Pol Espargaro on British MotoGP pole after bizarre shortcut incident

Pol Espargaro. Picture: MotoGP.com

Pol Espargaro has taken his first pole for Honda after Jorge Martin eventually lost his fastest lap time in qualifying for the British MotoGP for a blatant shortcut.

Espargaro nailed a 1:58.889s at the start of his second run but looked to have been subsequently blitzed by an astonishing 1:58.008s for Martin in the final minute of Qualifying 2 at Silverstone.

However, the Pramac Ducati rider had been 1.5s up at the second sector that time around, leading to intrigue as to exactly how he had done it given broadcast cameras had not been following the whole lap.

Minutes later, a replay revealed that he had cut the circuit through the Vale/Club complex, but it still took significant time after that for the lap to be officially cancelled.

The change to the classification put the #44 Repsol Honda entry back on pole, ahead of the Ducati Lenovo Team’s Francesco Bagnaia and championship leader Fabio Quartararo on his Monster Energy Yamaha.

Quartararo had been on top after the first flyers in Q2 with a 1:58.990s, the fastest lap of the weekend to that point.

Bagnaia sat second on a 1:59.260s, eight hundredths better than he had gone on his initial push lap, with Martin third on a 1:59.273s, from Pol Espargaro on a 1:59.609s and Jack Miller (Ducati Lenovo Team) on a 1:59.640s.

Miller kicked off the second runs with a 1:59.368s which moved #43 up to fourth, before Pol Espargaro jumped to first position with the 1:58.889s.

It was then that Martin set his unbelievable time, before Quartararo improved marginally to a 1:58.925s, although not enough to improve from what was fourth at that point, until #89’s fastest lap got cancelled.

Martin was officially fourth all told on a 1:59.074s, while Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda) and Aleix Espargaro (Gresini Aprilia) got in late efforts to take fifth and sixth, respectively.

Miller ended up seventh, ahead of Valentino Rossi (Petronas SRT Yamaha), Johann Zarco (Pramac Ducati), Alex Rins (Suzuki Ecstar), Joan Mir (Suzuki Ecstar), and Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM).

Back in Q1, Rins and then Zarco managed to get themselves out of a hole with the chequered flag out.

Enea Bastianini (Avintia Esponsorama Ducati) was fastest on a first-run 1:59.553s when he crashed at Abbey, a spill which in fact ruined a flying lap for Rins due to the yellow flag which it triggered in Sector 3.

However, the Suzuki rider regrouped to set a 1:59.509s on his final lap, jumping from fourth to the top in the process.

Zarco then came through to clock a 1:59.288s which bumped Bastianini out of Q2 and thus consigned the rookie to 13th on the grid, where he is set to start alongside team-mate Luca Marini (Sky VR46 Esponsorama Ducati) and Takaaki Nakagami (Idemitsu LCR Honda).

Danilo Petrucci (Tech3 KTM) will file up in 16th, from Alex Marquez (Castrol LCR Honda), Iker Lecuona (Tech3 KTM), Cal Crutchlow (Monster Energy Yamaha), Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM), and Jake Dixon (Petronas SRT Yamaha).

Lorenzo Savadori (Gresini Aprilia) was withdrawn before Free Practice 3 due to the ankle injury which he sustained in the Michelin Grand Prix of Styria.

Race start at Silverstone is due on Sunday at 22:00 AEST, with 20 laps the journey.

Qualifying: British MotoGP

Pos Num Rider Nat Team Bike Time Gap 1st/Prev
1 44 Pol ESPARGARO ESP Repsol Honda Team Honda 1:58.889  
2 63 Francesco BAGNAIA ITA Ducati Lenovo Team Ducati 1:58.911 0.022 / 0.022
3 20 Fabio QUARTARARO FRA Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP Yamaha 1:58.925 0.036 / 0.014
4 89 Jorge MARTIN ESP Pramac Racing Ducati 1:59.074 0.185 / 0.149
5 93 Marc MARQUEZ ESP Repsol Honda Team Honda 1:59.086 0.197 / 0.012
6 41 Aleix ESPARGARO ESP Aprilia Racing Team Gresini Aprilia 1:59.273 0.384 / 0.187
7 43 Jack MILLER AUS Ducati Lenovo Team Ducati 1:59.368 0.479 / 0.095
8 46 Valentino ROSSI ITA Petronas Yamaha SRT Yamaha 1:59.531 0.642 / 0.163
9 5 Johann ZARCO FRA Pramac Racing Ducati 1:59.579 0.690 / 0.048
10 42 Alex RINS ESP Team SUZUKI ECSTAR Suzuki 1:59.639 0.750 / 0.060
11 36 Joan MIR ESP Team SUZUKI ECSTAR Suzuki 1:59.763 0.874 / 0.124
12 33 Brad BINDER RSA Red Bull KTM Factory Racing KTM 1:59.977 Q1 / Q1
13 23 Enea BASTIANINI ITA Avintia Esponsorama Ducati 1:59.553 Q1 / 0.044
14 10 Luca MARINI ITA SKY VR46 Avintia Ducati 1:59.764 Q1 / 0.211
15 30 Takaaki NAKAGAMI JPN LCR Honda IDEMITSU Honda 1:59.881 Q1 / 0.117
16 9 Danilo PETRUCCI ITA Tech 3 KTM Factory Racing KTM 1:59.997 Q1 / 0.116
17 73 Alex MARQUEZ ESP LCR Honda CASTROL Honda 2:00.117 Q1 / 0.120
18 27 Iker LECUONA ESP Tech 3 KTM Factory Racing KTM 2:00.131 Q1 / 0.014
19 35 Cal CRUTCHLOW GBR Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP Yamaha 2:00.217 Q1 / 0.086
20 88 Miguel OLIVEIRA POR Red Bull KTM Factory Racing KTM 2:00.391 Q1 / 0.174
21 96 Jake DIXON GBR Petronas Yamaha SRT Yamaha 2:00.869 Q1 / 0.478

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