MotoGP: Espargaro Breaks Record, Takes Pole Position At Catalunya

MotoGP: Espargaro Breaks Record, Takes Pole Position At Catalunya

© 2024, Roadracing World Publishing, Inc. By David Swarts.

motoGP Comb Results

 

 

 

More, from a press release issued by Dorna:

Espargaro takes fairytale pole to head Bagnaia and Raul Fernandez as Marc Marquez misses the cut

A second pole of the season for Aprilia, a maiden front row for Trackhouse, no ticket to Q2 for #MM93 and a tumble for Martin: the storylines overflow in qualifying

Saturday, 25 May 2024

The fairytale continues for Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing)! After announcing he’ll bow out at the end of the season, he went fastest on Friday and followed it up with pole position at the Gran Premi Monster Energy de Catalunya. Reigning Champion Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati Lenovo Team) is second on the grid by just 0.031s, with a P3 for Raul Fernandez confirmed just after the session after his best lap was reinstated to give both the #25 and Trackhouse Racing their maiden front row.

Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) had celebrated that third in parc ferme before a review showed Raul Fernandez had gone through green panels, not yellow flags, on his best lap, but the KTM rider nevertheless starts fourth and a full 18 places ahead of Le Mans as he bounced back from that in style.

Marc Marquez (Gresini Racing MotoGP™), meanwhile, will face a similar mountain to climb as he did in France, starting P14 after failing to make it through Q1.

Q1: LAST MINUTE LAP RECORD

It was another packed Q1 and another appearance for eight-time World Champion Marc Marquez (Gresini Racing MotoGP™), and it wasn’t smooth sailing this time round either. In France it was Miguel Oliveira who knocked him out of contention and this time round, Oliveira’s Trackhouse Racing teammate Raul Fernandez was one of those who did the same.

The #25 was fastest in the session as both Marc Marquez and teammate Alex Marquez looked for a way through, but a last dash for glory from Fabio Di Giannantonio (Pertamina Enduro VR46 Racing Team) saw the Italian not only depose Raul Fernandez from the top of Q1 but break the lap record, to much delight in the team’s box.

Diggia and Raul Fernandez moved through, leaving Alex Marquez P13 on the grid and Marc Marquez P14 – just ahead of a tougher session for Oliveira in P15 and Marco Bezzecchi (Pertamina Enduro VR46 Racing Team) in 16th.

Q2: DRAMA, LAP RECORD, DRAMA

Once a packed Q2 got underway it was Bagnaia who flew to the top of the timesheets after the first run, setting a 1:38.221 – a strong target for the rest.

In the closing minutes of the session, riders pushed to the limit as ever, and a key mover was Binder as the South African found time to jump to second. But it all went wrong for Prima Pramac Racing late on, with both Martin and teammate Franco Morbidelli crashing at Turn 2 seconds apart. What looked at first like it could be friendly fire was instead two separate incidents at least, and riders both ok.

What was drama for them also proved some drama on the timing screens as the incident brought out the yellow flags, cancelling lap times. One of those was initially Raul Fernandez’ best effort, but after investigation the #25 passes what is a green panel just before it switches to yellow. So that lap was reinstated, putting him P3.

Amongst all that early and late drama, Espargaro was faultless to thread the needle, able to storm up to pole position on his final flying lap.

THE GRID

Behind Espargaro, Bagnaia, Raul Fernandez and Binder comes rookie Pedro Acosta (Red Bull GASGAS Tech3) in fifth, with Diggia in P6. The Italian’s best in Q2 didn’t quite reach the heights of his Q1 effort, which would have put him second on the grid.

P7 goes to Championship leader Martin after that bout of drama, and he has Alex Rins (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP™) alongside him as the #42 put in an impressive Q2. Jack Miller (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) is next up, ahead of Morbidelli and Enea Bastianini (Ducati Lenovo Team). Maverick Viñales (Aprilia Racing) lines up P12 looking for a lot more this weekend to match the #41, with Top Gun not yet finding that form from Texas on home turf.

After another incredible qualifying, some shake ups on the grids set us up for fireworks as key contenders line up up and down the order. Make sure to tune in for Tissot Sprint at 15:00 today, before the Grand Prix at 14:00 tomorrow. See you there!

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