Saturday at the Gran Premio de Europa saw Pol Espargaro (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) pick up his second pole position of the season in a wet Q2 which threw up some surprises. Sunday in Valencia is shaping up to be a corker and to get yourself set for the most important race of the season so far, read up on 10 stats that have emerged from qualifying.
1. Pol Espargaro has qualified on pole position for the second time in MotoGP™, along with Styria this year when he took his maiden pole, as well as KTM’s first premier class pole. Espargaro took his maiden MotoGP™ podium in Valencia back in 2018, which was also the first for KTM in the class.
2. On the podium in the last two races, Alex Rins (Team Suzuki Ecstar) has qualified second, equalling his best qualifying in MotoGP™ from Valencia 2018, a race which saw him finish second. This is only his fourth front row start in the class along with Valencia 2018, Assen 2019 and Teruel this year.
3. Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda Idemitsu) lines up in P3 for his third MotoGP™ front row, along with Styria and Teruel this year. This is Honda’s fifth front row this season along with Marc Marquez in Spain and Cal Crutchlow in Aragon, as well as Nakagami’s two.
4. After coming through Q1, Johann Zarco (Esponsorama Racing) is fourth and top Ducati rider in qualifying. This is his best qualifying result since he was the third in Styria earlier this year, although there he started from pitlane.
5. This is only the fourth time this year that World Championship leader Joan Mir (Team Suzuki Ecstar) will start from the front two rows. The others? Austria, Styria and Aragon.
6. Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini) has qualified sixth and this is the best qualifying result for an Aprilia rider in Valencia since the introduction of MotoGP™ in 2002.
7. Winner in Teruel, Franco Morbidelli (Petronas Yamaha SRT) has qualified in ninth place as the highest-placed Yamaha rider. This is the worst qualifying position for the highest-placed Yamaha rider on the grid so far this year.
8. With Pol Espargaro, Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM Tech3) and Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing), this is the first time there are three KTM riders inside the top 10 in qualifying in MotoGP™.
9. Fabio Quartararo (Petronas Yamaha SRT), the man second in the Championship, has qualified in 11th. This is the first time since he stepped up to MotoGP™ at the start of 2019 that he has failed to qualify in the top 10.
10. Maverick Viñales (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) – polesitter here in 2018 – has qualified 15th, which is his worst qualifying since he stepped up to MotoGP™ in 2015. However, he will start from pitlane after his engine penalty.
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