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An electric qualifying session for the MotoGP™ World Championship at the Sachsenring for the Liqui Moly Motorrad Grand Prix Deutschland saw a frenetic battle for pole position, which saw Johann Zarco (Pramac Racing) storm to pole position with a phenomenal lap with just two minutes remaining. Second place went to Fabio Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) to make it a French 1-2 in MotoGP™, whilst it was a first MotoGP™ front row for Aprilia with Aleix Espargaro third, the first front row for the manufacturer in the premier class since Jeremy McWilliams at Phillip Island in 2000.
Liqui Moly Motorrad Grand Prix Deutschland: MotoGP™ Q2
THE BATTLE FOR POLE
As the session got underway, it was immediately clear that Quartararo had a strong pace, as he dropped the pace to a 1’20.4, whilst the others were in behind. Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) was initially second ahead of Jorge Martin (Pramac Racing), with this just being the start of what would be a heroic day for the Pramac Racing outfit. Strategy continued to be key in the battle for track position and there were plenty of tempers flaring around the 3.645km circuit – the shortest on the calendar.
As the closing stages of the session came onto the horizon, it looked like Fabio Quartararo had done enough, but it would prove to not be the case as Johann Zarco put in the lap of his life to take pole position and the top time. The charismatic double Moto2™ World Champion then went in pursuit of another hot lap time but had to fight his way through fellow countryman Quartararo on the exit of Turn 3. As Zarco tipped into Turn 5, he tucked the front and crashed out of contention, bringing out the yellow flags, spelling an end to his session and impacting those around him due to the yellow flags.
THE FRONT ROW
Despite the late drama, it would be enough for him to take pole ahead of Quartararo for Ducati's first pole at the Sachsenring since 2008 with Casey Stoner, making it the first French 1-2 since Brno 2020, with it also being the same order. Completing the front row is Aleix Espargaro, taking his first front row since Assen in 2015 and giving Aprilia their first front row since MotoGP™ was introduced in 2002, a historic landmark for the Noale manufacturer. Espargaro is the fourth different rider to give Aprilia a front row in Grand Prix racing’s premier class, after Doriano Romboni, Tetsuya Harada and Jeremy McWilliams.
THE REST OF THE TOP 10
On row two for the German GP is Jack Miller, who was on course for pole position on numerous occasions, having perfected the first two sectors but failing to convert the final two. Behind Miller, the King of the Sachsenring, Marc Marquez. Having been eyeing up a front row place for the majority of the session, Marquez dropped to the middle of the second row, but it is his best qualifying position since his return. After a lot of cruising and looking for the ideal track position, Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) completed the second row.
In seventh place, Jorge Martin heads up row three and makes it three Ducatis inside the top seven, whilst eighth place went to Pol Espargaro (Repsol Honda Team), who was tracking Quartararo for the majority of the second half of the session. He’s joined by fellow Honda rider Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda Idemitsu) who completed the session in ninth but ended it in the gravel, with a fall at Turn 1 in the closing stages. Rounding out the top ten is Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati Lenovo Team), just more than half a second from Zarco’s pole time.
"All Yamahas are struggling" - first reactions from Q2
Having come through Q1, Alex Rins (Team Suzuki Ecstar) was only 11th come the chequered flag, whilst 12th place went to Alex Marquez (LCR Honda Castrol). However, all eyes will be on Johann Zarco, having not only topped qualifying but FP4 as well. Will we see the return of the backflip? Only time will tell in MotoGP™…
Make sure you enjoy all of the action on Sunday with Warm-Up at 10:05am local time, before lights-out at 14:00 (GMT+2).
Top 10 combined:
1. Johann Zarco (Pramac Racing)
2. Fabio Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) +0.011
3. Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing Gresini Team) +0.211
4. Jack Miller (Ducati Lenovo Team) +0.272
5. Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) +0.331
6. Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) +0.353
7. Jorge Martin (Pramac Racing) +0.381
8. Pol Espargaro (Repsol Honda Team) +0.423
9. Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda Idemitsu) +0.574
10. Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati Lenovo Team) +0.575