Bagnaia grabs Aragon MotoGP pole, his title rivals on row two - The Race
MotoGP

Bagnaia grabs Aragon MotoGP pole, his title rivals on row two

Sep 17 2022
By Valentin Khorounzhiy

Francesco Bagnaia led a Ducati front-row lockout in MotoGP qualifying at Aragon, with his title rivals Aleix Espargaro and Fabio Quartararo ending up on row two.

Gresini rider Enea Bastianini led the way after the initial runs in Q2, but Bagnaia delivered a record-breaking 1m46.069s lap to snatch his fifth pole position of the season.

Factory team-mate Jack Miller came closest to deposing Bagnaia but was 0.090s slower, while Bastianini completed the front row, another tenth and a half down.

Aprilia’s Espargaro fought his way through Q1 and made the best of a single representative run in Q2 to take fourth place, half a tenth up on fellow Q1 graduate Johann Zarco (Pramac).

Championship leader Quartararo nearly fell at Turn 2 on his penultimate lap, but held on and managed to salvage a sixth place with his final attempt.

He was followed by Marco Bezzecchi (VR46 Ducati) and Jorge Martin (Pramac Ducati), with Martin having lost his preferred bike to a mechanical failure in the pre-qualifying Saturday afternoon practice.

Suzuki’s Alex Rins headed the KTMs of Brad Binder and Miguel Oliveira and Honda’s sole representative in Q2, LCR rider Takaaki Nakagami.

Binder had hurt his right ankle in FP3 and faced a pre-qualifying fitness check, but passed it and – despite being “not 100 percent, for sure”, according to his team boss Francesco Guidotti – outqualified Oliveira by two tenths and a half.

Marc Marquez – seemingly using the Kalex aluminium swingarm rather than Honda’s normal carbon fibre version – marked his MotoGP return with 13th place on the grid, despite having led Q1 after his initial run.

He had come out of the pits in Q1 trying to follow Espargaro, but Espargaro deliberately ran wide at Turn 1 at the start of his flying lap – which has led to him being placed under investigation for potentially impeding Fabio Di Giannantonio on the outside kerb, although the incident appeared fairly innocuous.

For the next run, Marquez favoured following VR46 Ducati’s Luca Marini, but both were caught out by yellow flags for a Turn 5 crash for Marquez’s Honda team-mate Pol Espargaro.

Marquez therefore missed out on progressing, ending up just over half a tenth behind Zarco, while Marini and Di Giannantonio will join him on the fifth row.

Maverick Vinales consigned himself to 16th place and just his first Q1 exit since Mugello by crashing out at Turn 2, which had also seen falls for Bezzecchi and RNF Yamaha’s Darryn Binder in the pre-qualifying practice session.

Vinales’ crash marked his first grand prix weekend fall of his Aprilia tenure – which had begun at this venue a year prior.

The returning Cal Crutchlow, taking the RNF Yamaha seat vacated by Andrea Dovizioso, was the second-best Yamaha qualifier right away, narrowly outpacing factory rider Franco Morbidelli for 19th place.

The field is down to just 23 riders for the remainder of the weekend, with Suzuki’s Joan Mir having withdrawn on medical advice following Saturday morning’s practice.

Qualifying Results

Pos Name Team Bike Group 1 Group 2
1 Francesco Bagnaia Ducati Lenovo Team Ducati 1m46.069s
2 Jack Miller Ducati Lenovo Team Ducati 1m46.159s
3 Enea Bastianini Gresini Racing MotoGP Ducati 1m46.313s
4 Aleix Espargaró Aprilia Racing Aprilia 1m46.569s 1m46.59s
5 Johann Zarco Pramac Racing Ducati 1m46.843s 1m46.646s
6 Jorge Martin Pramac Racing Ducati 1m46.911s
6 Fabio Quartararo Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP Yamaha 1m46.802s
7 Marco Bezzecchi Mooney VR46 Racing Team Ducati 1m46.852s
9 Alex Rins Team SUZUKI ECSTAR Suzuki 1m46.912s
10 Brad Binder Red Bull KTM Factory Racing KTM 1m46.924s
11 Miguel Oliveira Red Bull KTM Factory Racing KTM 1m47.183s
12 Takaaki Nakagami LCR Honda IDEMITSU Honda 1m47.274s
13 Marc Marquez Repsol Honda Team Honda 1m46.909s
14 Luca Marini Mooney VR46 Racing Team Ducati 1m47.056s
15 Fabio Di Giannantonio Gresini Racing MotoGP Ducati 1m47.119s
16 Maverick Viñales Aprilia Racing Aprilia 1m47.337s
17 Alex Marquez LCR Honda Castrol Honda 1m47.489s
18 Pol Espargaró Repsol Honda Team Honda 1m47.511s
19 Cal Crutchlow WithU Yamaha RNF MotoGP Team Yamaha 1m47.541s
20 Franco Morbidelli Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP Yamaha 1m47.651s
21 Raul Fernandez Tech3 KTM Factory Racing KTM 1m47.671s
22 Remy Gardner Tech3 KTM Factory Racing KTM 1m47.847s
23 Darryn Binder WithU Yamaha RNF MotoGP Team Yamaha 1m49.309s

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