It’s back-to-back P1 starts for Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati Lenovo Team) as the Italian secured his third pole position of the year at the Octo Grand Prix of San Marino thanks to a 1:31.065. The number 63 smashed the previous lap record and leads a Bologna bullets one-two, with teammate Jack Miller some 0.249s behind. There was a collector’s item as Championship leader Fabio Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) crashed as he attempted to find some speed to catch Bagnaia, but the Frenchman will still line-up on the front row.
How the battle for pole was won
It was an electric start to Q2, with Quartararo flying out of the blocks to attack pole with vigour, though he wasn’t the only one. Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini) was the first rider to go sub 1:32, but his stint at the top was shortlived as a series of riders got in on the fun, and it eventually culminated in the Championship leader ending the first runs in P1 and just two-tenths off of Maverick Viñales' (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini) 2020 record.
As the second runs began, the excitement was far from over, with riders really beginning to push in order to find those milimeters that make the world of difference. However, not everyone could handle the heat. First to fall was Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) as he tried to keep pace with a rapid Bagnaia, the eight-time Champion washed the front at Turn 9 while he was soon joined in the gravel by Aleix Espargaro, who hit the deck at Turn 15 as he too looked to up his game.
Quartararo’s lead at the top was a slender one, and he was powerless to resist a scorching effort from poleman Bagnaia, who blasted his way to the top of the timesheets with three-tenths to spare. It didn’t take long for Miller to make his mark, making it a Desmosedici one-two and relegating Quartararo to third. As the Frenchman tried to find a response, he tucked the front end and went down at the Turn 1 right hander, which brought out the yellow flags and signaled the end of the session for a whole host of riders. Fortunately for ‘El Diablo’, nobody was able to put a lap together to threaten his front row start as he held on for a 13th front row start of the season.
Who makes up the rest of the top 12?
Jorge Martin (Pramac Racing) complained of some pains in his right leg but it didn’t stop him from taking P4 just ahead of Johann Zarco (Pramac Racing), who is also riding through injury as all four GP-21s sit inside the top five. Pol Espargaro (Repsol Honda Team) escaped the clutches of the yellow flags from Quartararo’s crash, and his late charge earned him a second row start, while it demoted teammate Marquez to the head of row three.
Aleix Espargaro and Alex Rins (Team Suzuki Ecstar) will line-up alongside the number 93 while Maverick Viñales did an exceedingly good job to take P10 on just his second weekend riding on the RS-GP. The Spaniard finished ahead of Joan Mir (Team Suzuki Ecstar) and Q1 graduate Enea Bastianini (Avintia Esponsorama).
The time for talking is over, with the grid now set for the San Marino Grand Prix, with the premier class seeing lights out at 14:00 local time on Saturday afternoon. You can stay up to date with all the action on motogp.com.
1. Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati Lenovo Team) - 1:31.065
2. Jack Miller (Ducati Lenovo Team) + 0.249
3. Fabio Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) + 0.302
4. Jorge Martin (Pramac Racing) + 0.598
5. Johann Zarco (Pramac Racing) + 0.771
6. Pol Espargaro (Repsol Honda Team) + 0.858
7. Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) + 0.870
8. Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini) + 0.872
9. Alex Rins (Team Suzuki Ecstar) + 0.952
10. Maverick Viñales (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini) + 1.056