Bagnaia secures pole for the German MotoGP
By Kyle White
Saturday 17th June, 2023 - 8:13pm
Ducati’s Francesco Bagnaia secured pole for the German round of the MotoGP World Championship in a chaotic qualifying shootout at the Sachsenring.
Repsol Honda’s Marc Marquez, who has won 11 times in 11 visits to the circuit and has never been beaten in a MotoGP race there, was seventh after a series of crashes.
The Spaniard had to participate in Q1 after crashing on Friday in second practice, when his wayward Honda machine wiped out Johann Zarco in a frightening collision.
Marquez slid off on the damp track while running wet tyres at the final corner in Q1 with minutes remaining.
He sprinted back to his garage to switch to another RCV fitted with slicks and the gamble paid off, with Marquez making the most of his one flying lap, slotting into second place behind Brad Binder to clinch his place in Q2.
Binder had opted for slicks with five minutes to go and promptly sealed provisional pole on the Red Bull KTM prior to the decisive qualifying shootout.
When Q2 got under way, Marquez suffered his third crash of the day around five minutes into the session after a big high-side at the final corner.
The 30-year-old limped away from the incident and again made his way back to pit lane before venturing out once more with five minutes on the clock, when he was 12th on the leader board.
However, disaster struck again for Marquez, who came off at Turn 1 with five minutes on the clock in his third crash in 25 minutes of qualifying, and his fourth of the weekend overall.
Italy’s Bagnaia, the championship leader, held onto pole after several riders’ fast times in the dying moments were cancelled due to a yellow flag after Zarco came off his Pramac Ducati.
Bagnaia’s time of 1:21.409s was 0.078s ahead of Luca Marini on the VR46 Ducati, with Jack Miller sealing his place on the front row in third on the Red Bull KMT, 0.083s down on the factory Ducati.
Zarco, Bezzecchi (VR46 Ducati) – also a faller in the session – and Jorge Martin on the Pramac Ducati were the top six.
Marquez heads up row three and is joined by his brother Alex (Gresini Ducati) and Brad Binder on the second of the factory Red Bull KTM machines.
Aprilia’s Aleix Espargaro was 10th ahead of Enea Bastianini (Lenovo Ducati) and Fabio Quartararo, who was 12th after making it into Q2 for the first time in four rounds on the Monster Energy Yamaha.
Championship leader Bagnaia is seeking a third successive victory on the Desmosedici GP23 machine and leads the standings by 21 points from Bezzecchi after the first six rounds.