Barcelona MotoGP: Quartararo beats Marquez and Vinales to pole

Petronas Yamaha rookie Fabio Quartararo secured the second pole position of his first MotoGP season in Catalan Grand Prix qualifying at Barcelona.

Quartararo, who bagged his sole Moto2 win at the same venue last year and had arm pump surgery in the lead-up to this weekend, beat Honda’s championship leader Marc Marquez by 0.015 seconds.

The second Petronas rider Franco Morbidelli had suffered a heavy crash in the Saturday morning practice but then dominated the first qualifying segment, and took the early lead in Q2 with a 1m39.758s.

He and Quartararo had made it a Petronas Yamaha one-two after the first runs, and when the works Yamaha of Maverick Vinales then went 0.001s quicker than Morbidelli, Quartararo lowered the benchmark to a 1m49.484s.

Marquez slotted into second shortly afterwards, and while Quartararo came up a few hundredths short of his own benchmark on his final attempt, the reigning champion had a big moment at the long Turn 4 right-hander on his chequered-flag effort and had to settle for second.

Vinales secured his first front row start since Argentina in third, ahead of the fellow Yamahas of Morbidelli – who couldn’t improve on his second Q2 run – and Valentino Rossi.

Andrea Dovizioso moved up the order at the chequered flag to finish as the top Ducati in sixth, just ahead of works team-mate Danilo Petrucci – who had been third in the order when he crashed at the downhill Turn 5 left-hander.

Suzuki’s Alex Rins, quickest across practice, was another rider left to rue a crash, falling at the sharp Turn 10 left-hander late on and consigning himself to eighth on the grid.

LCR Honda rider Cal Crutchlow, works Honda man Jorge Lorenzo, Rins’ team-mate Joan Mir and the KTM of Pol Espargaro completed a Q2 pecking order split by just 0.941s.

Pramac Ducati rider Jack Miller had set the initial pace in Q1, but crashed immediately afterwards at Turn 5.

The Australian remounted his bike, returned to the pits, and would improve his lap time on his second run, but qualified only 14th in the end – a place behind rookie team-mate Francesco Bagnaia on the older-spec Desmosedici, the Italian having come up a tenth short of advancing to Q2 at Mir’s expense.

After his impressive Friday showing, LCR’s Takaaki Nakagami will only line up 16th on the grid, beaten also by the Avintia Ducati of Karel Abraham.

Aleix Espargaro qualified as the top Aprilia in 17th, with works team-mate Andrea Iannone last on the grid – also behind the team’s wildcard Bradley Smith – after his RS-GP slowed with a mechanical problem while exiting the pit garage on the second run.

Starting grid

Pos Rider Team Time Gap
1 Fabio Quartararo Petronas Yamaha 1m39.484s
2 Marc Marquez Honda 1m39.499s 0.015s
3 Maverick Vinales Yamaha 1m39.710s 0.226s
4 Franco Morbidelli Petronas Yamaha 1m39.711s 0.227s
5 Valentino Rossi Yamaha 1m39.753s 0.269s
6 Andrea Dovizioso Ducati 1m39.777s 0.293s
7 Danilo Petrucci Ducati 1m39.844s 0.360s
8 Alex Rins Suzuki 1m39.870s 0.386s
9 Cal Crutchlow LCR Honda 1m40.151s 0.667s
10 Jorge Lorenzo Honda 1m40.199s 0.715s
11 Joan Mir Suzuki 1m40.240s 0.756s
12 Pol Espargaro KTM 1m40.425s 0.941s
13 Francesco Bagnaia Pramac Ducati 1m40.167s
14 Jack Miller Pramac Ducati 1m40.271s
15 Karel Abraham Avintia Ducati 1m40.349s
16 Takaaki Nakagami LCR Honda 1m40.362s
17 Aleix Espargaro Aprilia 1m40.400s
18 Johann Zarco KTM 1m40.427s
19 Tito Rabat Avintia Ducati 1m40.682s
20 Miguel Oliveira Tech3 KTM 1m40.752s
21 Hafizh Syahrin Tech3 KTM 1m40.839s
22 Bradley Smith Aprilia 1m41.232s
23 Sylvain Guintoli Suzuki 1m41.270s
24 Andrea Iannone Aprilia 1m41.748s

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