Quartararo pips Marquez in thrilling Jerez MotoGP qualifying

Fabio Quartararo pic: MotoGP.com

Fabio Quartararo has taken the first pole position of the new MotoGP season in a thrilling qualifying session at the Spanish Grand Prix.

The Petronas Yamaha SRT young gun set alight the Jerez circuit earlier in the day with a new lap record in Free Practice 3, before repeating his rapid pace in qualifying in searing heat.

It marked a second straight Jerez pole for the Frenchman, over 12 months after he claimed a maiden premier class pole at the Spanish circuit.

Quartararo ousted Maverick Vinales (Monster Energy Yamaha) and reigning world champion Marc Marquez with his 1:36.705s best, with Francesco Bagnaia claiming a career best fourth ahead of Pramac Racing teammate Jack Miller and Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda Castrol).

Miller was one of three riders to fall late in Q2, with the Australian rider joined in the Turn 11 gravel trap by factory Suzuki rider Alex Rins, who was taken to the medical centre. Seconds earlier, Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team) had a lowside at Turn 2.

Rins – who will miss the race due to a dislocated shoulder – set the pace in Q1 with a 1:37.063s ahead of the KTM duo of Pol Espargaro and Brad Binder, the latter of whom narrowly missing out on a maiden Q2 appearance on his MotoGP debut. Rins had a lowside at Turn 2 before setting his flyer to reach the second part of qualifying.

As riders returned for Q2, Marquez fired his Honda to P1 with a 1:37.006s on his first flyer, before Quartararo dipped into the 1:36s with a 1:36.993s.

Vinales looked to have thrown the cat among the pigeons when he shot to the top with a 1:36.844s on the second runs, and Marquez was eyeing another P1 start with a rapid time before a slow final sector consigned him to P3 once Quartararo dropped in his pole-winning time.

Bagnaia sealed fourth with his 1:36.955s, with Miller half a second down on his teammate, having thrown away a final shot at a higher grid spot.

Espargaro impressed for KTM with seventh ahead of Dovizioso and Rins, with Franco Morbidelli (Petronas Yamaha SRT), Valentino Rossi (Monster Energy Yamaha) and Joan Mir (Team Suzuki Ecstar) filling the fourth row.

The season-opening race will commence at 10:00pm AEST on Sunday.

Qualifying: Spanish MotoGP

Pos Num Rider Nat Team Bike Time Gap 1st/Prev
1 20 Fabio QUARTARARO FRA Petronas Yamaha SRT Yamaha 1:36.705
2 12 Maverick VI√ĎALES ESP Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP Yamaha 1:36.844 0.139 / 0.139
3 93 Marc MARQUEZ ESP Repsol Honda Team Honda 1:36.862 0.157 / 0.018
4 63 Francesco BAGNAIA ITA Pramac Racing Ducati 1:36.955 0.250 / 0.093
5 43 Jack MILLER AUS Pramac Racing Ducati 1:37.453 0.748 / 0.498
6 35 Cal CRUTCHLOW GBR LCR Honda CASTROL Honda 1:37.454 0.749 / 0.001
7 44 Pol ESPARGARO ESP Red Bull KTM Factory Racing KTM 1:37.493 0.788 / 0.039
8 04 Andrea DOVIZIOSO ITA Ducati Team Ducati 1:37.535 0.830 / 0.042
9 42 Alex RINS ESP Team SUZUKI ECSTAR Suzuki 1:37.636 0.931 / 0.101
10 21 Franco MORBIDELLI ITA Petronas Yamaha SRT Yamaha 1:37.674 0.969 / 0.038
11 46 Valentino ROSSI ITA Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP Yamaha 1:37.741 1.036 / 0.067
12 36 Joan MIR ESP Team SUZUKI ECSTAR Suzuki 1:37.784 1.079 / 0.043
13 33 Brad BINDER RSA Red Bull KTM Factory Racing KTM 1:37.396 Q1 / Q1
14 9 Danilo PETRUCCI ITA Ducati Team Ducati 1:37.423 Q1 / 0.027
15 30 Takaaki NAKAGAMI JPN LCR Honda IDEMITSU Honda 1:37.434 Q1 / 0.011
16 41 Aleix ESPARGARO ESP Aprilia Racing Team Gresini Aprilia 1:37.940 Q1 / 0.506
17 88 Miguel OLIVEIRA POR Red Bull KTM Tech 3 KTM 1:37.964 Q1 / 0.024
18 38 Bradley SMITH GBR Aprilia Racing Team Gresini Aprilia 1:37.966 Q1 / 0.002
19 53 Tito RABAT ESP Hublot Reale Avintia Racing Ducati 1:38.029 Q1 / 0.063
20 5 Johann ZARCO FRA Hublot Reale Avintia Racing Ducati 1:38.106 Q1 / 0.077
21 73 Alex MARQUEZ ESP Repsol Honda Team Honda 1:38.256 Q1 / 0.150
22 27 Iker LECUONA ESP Red Bull KTM Tech 3 KTM 1:38.512 Q1 / 0.256

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