Quartararo claims fourth straight Jerez pole, Marquez 14th - The Race
MotoGP

Quartararo claims fourth straight Jerez pole, Marquez 14th

May 1 2021
By Valentin Khorounzhiy

MotoGP championship leader Fabio Quartararo took pole position for the Spanish Grand Prix at Jerez, narrowly seeing off fellow Yamaha rider Franco Morbidelli.

It meant Quartararo maintained his perfect MotoGP qualifying record at Jerez, having now taken four poles in four attempts at the Spanish venue.

A change in temperature and wind speed seemed to catch out several riders right in the lead-up to qualifying, with the pre-qualifying FP4 session punctuated by a number of late crashes.

The two Aprilia riders crashed to kick off the chaos – although Espargaro had also fallen at the start of FP4 – before Suzuki rider Alex Rins, Honda’s Pol Espargaro and Tech3 KTM’s Danilo Petrucci followed suit.

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Pol Espargaro’s fall was particularly nasty, coming at high speed at the same corner – the Turn 7 right-hander – that also brought upon Marc Marquez’s shunt earlier today.

When the pole shoot-out began, Quartararo got the early advantage, leading ex-team-mate Morbidelli by 0.005s after the initial round of laps.

He then improved right as the chequered flag flew, stretching his lead over Morbidelli to 0.057s.

The Petronas Yamaha man had no response and settled for second, which still represented a great return given he’d unexpectedly found himself having to fight through Q1.

Morbidelli had posted two laps in FP3 that were easily good enough for an automatic Q2 spot. But the first one was deleted for track limits immediately, and then his second lap was chalked off after a post-session investigation, and therefore Morbidelli was consigned to the first segment of qualifying.

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Yet he advanced with ease, doing so alongside the KTM of Brad Binder, who was the Austrian marque’s sole Q2 representative.

Ducati rider Jack Miller, who was the beneficiary of Morbidelli’s FP3 cancellations and got a direct Q2 ticket, as a result, made the most of it by completing the front row, having followed team-mate Francesco Bagnaia on his fastest lap.

Bagnaia himself then moved up to fourth place at the chequered flag, with Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda) and Johann Zarco (Pramac Ducati) joining him on the front row.

Maverick Vinales was only seventh for Yamaha, with Aleix Espargaro ninth and the two Suzukis of Alex Rins and Joan Mir completing the top 10, despite Mir being just 0.399s off the pole time.

Binder and Honda wildcard Stefan Bradl rounded out the Q2 classification.

Despite his FP4 crash, Pol Espargaro got his first qualifying win over new team-mate Marquez, but the factory Honda pair had to settle for 13th and 14th respectively.

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It marked Marquez’s first Q1 exit since 2015, but the Spaniard will have been relieved to avoid major injury in his FP3 crash, having been to hospital for a CT scan that uncovered no substantial damage.

The Honda duo were supposed to be even further back, as Binder’s KTM team-mate Miguel Oliveira was just 0.022s behind the South African after following Binder on his final Q1 lap. But, having already missed out on Q2, Oliveira then had the lap chalked off for track limits, and was relegated to the sixth row, allowing Avintia Ducati rookie Enea Bastianini to join the Hondas on row five instead.

Valentino Rossi followed his Petronas Yamaha team-mate Morbidelli in Q1 but could only place seventh-fastest in the session, meaning he has qualified no higher than 17th for a third consecutive event.

Qualifying Results

Pos Name Team Bike Group 1 Group 2
1 Fabio Quartararo Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP Yamaha 1m36.755s
2 Franco Morbidelli Petronas Yamaha SRT Yamaha 1m36.916s 1m36.812s
3 Jack Miller Ducati Lenovo Team Ducati 1m36.86s
4 Francesco Bagnaia Ducati Lenovo Team Ducati 1m36.96s
5 Takaaki Nakagami LCR Honda IDEMITSU Honda 1m37.008s
6 Johann Zarco Pramac Racing Ducati 1m37.054s
7 Maverick Viñales Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP Yamaha 1m37.07s
8 Aleix Espargaró Aprilia Racing Team Gresini Aprilia 1m37.085s
9 Alex Rins Team SUZUKI ECSTAR Suzuki 1m37.124s
10 Joan Mir Team SUZUKI ECSTAR Suzuki 1m37.154s
11 Brad Binder Red Bull KTM Factory Racing KTM 1m37.35s 1m37.467s
12 Stefan Bradl Repsol Honda Team Honda 1m37.502s
13 Pol Espargaró Repsol Honda Team Honda 1m37.407s
14 Marc Marquez Repsol Honda Team Honda 1m37.489s
15 Enea Bastianini Avintia Esponsorama Racing Ducati 1m37.675s
16 Miguel Oliveira Red Bull KTM Factory Racing KTM 1m37.746s
17 Valentino Rossi Petronas Yamaha SRT Yamaha 1m37.915s
18 Luca Marini SKY VR46 Avintia Team Ducati 1m37.925s
19 Danilo Petrucci Tech3 KTM Factory Racing KTM 1m38.065s
20 Alex Marquez LCR Honda Castrol Honda 1m38.069s
21 Iker Lecuona Tech3 KTM Factory Racing KTM 1m38.139s
22 Lorenzo Savadori Aprilia Racing Team Gresini Aprilia 1m38.325s
23 Tito Rabat Pramac Racing Ducati 1m38.641s

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