Italian Francesco Bagnaia, who has become an official Ducati rider, took the first pole position of the 2021 MotoGP season at the Grand Prix of Qatar, on the Losail circuit on Saturday, ahead of Frenchman Fabio Quartararo, promoted to Yamaha.
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MotoGP: Quartararo and Zarco have their fangs
Bagnaia, Moto2 champion in 2018 before joining the elite the following year, matched this first pole in the premier motorcycle speed category with the absolute track record in 1 min 52 sec 772/1000.
The Spaniard Maverick Vinales, a Quartararo teammate, will complete the first row on Sunday at 8:00 p.m. local (7:00 p.m. French), ahead of the Italian Valentino Rossi (Yamaha-SRT), the Australian Jack Miller (Ducati) and the second Frenchman Johann Zarco ( Ducati-Pramac).
Mir far behind
The fastest free practice in 1 min 53 sec 387/1000, Miller may regret not having converted this advantage.
The third row goes to the Italian Franco Morbidelli (Yamaha-SRT), to the Spaniard Aleix Espargaro, whose Aprilia is in clear progress, and to the Spaniard Alex Rins (Suzuki).
Slowed down on Friday by difficulties adjusting the electronics of his motorcycle, the reigning champion Joan Mir (Suzuki), who went through the qualifying draft, is only 10th, ahead of the Japanese Takaaki Nakagami (Honda-LCR) and the new Honda rookie, Spaniard Pol Espargaro.
We will also remember the small form of the KTMs (the Portuguese Miguel Oliveira is 15th, the South African Brad Binder 19th, the Italian Danilo Petrucci 20th and the Spaniard Iker Lecuona 21st) and the pretty first "qualifiers" of the Italian beginners Enea Bastianini (Ducati-Avintia), 13th, and Spanish Jorge Martin (Ducati-Pramac), 14th.
1. Francesco Bagnaia (ITA / Ducati) 1: 52.772
2. Fabio Quartararo (FRA / Yamaha) 1: 53.038
3. Maverick Vinales (ESP / Yamaha) 1: 53.088
4. Valentino Rossi (ITA / Yamaha-SRT) 1: 53.114
5. Jack Miller (AUS / Ducati) 1: 53.215
6. Johann Zarco (FRA / Ducati-Pramac) 1: 53.286
7. Franco Morbidelli (ITA / Yamaha-SRT) 1: 53.313
8. Aleix Espargaro (ESP / Aprilia) 1: 53.315
9. Alex Rins (ESP / Suzuki) 1: 53.490
10. Joan Mir (ESP / Suzuki) 1: 53.682
11. Takaaki Nakagami (JPN / Honda-LCR) 1: 53.721
12. Pol Espargaro (ESP / Honda) 1: 53.930
MotoGP: Quartararo and Zarco have their teeth