marini leading the pair. The duo’s mentor Valentino Rossi follows in P16.
Qualifying shockers are that of Joan Mir, Franco Morbidelli and Maverick Viñales, who will start the race from 17th, 18th and 21st. The Tech 3 KTM Factory Racing pair Danilo Petrucci and Iker Lecuona are sandwiched between them in P19 and P20. Lorenzo Savadori rounds out the grid in 22nd place.
How will the title race fare after today? We’ll have to wait and see!
The MotoGP Race begins at 14:00 Local Time (GMT +2).
Feature Image: Gold and Goose