MISANO ADRIATICO: Ducati’s Francesco Bagnaia claimed a second consecutive MotoGP pole position when he set the all-time lap record in qualifying at the San Marino Grand Prix on Saturday.
Bagnaia, who claimed his maiden premier class victory last weekend at the Aragon Grand Prix, set a lap time of 1:31.065 to lead a Ducati one-two with team-mate Jack Miller in second while world championship leader Fabio Quartararo starts third.
“I’m really happy, it’s always good to start in pole,” Bagnaia said to Sky Sport Italia. “It’s since Aragon that I’ve been really comfortable with the bike, we’ve hardly touched anything since and everything’s working perfectly.”
Pramac Racing’s Jorge Martin and Johann Zarco start fourth and fifth on the grid and are joined on the second row by Honda’s Pol Espargaro, who pushed team-mate Marc Marquez down to seventh.
The qualifying session had numerous crashes, with Petronas Yamaha’s Valentino Rossi going off the track in Q1 while Marquez and Quartararo went off in Q2 as they attempted to set faster laps and reel in Bagnaia.
“Unfortunately, when you want pole you try everything... and I braked super late into turn one,” Yamaha’s Quartararo said in the pit lane.
Quartararo leads Bagnaia by 53 points heading into the final five races of the season. Defending champion Joan Mir of Suzuki, four points behind Bagnaia, starts 11th on the grid behind Aprilia’s new rider Maverick Vinales.
Andrea Dovizioso, who made his MotoGP return to take the vacant seat at Petronas Yamaha, will start last on the grid behind Rossi.
There were glorious conditions at Misano on Saturday after a wet Friday and there was a entertaining battle between Bagnaia and Quartararo, 22, who is aiming for his first MotoGP title.
Bagnaia came out on top in the third practice session on Saturday morning before Quartararo was fastest in FP4.
And Quartararo was leading in Q2 until Bagnaia rocketed to his record time with less than two minutes remaining.
Published in Dawn, September 19th, 2021