Bagnaia beats Quartararo to pole with new lap record at Jerez

2022-04-30 13:39
The Ducati rider demolishes the lap record, a staggering 0.453 clear of the rest to take pole ahead of the reigning Champion
Saturday, 30 April 2022
What. A. Lap. History has been made at the Circuito de Jerez-Angel Nieto after Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati Lenovo Team) set a new all-time lap record of 1:36.170, an incredible near half second clear of his main competition, aka reigning Champion Fabio Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP™). The Italian denied the number 20 a fifth straight pole position in Andalucia, with a late charge from Aprilia Racing's Aleix Espargaro enough to see him snatch third and another front row.

There were plenty of disgruntled faces at the conclusion of Q1, most notably from the man tied on points at the top of the World Championship: Team Suzuki Ecstar's Alex Rins could only manage 14th on the grid and will be desperately hoping he can conjure up some first lap magic again on Sunday. Repsol Honda Team's Pol Espargaro missed out on a Q2 place right at the end following a late lap from Johann Zarco (Pramac Racing), and KTM had a day to forget as well with their factory stars Brad Binder and Miguel Oliveira struggling down in 15th and 21st.

Zarco topped the session, with rookie Marco Bezzecchi (Mooney VR46 Racing Team) once more an impressive nuisance for the veterans on Saturday.

Before the first flying laps had even come in we saw drama in Q2 when Pramac Racing's Jorge Martin crashed out at the first corner. A slight bobble saw him crash out and sprint back for his second bike, but the fall had consequences as it forced the cancellation of the majority of laps thanks to the Yellow Flags, meaning Joan Mir’s (Team Suzuki Ecstar) 1:37.616 was the fastest of the five riders whose laptimes still stood.

On the second flying laps, a familiar usual duo were down to business and at it again. Bagnaia took top spot for a split second before Quartararo back took over with a 1:36.790. The pair asserted their dominance early too, sitting four tenths clear of Aleix Espargaro.

Bagnaia had company for his first run as Repsol Honda's Marc Marquez latched himself onto the rear of his GP22, but the number 63's crew got the Italian back out in rapid time, and he was able to shake off the close attention of Marquez. The eight-time World Champion then switched his focus to Quartararo instead, gluing himself to the rear wheel of the reigning World Champion's Yamaha M1.

History was then made as Bagnaia smashed everyone out of the park with a sensational 1:36.170, a jaw-dropping six tenths clear of Quartararo, as hopes of a fifth straight Jerez pole began slipping through his fingers. The Frenchman improved his laptime but was still four tenths adrift of the brilliant Bagnaia, whose first pole since the Algarve GP last year was an arguably perfect and unbeatable lap.

With the chequered flag out, Aleix Espargaro was able to dig deep to grab the final front row spot out of the hands of Jack Miller (Ducati Lenovo Team) too, the Aprilia rider making it a third top three performance in the last four rounds.

The Grid
Bagnaia back to his best and Quartararo denied, looking for some revenge, sets an incredible stage for Sunday. Aleix Espargaro starts alongside them on the front row, and he has Marquez, Miller and Johann Zarco (Pramac Racing) on Row 2 just behind him.

Fronting the third row of the grid will be Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda Idemitsu), ahead of the impressive rookie Marco Bezzecchi (Mooney VR46 Racing), who backed up his second row start last weekend with another sizzling Saturday performance. The final spot on the third row will be occupied by Mir after a late crash in Q2 cost him dear, with the same going for Martin. The Spaniard, usually a Q2 master, rounds out the top ten.

Similar disappointment is there for Enea Bastianini too. A crash for the Gresini rider on his final flying lap meant he has to settle for 11th on the grid, ahead of Maverick Viñales (Aprilia Racing) in 12th.

That's a wrap on Saturday in Jerez, and there is plenty, plenty in store on Sunday. The front two on the grid teases a classic duel, some are left looking for more, and the grandstands will be packed. Tune in at 14:00 (GMT +2) as the Circuito de Jerez-Angel Nieto hosts another incredible MotoGP™ race.
MotoGP™ front row: Quartararo, Bagnaia and Aleix Espargaro
1 Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati Lenovo Team) - Ducati - 1'36.170
2 Fabio Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP™) - Yamaha - +0.453
3 Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing) - Aprilia - +0.763

Francesco Bagnaia: "I think it’s my best lap time ever, because everything was perfect, I tried to push, and I didn’t make any mistakes. Normally when you push like this, it’s easy to go a bit wide, maybe in a corner, but today everything was perfect. I had the luck to race in Portimao because I was feeling great again with my bike, the feeling was back in the braking, and we started well this weekend. Every session, I was improving a bit, and today when I was in FP4, my feeling was really good."
It's the first time Quartararo misses out on pole in Jerez
Aleix Espargaro is on the front row again
Zarco was top Independent Team rider in P6
Ogura edges out Arbolino and Lowes for maiden Moto2™ pole
The front row is split by just 0.032, with Moto2™ seeing a new name start from the front - and Canet ahead of Vietti
Ai Ogura (Idemitsu Honda Team Asia) took his first Moto2™ pole position at the Gran Premio Red Bull de España, the Japanese rider just edging out Elf Marc VDS Racing's Toby Arbolino and Sam Lowes as an incredibly close front row is covered by just 0.032 at Jerez. It's Ogura's second career pole and first in the intermediate category as he aims for that first Moto2™ win on Sunday.

There were a few surprise names looking for a way through Q1, including Indonesia winner Somkiat Chantra (Idemitsu Honda Team Asia), who did top the session, and Portugal podium finisher Jorge Navarro (Flexbox HP 40) in second. The other two moving through were Albert Arenas (Autosolar GASGAS Aspar Team) and Bo Bendsneyder (Pertamina Mandalika SAG Team)... leaving Cameron Beaubier (American Racing) out of Q2 a week on from his front row start on the Algarve.

Arbolino and Lowes were among the quickest throughout Q2, and the former moved into provisional pole position with a 1:41.299 at the halfway mark. His British teammate set a 1:41.321 just moments later, giving Marc VDS a one-two at the time, before Ogura struck.

The Japanese rider, who is second in the World Championship and just two points ahead of Arbolino, then set a 1:41.289 to put himself 0.010s clear of the Italian and 0.032s ahead of Lowes. From thereon out, the front row was decided.

The Grid
Behind the Ogura, Arbolino, Lowes triple threat, Flexbox HP40’s Aron Canet pulled off an impressive Saturday. Only six days after breaking his left radius bone in the multi-rider crash in Portugal, he was also in the fight for pole position in Spain. Canet’s 1:41.369 had him fastest until Arbolino took over, and is good enough for fourth on the starting grid in the end.

Also on Row 2 will be Fermin Aldeguer (Lightech Speed Up) and Moto2™ World Championship leader Celestino Vietti (Mooney VR46 Racing Team), with Chantra coming through Q1 and ultimately qualifying seventh. Bendsneyder takes P8, ahead of Red Bull KTM Ajo's Augusto Fernandez and Pedro Acosta.

Jake Dixon (Autosolar GASGAS Aspar Team) was fastest in all three Free Practice sessions but the Briton crashed as he chased an improvement in the final two minutes of Q2, set to start 11th.

The Moto2™ field is ready for a showdown to remember in Jerez, and we're back to scheduled programming, so tune in for the intermediate class race at 12:20 (GMT +2)!
1 Ai Ogura (Idemitsu Honda Team Asia) - Kalex - 1'41.289
2 Tony Arbolino (Elf Marc VDS Racing Team) - Kalex - +0.010
3 Sam Lowes (Elf Marc VDS Racing Team) - Kalex - +0.032

Source: Dorna Sports

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