MotoGP: Marini Takes Career-First Pole Position, In Indonesia

MotoGP: Marini Takes Career-First Pole Position, In Indonesia

© 2023, Roadracing World Publishing, Inc. By David Swarts.

MotoGP Comb Qual




More, from a press release issued by Dorna:

Title contenders falter as Marini takes maiden pole to head Viñales

Bagnaia goes out in Q1 as Martin AND Bezzecchi crash in Q2, leaving Pecco P13, Bezzecchi P9 and Martin P6

Saturday, 14 October 2023

Luca Marini (Mooney VR46 Racing Team) really chose his moment to take a stunning maiden MotoGP™ pole. Aprilia came into super Saturday looking for a 1-2, reigning Champion Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati Lenovo Team) sought passage from Q1, Jorge Martin (Prima Pramac Racing) looked to capitalise and Marco Bezzecchi (Mooney VR46 Racing Team) seemed like he could make life even more complicated for those just ahead of him in the Championship fight. But no, Saturday morning belongs to Marini as he emerged drama free from Q1 to take that impressive pole position. Main character energy, in the best way.

Aprilia were denied their 1-2 but complete the front row, continuing to look incredibly strong as Maverick Viñales (Aprilia Racing) takes second and Aleix Espargaro third.

Martin? He’s the first of the top three in the Championship, but down in sixth after a crash mid-way through Q2. Bezzecchi crashed earlier in the session and could only recover to ninth. Bagnaia, meanwhile, starts in P13 after missing the cut in Q1 for the first time this season, and in somewhat awkward circumstances. Read on!


The. Drama. Until the final minute and a half, it looked like everything was going more or less to plan for Bagnaia. He’d gone top before Marini pipped him to it with a new lap record, but then the worst kind of valid but awkward competition appeared: his teammate, Enea Bastianini (Ducati Lenovo Team). The ‘Beast’ put in a seriously hot lap of Pertamina Mandalika Circuit, and that was that: Pecco was out of Q2 for the first time this season. 

Bastianini headed through just behind Marini, with Championship leader Bagnaia set to start P13 for both the Tissot Sprint and the Grand Prix race. Just to salt the wound a little more, both Marini AND Bastianini also have Long Laps to take on Sunday.


There was even more drama almost immediately as Bezzecchi took a tumble, rider ok and heading back to the box but racing against time and the pain barrier as he remains in recovery from that collarbone break.

The next drama was for Martin. He headed out wide late on on a lap, unsettled the bike and slid out across the run off. The race against time was even tighter for the number 89, having crashed later in the session than Bezzecchi and the clock ticking down.

Meanwhile, Aprilia were making hay at the top of the pile. Aleix Espargaro led the way after the first runs and then improved his own time on the second, but Viñales had something more on Saturday morning and was able to hit back. Finally, right at the end of the session, Marini unleashed the pole position lap: a new lap record and the first ever lap in 1:29s at Mandalika. That was that, with Aprilia bumped down to second and third.


Behind Marini, Viñales and Aleix Espargaro, Fabio Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP™) heads the second row after a strong performance at a venue he likewise impressed at last year. He’s got Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) alongside in that special Springboks helmet, with Martin at the end of Row 2.

Row three sees Fabio Di Giannantonio (Gresini Racing MotoGP™) take seventh and pip Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team), with Bezzecchi moving up late on to take P9.

Jack Miller (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) was the rider relegated to P10 with that late move, with the Aussie ahead of Bastianini and Miguel Oliveira (CryptoDATA RNF MotoGP™ Team). Then comes Bagnaia. Can the reigning Champion stay cool under pressure? He certainly did in Japan.

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