Espargaro breaks lap record in Catalan MotoGP qualifying, Miller 11th

Aleix Espargaro. Picture: MotoGP.com

Aprilia rider Aleix Espargaro has broken the All Time Lap Record on his way to pole position at the Catalan MotoGP.

He beat Francesco Bagnaia by a slim margin in Qualifying 2 at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya while the latter’s Ducati Lenovo team-mate, Jack Miller, ended up 11th.

With Enea Bastianini (Gresini Ducati) failing to get out of Qualifying 1, pole position was essentially a contest between Aleix Espargaro, Monster Energy Yamaha’s Fabio Quartararo, and Bagnaia.

Those three were covered by just 0.012s after their first runs, Quartararo the pace-setter with a 1:39.055s from the Ducati pilot and his Aprilia counterpart.

Bagnaia went to the top at the start of his second run with a 1:38.787s, 0.016s slower than Aleix Espargaro had gone when he broke the circuit’s outright lap record in Free Practice 3, but that marker would not stand.

Instead, Aleix Espargaro further lowered the record time to a 1:38.742s when he headed back out and, despite an error on his last lap which left him somewhat vulnerable, that was the pole time.

Bagnaia did in fact find more pace himself, but only enough to set a 1:38.773s, while Quartararo secured the other front row berth with a 1:38.959s.

Row 2 is an all-Ducati affair comprised of Johann Zarco (Prima Pramac), Fabio Di Giannantonio (Gresini), and Jorge Martin (Prima Pramac), with the top 10 rounded out by Alex Rins (Suzuki Ecstar), Maverick Viñales (Aprilia Racing), Luca Marini (Mooney VR46 Ducati), and Pol Espargaro (Repsol Honda).

Miller was 0.781s off the pace in 11th after clocking a 1:39.523s on his final run, with Row 4 completed by Takaaki Nakagami (Idemitsu LCR Honda).

Nakagami had joined Viñales in escaping Qualifying 1 but Bastianini did not, and is set to start from 14th.

Remy Gardner (Tech3 KTM) earned 20th on the grid, four spots up on team-mate Raul Fernandez, with a 1:40.113s which was just over a second away from the Q1 top two cut-off.

Alex Marquez (Castrol LCR Honda) did not qualify after a high-speed crash at Turn 14 in Free Practice 4.

Race start is scheduled for Sunday night at 22:00 AEST.

Qualifying: Catalan MotoGP

Pos Num Rider Nat Team Bike Time Gap 1st/prev Session
1 41 Aleix ESPARGARO SPA Aprilia Racing Aprilia 1:38.742   Q2
2 63 Francesco BAGNAIA ITA Ducati Lenovo Team Ducati 1:38.773 0.031/0.031 Q2
3 20 Fabio QUARTARARO FRA Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP Yamaha 1:38.959 0.217/0.186 Q2
4 5 Johann ZARCO FRA Prima Pramac Racing Ducati 1:39.027 0.285/0.068 Q2
5 49 Fabio DI GIANNANTONIO ITA Gresini Racing MotoGP Ducati 1:39.099 0.357/0.072 Q2
6 89 Jorge MARTIN SPA Prima Pramac Racing Ducati 1:39.142 0.400/0.043 Q2
7 42 Alex RINS SPA Team SUZUKI ECSTAR Suzuki 1:39.145 0.403/0.003 Q2
8 12 Maverick VIÑALES SPA Aprilia Racing Aprilia 1:39.397 0.655/0.252 Q2
9 10 Luca MARINI ITA Mooney VR46 Racing Team Ducati 1:39.451 0.709/0.054 Q2
10 44 Pol ESPARGARO SPA Repsol Honda Team Honda 1:39.477 0.735/0.026 Q2
11 43 Jack MILLER AUS Ducati Lenovo Team Ducati 1:39.523 0.781/0.046 Q2
12 30 Takaaki NAKAGAMI JPN LCR Honda IDEMITSU Honda 1:39.611 0.869/0.088 Q2
13 72 Marco BEZZECCHI ITA Mooney VR46 Racing Team Ducati 1:39.240 0.024 Q1
14 23 Enea BASTIANINI ITA Gresini Racing MotoGP Ducati 1:39.246 0.030/0.006 Q1
15 33 Brad BINDER RSA Red Bull KTM Factory Racing KTM 1:39.249 0.033/0.003 Q1
16 88 Miguel OLIVEIRA POR Red Bull KTM Factory Racing KTM 1:39.420 0.204/0.171 Q1
17 36 Joan MIR SPA Team SUZUKI ECSTAR Suzuki 1:39.664 0.448/0.244 Q1
18 21 Franco MORBIDELLI ITA Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP Yamaha 1:39.884 0.668/0.220 Q1
19 04 Andrea DOVIZIOSO ITA WithU Yamaha RNF MotoGP Team Yamaha 1:40.071 0.855/0.187 Q1
20 87 Remy GARDNER AUS Tech3 KTM Factory Racing KTM 1:40.113 0.897/0.042 Q1
21 6 Stefan BRADL GER Repsol Honda Team Honda 1:40.298 1.082/0.185 Q1
22 51 Michele PIRRO ITA Aruba.it Racing Ducati 1:40.351 1.135/0.053 Q1
23 40 Darryn BINDER RSA WithU Yamaha RNF MotoGP Team Yamaha 1:40.373 1.157/0.022 Q1
24 25 Raul FERNANDEZ SPA Tech3 KTM Factory Racing KTM 1:40.587 1.371/0.214 Q1
25 73 Alex MARQUEZ SPA LCR Honda CASTROL Honda      

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