It was a Yamaha vs Yamaha scrap in Q2 at the Circuito de Jerez-Angel Nieto, a Ducati joins the YZR-M1 duo on the front row
Fabio Quartararo (Petronas Yamaha SRT) has claimed back-to-back pole positions at the Circuito de Jerez-Angel Nieto thanks to a 1:37.007 in Q2 at the Gran Premio Red Bull de Andalucia. Maverick Viñales (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) set a faster lap than the Championship leader, but his lap was cancelled due to exceeding track limits. There were no such troubles for third on the grid Francesco Bagnaia (Pramac Racing) though as the Italian picked up his maiden MotoGP™ front row.
The moment that cost Maverick Viñales pole position
Before the magnificent fight for pole position got underway in Q2, there were some major talking points that occurred in Q1. Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) went out for an out-lap after completing 10 laps in FP4, but the reigning World Champion pulled in a went straight out the back of the box. The team confirmed via social media that he wasn’t going to take any further part in Q1, with Repsol Honda confirming the number 93 won’t be racing in Andalucia. Team Manager Alberto Puig said: “We won’t take any more risks, Marc won’t race.”
In soaring Q2 conditions, could anyone break the Yamaha dominance that has reigned this weekend? At the beginning of the session, it was Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) and Bagnaia who set the first banker laps, but soon enough Viñales was at the summit with a 1:37.217. What could Quartararo respond with? The Spanish GP polesitter and winner slotted into P2, before Bagnaia split the Yamaha riders as the Italian improved again. Heading into pitlane, Viñales led Bagnaia and Quartararo by two tenths, with Binder, Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda Idemitsu) and Q1 graduate Franco Morbidelli (Petronas Yamaha SRT) sitting on the provisional second row.
The clock ticked down, fresh tyres were slotted in and Quartararo was the first man to shoot out of pitlane for run number two. The MotoGP™ sophomore had one thing and one thing only in his sights – pole position. And on his first flying lap, the red sectors were lighting up next to Quartararo’s name and sure enough, ‘El Diablo’ was P1 by just under a tenth. Over to you, Viñales.
However, because Pol Espargaro (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) had crashed at Turn 2, Viñales’ first flying lap on his second run couldn’t count because of the yellow flags. Unaffected by the yellow flags, Bagnaia – closely followed by Valentino Rossi (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) – improved his time to strengthen his claim of a first front row start, with The Doctor climbing to P5 before Nakagami displaced the nine-time World Champion in P5.
“My lap wasn’t so good” – First words from Parc Ferme
Viñales was the man we needed to watch though. The factory YZR-M1 star was a tenth under Quartararo’s pole time at the second time split but coming out of Turn 7, Viñales was a centimetre too wide and was on the green asphalt. The Spanish GP runner-up completed his lap and beat Quartararo’s time, but Race Direction immediately scrubbed the lap and Viñales stayed second, handing Quartararo his eighth MotoGP™ pole position – his third consecutive in Jerez.
Bagnaia went one better than he did last weekend to cement P3, his best-ever premier class qualifying, with Rossi following his VR46 Academy man to earn a P4 starting slot for Sunday’s race – great work from the 41-year-old. After ending Q1 fastest, Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM Tech3) earns his best MotoGP™ qualifying position in P5 after jumping up to P4 on his last lap. The Portuguese man got knocked back a place after Rossi improved, but Oliveira will be launching off the line as the leading KTM rider – a phenomenal effort.
Morbidelli will be satisfied with P6 after having to negotiate Q1 too as 0.405 covers the top two rows in Jerez. Pramac Racing’s Jack Miller spearheads the third row in P7, the Australian missed out on another second row start by just 0.011 after setting his best time on the last lap. Nakagami could have been on the second row – at least – if it wasn’t for a mistake at the final corner on his last lap, P8 is nevertheless a good result for the Japanese rider. Binder completes the third row in P9, with Joan Mir (Team Suzuki Ecstar) having a quiet session to finish P10. Danilo Petrucci (Ducati Team) will line-up 11th, with Pol Espargaro failing to set a competitive time after his crash at Turn 2 – rider ok.
Round 2: MotoGP™ Q2 at the Grand Prix of Andalucia
Quartararo vs Viñales. It’s all set up to be a phenomenal battle on Sunday, but there’s plenty of other riders waiting in wings to get a taste of the Andalucia GP bubbly. With the reigning Champion out of action in Jerez, who will capitalise the most? The MotoGP™ race will get underway at 14:00 local time (GMT+2) – do not miss a single beat of action!
1. Fabio Quartararo (Petronas Yamaha SRT) – 1:37.007
2. Maverick Viñales (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) + 0.095
3. Francesco Bagnaia (Pramac Racing) + 0.169
4. Valentino Rossi (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) + 0.335
5. Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM Tech3) + 0.337
6. Franco Morbidelli (Petronas Yamaha SRT)
7. Jack Miller (Pramac Racing) + 0.416
8. Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda Idemitsu) + 0.457
9. Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) + 0.589
10. Joan Mir (Team Suzuki Ecstar) + 0.593