Ducati rider Francesco Bagnaia signaled a return to form by scorching his way to pole position for the Spanish MotoGP with a new track-record at Jerez yesterday.
The Italian was a massive 0.453sec faster than reigning world champion and current championship leader Fabio Quartararo with a sizzling 1min 36.17sec fastest lap ever raced on the track. The pair will start side by side in forecast sunshine at the Jerez circuit today in the sixth GP of the 21-race season.
The 25-year-old Bagnaia ran Quartararo a close second for the title in 2021 but made a poor start this season before declaring that he was starting to “feel better on the bike” after an eighth-place finish in last weekend’s race in Portugal. Defending world champion Quartararo won last weekend and was happy with second to the Ducati yesterday. “Mission accomplished. I hadn’t expected to be in second place half a second behind though,” said the Frenchman. Suzuki’s Alex Rins is co-leader in the standings after five GPs but struggled in qualifying and will start from 14th. Spaniard Aleix Espargaro on an Aprilia took the third place on the front row with Australian Jack Miller and Frenchman Johann Zarco, both on Ducatis sandwiching Spaniard Marc Marquez on a Honda on the second.
Starting grid for today’s Spanish MotoGP:
1. Francesco Bagnaia (ITA/Ducati), 2. Fabio Quartararo (FRA/Yamaha), 3. Aleix Espargaro (ESP/Aprilia)
4. Jack Miller (AUS/Ducati), 5. Marc Marquez (ESP/Honda), 6. Johann Zarco (FRA/Ducati-Pramac)
7. Takaaki Nakagami (JPN/Honda-LCR), 8. Marco Bezzecchi (ITA/Ducati-VR46), 9. Joan Mir (ESP/Suzuki)
10. Jorge Martin (ESP/Ducati-Pramac), 11. Enea Bastianini (ITA/Ducati-Gresini), 12. Maverick Vinales (ESP/Aprilia)
13. Pol Espargaro (ESP/Honda), 14. Alex Rins (ESP/Suzuki), 15. Brad Binder (RSA/KTM)
16. Franco Morbidelli (ITA/Yamaha), 17. Fabio di Giannatonio (ITA/Ducati-Gresini),
18. Remy Gardner (AUS/KTM-Tech3)
19. Luca Marini (ITA/Ducati-VR46), 20. Stefan Bradl (AUT/Honda-HRC) 21, Miguel Oliveira (POR/KTM)
22. Alex Marquez (ESP/Honda-LCR), 23. Andrea Dovizioso (ITA/Yamaha-RNF), 24. Lorenzo Savadori (ITA/Aprilia)
25. Darryn Binder (RSA/Yamaha-RNF)