Francesco Bagnaia, the current MotoGP world champion, snatched his sixth pole position of the season with a blistering lap at the Catalan Grand Prix, ruining Aprilia’s chance of a home triumph.
Bagnaia, who races for Ducati Lenovo Team, set a new lap record of 1:38.639 in the final qualifying session, edging out Aprilia Racing’s Aleix Espargaro by 0.104 seconds. Espargaro, who had dominated every practice session before Q2, had to accept second place in front of his home fans.
The third spot on the front row was taken by Miguel Oliveira, who secured his first top-three start for CryptoDATA RNF MotoGP Team after advancing from Q1. Oliveira, who won the last race in Portugal, was only 0.196 seconds behind Bagnaia.
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The second row of the grid was composed of Prima Pramac Racing’s Jorge Martin, Repsol Honda’s Marc Marquez and Aprilia Racing’s Maverick Vinales. Martin, who also made it through Q1, was on track to challenge Bagnaia’s pole lap but was delayed by Marquez in the final sector. Marquez, who followed Jack Miller’s slipstream in Q1 to reach Q2, improved his time in his last attempt but could not break into the front row. Vinales, who switched from Yamaha to Aprilia mid-season, showed strong pace in his first qualifying session with his new team.
Bagnaia Shocks Aprilia
The third row featured Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Brad Binder, Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP’s Fabio Quartararo and GASGAS Factory Racing Tech3’s Pol Espargaro. Binder was the top KTM rider in qualifying, while Quartararo, the championship leader, had a disappointing session and could not match his rivals’ speed. Pol Espargaro, the brother of Aleix, completed the top nine.
The fourth row consisted of Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Jack Miller, LCR Honda Castrol’s Alex Marquez and Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP’s Franco Morbidelli. Miller missed out on Q2 by a narrow margin and was the fastest rider in Q1. Alex Marquez, the younger brother of Marc, qualified 12th in his home race. Morbidelli, who returned to action after missing the first five races due to a knee injury, struggled to find his rhythm and ended up 13th.
The Catalan Grand Prix promises to be an exciting race, with several riders capable of fighting for the victory. Bagnaia will try to convert his pole into his first win of the season and close the gap to Quartararo in the standings. Aleix Espargaro will aim to give Aprilia its maiden MotoGP win in front of its fans and sponsors. Oliveira will look to repeat his Portuguese GP success and continue his momentum. Martin, Marquez and Vinales will also be eager to challenge for the podium and prove their potential.