Zarco takes German MotoGP pole despite crash

Johann Zarco

Johann Zarco has taken pole position for the German MotoGP with a lap set just before he crashed his Pramac Ducati.

Zarco beat championship-leading Monster Energy Yamaha rider Fabio Quartararo by barely a hundredth of a second at the Sachsenring, with Gresini Aprilia’s Aleix Espargaro third.

Late yellow flags made it difficult to improve at the end of Qualifying 2 and while Jack Miller very nearly managed to do so, he ended up fourth on his Ducati Lenovo entry.

Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda) was fastest after the first flyers with a 1:20.567s, ahead of Aleix Espargaro’s 1:20.754s and Miller’s 1:20.860s.

Quartararo strayed beyond track limits exiting Turn 12 on his initial flyer but clocked a 1:20.437s next time around to be top at the end of the first runs, from Marc Marquez and Jorge Martin (Pramac Ducati), the latter on a 1:20.617s.

Miller committed to a two-stop strategy and was fastest to the second sector at the start of his second run but seemingly made an error through his self-described ‘Achilles heel’, Sector 3.

However, the Queenslander was able to clock a 1:20.508s on his following lap to jump from eighth to second, just as the rest were exiting the pits again.

Quartararo then improved to a 1:20.247s and Aleix Espargaro to a 1:20.447s to go second, before Zarco usurped them both with a 1:20.236s.

Almost as soon as he had done so, he went down at Turn 4 in the 14th minute, triggering yellow flags early in the lap and therefore denying his rivals a chance to improve at a crucial period.

Seconds before the chequered flag, Takaaki Nakagami crashed his Idemitsu LCR Honda at Turn 1, making life even more difficult for the 10 riders still upright.

Somehow, Miller, by then onto his third run, had managed to navigate a course such that he was still in contention for pole.

The man on #43 went faster than Zarco to Sector 2 and while he lost time again in the downhill section, a front row berth was still on the cards.

That was until he had a moment at the final corner and therefore remained fourth on the grid, ahead of Marc Marquez and Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM).

Row 3 will be Martin, Q1 graduate Pol Espargaro (Repsol Honda), and Nakagami.

Miller’s team-mate Francesco Bagnaia wound up 10th, ahead of Alex Rins (Suzuki Ecstar) and Alex Marquez (Castrol LCR Honda).

Back in Q1, Rins was fastest early on with a 1:20.844s and then a 1:20.784s, while Pol Espargaro was second at the end of the first runs on a 1:20.851s.

Joan Mir made it a Suzuki Ecstar one-two with a 1:20.843s at the start of his second run, before Pol Espargaro hit back with a 1:20.700s.

Rins then clocked a 1:20.644s in the second-last minute of the session to secure his advancement along with the Honda rider.

Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM) was first outside the cut and is therefore set to start 13th, ahead of Esponsorama Racing team-mates Luca Marini (Sky VR46 Ducati) and Enea Bastianini (Avintia Ducati).

Row 6 will be Valentino Rossi (Petronas SRT Yamaha), Mir, and Franco Morbidelli (Petronas SRT Yamaha), the latter of whom crashed late in the piece at Turn 13.

Morbidelli’s spill also effectively locked Maverick Viñales into 11th for the session and thus second-last on the grid given it triggered a yellow flag that meant the Monster Energy Yamaha rider’s final push lap would not count.

Viñales’ woes can be traced back to the closing stages of Free Practice 3, when a crash of his own while 10th-fastest gave him no chance to secure direct passage to Q2.

The 30-lap race is due to start on Sunday at 22:00 AEST.

UPDATE: Enea Bastianini penalised

Qualifying: German MotoGP

Pos Num Rider Nat Team Bike Time Gap 1st/Prev
1 5 Johann ZARCO FRA Pramac Racing Ducati 1:20.236
2 20 Fabio QUARTARARO FRA Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP Yamaha 1:20.247 0.011 / 0.011
3 41 Aleix ESPARGARO ESP Aprilia Racing Team Gresini Aprilia 1:20.447 0.211 / 0.200
4 43 Jack MILLER AUS Ducati Lenovo Team Ducati 1:20.508 0.272 / 0.061
5 93 Marc MARQUEZ ESP Repsol Honda Team Honda 1:20.567 0.331 / 0.059
6 88 Miguel OLIVEIRA POR Red Bull KTM Factory Racing KTM 1:20.589 0.353 / 0.022
7 89 Jorge MARTIN ESP Pramac Racing Ducati 1:20.617 0.381 / 0.028
8 44 Pol ESPARGARO ESP Repsol Honda Team Honda 1:20.659 0.423 / 0.042
9 30 Takaaki NAKAGAMI JPN LCR Honda IDEMITSU Honda 1:20.810 0.574 / 0.151
10 63 Francesco BAGNAIA ITA Ducati Lenovo Team Ducati 1:20.811 0.575 / 0.001
11 42 Alex RINS ESP Team SUZUKI ECSTAR Suzuki 1:20.949 0.713 / 0.138
12 73 Alex MARQUEZ ESP LCR Honda CASTROL Honda 1:21.135 0.899 / 0.186
13 33 Brad BINDER RSA Red Bull KTM Factory Racing KTM 1:20.736 Q1 / Q1
14 10 Luca MARINI ITA SKY VR46 Avintia Ducati 1:20.864 Q1 / 0.128
15 23 Enea BASTIANINI ITA Avintia Esponsorama Ducati 1:20.953 Q1 / 0.089
16 46 Valentino ROSSI ITA Petronas Yamaha SRT Yamaha 1:20.972 Q1 / 0.019
17 36 Joan MIR ESP Team SUZUKI ECSTAR Suzuki 1:21.014 Q1 / 0.042
18 21 Franco MORBIDELLI ITA Petronas Yamaha SRT Yamaha 1:21.091 Q1 / 0.077
19 9 Danilo PETRUCCI ITA Tech 3 KTM Factory Racing KTM 1:21.137 Q1 / 0.046
20 27 Iker LECUONA ESP Tech 3 KTM Factory Racing KTM 1:21.154 Q1 / 0.017
21 12 Maverick VIÑALES ESP Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP Yamaha 1:21.165 Q1 / 0.011
22 32 Lorenzo SAVADORI ITA Aprilia Racing Team Gresini Aprilia 1:21.411 Q1 / 0.246

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