Qualifying at the Gran Premi Monster Energy de Catalunya has drawn to a close and has served as the perfect precursor to some classic Catalan GP action! Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati Lenovo Team) stamped his authority on the chasing pack, with his 1:38.639 standing as the new all-time lap record. The Aprilias had the edge in practice but were denied by the Champion as the home hero Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing) fell 0.104s short of Bagnaia for pole. Miguel Oliveira (CryptoDATA RNF MotoGP Team) also took full advantage of the Aprilia’s strengths and bagged his first front row for the Italian brand after battling his way through Q1.
The perfect tow gets the job done
The green flag dropped on Saturday’s Q1 session and it was an intense time-attack battle that decided the final two Q2 spots.
Jack Miller (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing), Miguel Oliveira, Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda), and Pol Esargaro (GASGAS Factory Racing Tech3) lit up the timing screens as the clock ticked down.
Miller was on a hot lap in the closing stages with Marquez glued to his rear wheel. It was a smart move from Marquez as he pipped the Aussie to the top spot. Meanwhile, Oliveira was on an absolute flyer as he shifted the goalposts to topple both Miller and Marquez. These times remained unbeaten and it was Oliveira and Marquez who went through with Miller just missing out.
Game on in Barcelona!
The banker laps came in and it was Maverick Viñales (Aprilia Racing) who was on top as the riders returned to the pits. There was still plenty of life left in the Q2 session, however. Fresh rubber then went in and the battle for pole was on in Barcelona!
Espargaro, Bagnaia and Martin came out of the pits guns blazing as the trio lit up the timing screens with red sectors. Espargaro put down the first 1:38 to set the benchmark but Bagnaia responded immediately as the Champion stamped his authority on the Q2 session.
It was looking as if it wasn’t over yet as the next lot of laps came in and Bagnaia and Jorge Martin (Prima Pramac Racing) were going even faster once again. Martin was held up by Marc Marquez in the final sector as Bagnaia also lost time in the last split.
It was Espargaro’s turn for a stab at pole as the Catalan flew through the first two sectors. Bagnaia’s stellar final sector was unbeatable however and it was a statement of intent from the World Champion who took his sixth pole position of the season.
The Catalan did slot into 2nd place to secure himself a front row for Aprilia at his home circuit.
Miguel Oliveira was looking very strong after fighting his way through Q1. The Portuguese rider put in a series of strong laps to take P3, as well as a brave last-corner overtake on Marc Marquez.
Maverick Viñales (Aprilia Racing) just missed out on the front row by only 0.024s, but made it three Aprilias inside the top four with Jorge Martin leading a gaggle of Ducatis in P5.
It’s as close as ever in MotoGP
Plenty of fast riders will be looking to make up some solid positions as the lights go out. Johann Zarco (Prima Pramac Racing) is one of those, and will join his teammate on the edge of row two.
Taking the 7th spot on the grid was Alex Marquez (Gresini Racing MotoGP) with his teammate Fabio Di Giannantonio enjoying a solid weekend for him P8.
Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) showed glimpses of promise but was the only rider flying the flag for KTM in Q2 and could only manage P9 ahead of Marco Bezzecchi (Mooney VR46 Racing Team) who rounded out the top 10.
The action has only just begun at the Gran Premi Monster Energy de Catalunya as points are now up for grabs in motorcycle racing’s premier class. Make sure to tune in as the story unfolds for the Tissot Sprint at 15:00 local time (GMT +2)!
|1||Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati Lenovo Team)||1:38.639|
|2||Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing)||+0.104|
|3||Miguel Oliveira (CryptoDATA RNF MotoGP Team)||+0.109|
|4||Maverick Viñales (Aprilia Racing)||+0.133|
|5||Jorge Martin (Prima Pramac Racing)||+0.158|
|6||Johann Zarco (Prima Pramac Racing)||+0.219|
|7||Alex Marquez (Gresini Racing MotoGP)||+0.414|
|8||Fabio Di Giannantonio (Gresini Racing MotoGP)||+0.415|
|9||Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing)||+0.418|
|10||Marco Bezzecchi (Mooney VR46 Racing Team)||+0.729|