MotoGP: Fabio Quartararo Takes First Pole Position of the Season at Mandalika
Reigning World Champion Fabio Quartararo takes the maiden pole position at the Pertamina Mandalika Circuit
It was one of the craziest qualifying sessions in recent history with track temperatures over 40 degrees Celsius and Q1 contained big names such as Marc Marquez, Pecco Bagnaia and Joan Mir!
From the start of the session Marc was on a completely different strategy to the rest of the field as the Spaniard did a three-stop compared to everyone’s traditional two-stop.
After the first run it was Bagnaia in first place ahead of Mooney VR46 Racing Team’s Marco Bezzecchi in second who did a very impressive Free Practice 4, and Luca Marini was third with Marquez in fourth.
Marc’s second run was a disaster, making a mistake at turn eight and then ultimately crashing at turn 13 where it would be Deja vu from Misano 2018 where he ran back to his pit box for the final run.
Bagnaia improved his laptime to secure his place into Q2, Bezzecchi also looked set to go through but lost the front at turn 16 and Fabio Di Giannantonio took advantage and took the final spot from his compatriot.
Marquez was extremely slow on his outlap and eventually got behind fellow Honda rider Takaaki Nakagami who was last in the session, Marc quickly caught up to the Japanese rider and made an aggressive move into turn ten, Marc though would have another front-end crash, this time at turn 12 with the eight-time World Champion visibly frustrated.
Pol Espargaro had a disappointing time and ended the session in sixth, not what the man third in the championship would have hoped for.
Joan Mir also had a nightmare of a session, only able to get into seventh place and crashing at turn 16 like Bezzecchi in a similar front-end crash.
In Q2 Fabio Quartararo was the early pace setter, going 0.008 seconds slower than Pecco’s Q1 time, Pecco was in second and Jorge Martin was in third, the GP22’s seemed to have found the solution to their problems.
Franco Morbidelli who looked good for the chance at the front-row crashed at turn five early on and was unable to set a competitive lap time and ended the session in 12th and will start in 15th after receiving a penalty.
On the second run of the session, Bagnaia looked good and was over a tenth under Quartararo’s time but he made a mistake at turn 11 and had to abort the lap, he was able to improve but only by a tenth which ultimately cost him the front-row.
The Pramac Ducati’s of Martin and Johann Zarco pulled out laps at the end of the session to put the Ducati GP22 on the front-row.
Red Bull KTM’s Brad Binder took his best qualifying in MotoGP in fourth place and could be a real threat for the win tomorrow with his race pace. Championship leader Enea Bastianini is in fifth with Bagnaia in sixth.
Miguel Oliveira has made some good improvements from Qatar and heads the third row ahead of Alex Rins whose bike set on fire and caused a red flag in FP4 and Jack Miller is in ninth.
Aleix Espargaro ended 10th, not where the Aprilia rider would have liked to be and Di Giannantonio was eleventh, Luca Marini will start from 12th place with Bezzecchi and Marquez moving up to 13th and 14th.
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