Yamaha’s Fabio Quartararo has taken a magnificent pole at Barcelona, being tenths ahead of the field. The Ducati’s of Jack Miller and Johann Zarco are second and third.
It was time for MotoGP to qualify for the Catalan Grand Prix. For those unfamiliar with how MotoGP qualifying works – the top ten from the combined practice sessions go direct to Q2. The rest needed to battle through Q1, with only two getting into the second session. Those who don’t get through Q1 start where they qualified, behind the Q2 riders.
Q1 would have some big names – back-to-back winner Jack Miller, 8-time champ Marc Marquez, Honda teammate Pol Espargaro, and Q2 regular Takaaki Nakagami. The 15-minute long session would be important for these riders. Marquez was expected to tag along the back of another as he did in Mugello, and his victim was Miller.
Miller really pushed on his first lap, and Marquez ran wide at turn 1, task failed. The games meant Iker Lecuona was top after the first lap, with Espargaro second, but it was only the first lap, and the tires were coming into the window, so that time wouldn’t be P1 for long. Miller ran wide at turn 10, and his first run was over. Lecuona stayed P1, with his first lap sticking. Jorge Martin was second.
After staying out to put a third lap down, Miller made his way to the top, just over 0.01sec ahead of Lecuona. Riders then came out for their second runs, and three Honda’s parked themselves on the exhaust of Miller’s Ducati. Then Lecuona fell at turn 9 and was out of qualifying. The line of riders headed by Miller was playing mind games, meanwhile, Martin and Nakagami were pulling red sectors.
Nakagami did go top, but it was red sectors galore. The best of them were Miller and Espargaro, who made it to Q2. Marquez just missed out, with Nakagami behind.
So Miller and Espargaro would join the heavy hitters that qualified automatically into Q2. Quartararo, Morbidelli, Mir, Bagnaia, and happily, Valentino Rossi, among them.
Q2 went green, and the first riders out was a trio of Yamahas, Rossi, Vinales, and Morbidelli. Quartararo went fastest of the first laps, as Rossi went down. After the first runs were done, it was a Yamaha front-row lockout – Quartararo, Morbidelli, and Vinales.
Then it was time for the second runs, the final chance for the 11 other riders will try to get on terms with Quartararo. Miller almost did, only 0.03sec down on the Frenchman, while Vinales, who was third, went down to eighth. Miller then crashed at turn 3, and P. Espargaro hit the deck too. Quartararo rolled out of his last lap, and Zarco was up by a tenth. He couldn’t do it though, and pole went to Quartararo with Miller second. Zarco was third though, and it seemed he was impeded at the end of his hot lap.
The top 10 from MotoGP qualifying is as follows:
|1||F. Quartararo||Monster Yamaha||1.38.853|
|2||J. Miller||Ducati Lenovo||+0.037|
|3||J. Zarco||Pramac Ducati||+0.196|
|4||M. Oliveira||Red Bull KTM||+0.246|
|5||F. Morbidelli||Petronas Yamaha||+0.256|
|6||M. Vinales||Monster Yamaha||+0.304|
|7||A. Espargaro||Aprilia Gresini||+0.365|
|8||B. Binder||Red Bull KTM||+0.490|
|9||F. Bagnaia||Ducati Lenovo||+0.506|
|10||J. Mir||Suzuki Ecstar||+0.578|