Morbidelli takes maiden MotoGP pole in Barcelona

Franco Morbidelli pic:

Franco Morbidelli has claimed a first MotoGP pole in a Yamaha front row lockout at the Catalunya Grand Prix.

Morbidelli was the only man to get into the 1:38s around the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, edging Petronas SRT team-mate Fabio Quartararo out of top spot after the chequered flag.

Valentino Rossi put #46 into third just hours after his re-signing with Yamaha, and a place on the grid with SRT next year, was finally confirmed.

Jack Miller was the odd man out in a top five rounded out by Maverick Viñales, the Australian earning fourth on the grid with his Pramac Ducati after coming from Qualifying 1.

His championship-leading stablemate Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team), however, is mired all the way back in 17th.

Viñales (Monster Energy Yamaha) was fastest after the initial flyers with a 1:39.655s but Morbidelli was on top once the first runs were done on a 1:39.110s.

Having gone the long way, Miller opted to use his only remaining new soft rear Michelin for his first run, at the end of which he was second having clocked a 1:39.225s, ahead of Johann Zarco (Esponsorama Ducati), Viñales, Pol Espargaro (Red Bull KTM Factory), and Rossi.

Quartararo had made an early error but jumped off the bottom to take up second with a 1:39.192s at the start of his second run, then moved to provisional pole with a 1:39.008s on his next flyer.

Morbidelli could only respond with a 1:39.140s before Rossi (Monster Energy Yamaha) elevated himself to third with a 1:39.129s.

The former would not be denied, however, as he laid down a 1:38.798s just after the chequered flag came out to bag a premier class pole for the very first time.

Miller had nothing left having had to undertake his second run with used tyres front and rear but his earlier effort stood up for fourth.

He will be joined on Row 2 by Viñales, who set a best of 1:39.371s, and Zarco, the Frenchman having logged a very late 1:39.378s.

Row 3 will be Pol Espargaro, Joan Mir (Suzuki Ecstar), and Danilo Petrucci (Ducati Team).

The fourth row is made up by Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Factory), Q1 graduate Takaaki Nakagami (Idemitsu LCR Honda), and Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM Tech3), the latter of whom had a mid-session crash at Turn 10.

Alex Rins (Suzuki Ecstar) was on to make it to Qualifying 2 until he was usurped by Nakagami well after the chequered flag and is set to start 13th, next to Francesco Bagnaia (Pramac Ducati) and Aleix Espargaro (Gresini Aprilia).

Castrol LCR Honda’s Cal Crutchlow ended up 16th and is due to share Row 6 with Dovizioso and Alex Marquez (Repsol Honda).

The 24-lap race is set to kick off on Sunday at the slightly later time of 23:00 AEST.

Qualifying: Catalunya MotoGP

Pos Num Rider Nat Team Bike Time Gap 1st/Prev
1 21 Franco MORBIDELLI ITA Petronas Yamaha SRT Yamaha 1:38.798
2 20 Fabio QUARTARARO FRA Petronas Yamaha SRT Yamaha 1:39.008 0.210 / 0.210
3 46 Valentino ROSSI ITA Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP Yamaha 1:39.129 0.331 / 0.121
4 43 Jack MILLER AUS Pramac Racing Ducati 1:39.225 0.427 / 0.096
5 12 Maverick VIÑALES ESP Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP Yamaha 1:39.371 0.573 / 0.146
6 5 Johann ZARCO FRA Esponsorama Racing Ducati 1:39.378 0.580 / 0.007
7 44 Pol ESPARGARO ESP Red Bull KTM Factory Racing KTM 1:39.495 0.697 / 0.117
8 36 Joan MIR ESP Team SUZUKI ECSTAR Suzuki 1:39.628 0.830 / 0.133
9 9 Danilo PETRUCCI ITA Ducati Team Ducati 1:39.641 0.843 / 0.013
10 33 Brad BINDER RSA Red Bull KTM Factory Racing KTM 1:39.659 0.861 / 0.018
11 30 Takaaki NAKAGAMI JPN LCR Honda IDEMITSU Honda 1:39.713 0.915 / 0.054
12 88 Miguel OLIVEIRA POR Red Bull KTM Tech 3 KTM 1:40.188 1.390 / 0.475
13 42 Alex RINS ESP Team SUZUKI ECSTAR Suzuki 1:39.751 Q1 / Q1
14 63 Francesco BAGNAIA ITA Pramac Racing Ducati 1:39.777 Q1 / 0.026
15 41 Aleix ESPARGARO ESP Aprilia Racing Team Gresini Aprilia 1:39.973 Q1 / 0.196
16 35 Cal CRUTCHLOW GBR LCR Honda CASTROL Honda 1:39.988 Q1 / 0.015
17 04 Andrea DOVIZIOSO ITA Ducati Team Ducati 1:40.109 Q1 / 0.121
18 73 Alex MARQUEZ ESP Repsol Honda Team Honda 1:40.164 Q1 / 0.055
19 27 Iker LECUONA ESP Red Bull KTM Tech 3 KTM 1:40.490 Q1 / 0.326
20 6 Stefan BRADL GER Repsol Honda Team Honda 1:40.721 Q1 / 0.231
21 38 Bradley SMITH GBR Aprilia Racing Team Gresini Aprilia 1:40.838 Q1 / 0.117
22 53 Tito RABAT ESP Esponsorama Racing Ducati 1:41.013 Q1 / 0.175

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