Francesco Bagnaia on pole, Valentino Rossi strong fourth!


( – Ducati works driver Francesco Bagnaia will tackle the Grand Prix of Qatar in Losail from pole position. In qualifying, the Italian set a new course record and relegated the Yamaha works drivers Fabio Quartararo and Maverick Vinales to positions two and three (on the result).

Francesco Bagnaia took his first MotoGP pole in Losail


Former champion Valentino Rossi (Petronas-Yamaha) caused a surprise in qualifying with starting position four (on the grid). For Stefan Bradl (Honda), qualifying was over after Q1.

Francesco Bagnaia celebrated his first MotoGP pole after Q2: “I’m so happy. I thought yesterday that a 1:52 time would be possible. In my second attempt it looked really good, after that third sector I was very close. “

Photos: MotoGP season opener in Doha

“It’s my first pole position and my first race with this team. I want to get the best possible out of tomorrow and I think we can get a really good result,” said the pole-setter, looking forward to the first race of the MotoGP season in 2021.

Yamaha is making too many changes to Fabio Quartararo’s M1

Fabio Quartararo was not completely satisfied with second place on the grid. “It’s a shame I didn’t have another try,” said the Yamaha rider. “The checkered flag came a little too early. Still, I’m satisfied, we managed a good lap.”

Fabio Quartararo

Fabio Quartararo wasn’t happy with the changes to his Yamaha M1 Zoom

“In fourth free practice we tried something that was bad. I didn’t feel good. But we have good potential for tomorrow. I will use the bike that I have ridden now. We may have too much on today Motorcycle changes, “ponders Quartararo. “But we did a good job in qualifying. Now all that’s missing is the race.”

Not perfect conditions for Maverick Vinales

Yamaha team-mate Maverick Vinales has reached his goal with third place on the grid. “I’m very happy. Our goal was the front row,” said the Spaniard. “On my last lap it was somehow dirty at Turn 1, so I didn’t push as I wanted. But I managed a 1: 53.0 lap and I’m happy with that.”

“The bike worked great this afternoon. I really enjoyed the fourth free practice. But we can still improve. Overall, we’re already very fast. Congratulations to the team, we’re ready for tomorrow,” said Vinales.

Maverick Vinales

Yamaha rider Maverick Vinales completes the front row Zoom

History was made in the session before qualifying. Pramac driver Johann Zarco set a new top speed record in the FT4. The Frenchman reached 362.4 km / h with his Ducati Desmosedici thanks to the slipstream and pulverized the old record of Ducati driver Andrea Dovizioso (356.7 km / h).

World champion Joan Mir is trembling into Q2

Immediately after the FT4, twelve of the 22 drivers got ready for Q1. In the first qualifying round, world champion Joan Mir (Suzuki), the race winners Miguel Oliveira, Brad Binder (both KTM), Danilo Petrucci (Tech-3-KTM) and Honda replacement driver Stefan Bradl met some prominent names.

LCR Honda driver Takaaki Nakagami set the Q1 fastest time in the last second and secured the promotion to Q2 with his 1: 53.577 lap. Suzuki driver Joan Mir finished Q1 in second position and moved up to Q2 together with Takaaki Nakagami.

Joan Mir

Joan Mir will only start the first race of the season from tenth position Zoom

The defending champion was lucky because MotoGP rookie Enea Bastianini (Esponsorama-Ducati) was only 0.005 seconds slower in third place and thus narrowly failed to climb up into Q2.

Enea Bastianini will start his first MotoGP race from 13th on the grid. He shares the fifth row on the grid with Jorge Martin (Pramac-Ducati) and Miguel Oliveira (KTM). Rookie Jorge Martin was on the best time course in the final attempt, but fell. Stefan Bradl finished Q1 in seventh place.

Four drivers undercut the course record on their first attempt

In Q2, Yamaha was the most heavily represented manufacturer with four drivers. Ducati brought three drivers into the final qualifying round. Honda and Suzuki each had two drivers in Q2 and Aprilia spearheaded Aleix Espargaro. KTM did not get any of the four riders into the final round.

At the first exchange of blows, Ducati works driver Francesco Bagnaia beat Marc Marquez’s course record with a 1: 53.273 lap. A little later, Ducati team-mate Jack Miller lapped the course in 1: 53.215 minutes. At the halfway point of Q2, Yamaha works driver Fabio Quartararo reduced the best time to 1: 53.038 minutes.

Jack Miller

Jack Miller fought for pole position but missed the front row Zoom

The order after the first stint: Fabio Quartararo (Yamaha) ahead of Jack Miller (Ducati), Maverick Vinales (Yamaha), Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati), Franco Morbidelli (Petronas-Yamaha), Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia), Johann Zarco (Pramac- Ducati), Joan Mir, Alex Rins (both Suzuki), Takaaki Nakagami (LCR-Honda), Valentino Rossi (Petronas-Yamaha) and Pol Espargaro (Honda).

Francesco Bagnaia attracts mentor Valentino Rossi to a fabulous round

Francesco Bagnaia set the first 1:52 time on the second attempt. The Ducati works driver took the lead in Q2 with a 1: 52.772 lap. Mentor Valentino Rossi drove a 1: 53.114 lap in the slipstream of his protégé and moved up to third position. But the last word was not yet spoken.

Almost all drivers recorded personal bests, but Francesco Bagnaia’s fabulous time was not beaten any further. The Ducati works rider will therefore start from pole position for the first time in his MotoGP career on Sunday. The front row of the grid is completed by the two factory Yamahas owned by Fabio Quartararo and Maverick Vinales.

Valentino Rossi

Cheering mood at the “Doctor”: Valentino Rossi finished fourth Zoom

Valentino Rossi will tackle the Qatar Grand Prix from fourth on the grid. The 42-year-old Italian missed pole time by just 0.342 seconds. Rossi leads the second row, in which Jack Miller and Johann Zarco are two Ducati riders.

Franco Morbidelli, Aleix Espargaro and Alex Rins form the third row of the grid at the season opener. World champion Joan Mir is only in row four. The Spaniard was more than nine tenths of a second behind in Q2. Honda drivers Takaaki Nakagami and Pol Espargaro complete the fourth row.

The Qatar Grand Prix will start at 7:00 p.m. on Sunday. However, a strong wind is expected, which could mess up the schedule (more information).

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Francesco Bagnaia pole Valentino Rossi strong fourth


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