Franco Morbidelli got his maiden pole position in the Barcelona MotoGP qualifying session on Saturday afternoon as he lead a Yamaha 1-2-3 lead for the Catalan Grand Prix. Andrea Dovizioso only managed to get the 17th position in the qualifiers.
It was a tight race between all the four Yamaha riders at the close of the Q2, with Morbidelli leading Fabio Quartararo and Valentino Rossi who was confirmed and announced by the Petronas Yamaha SRT to be their rider for the 2021 MotoGP season. Rossi had set an early pace with 1m 39.881s but it was quickly taken by Maverick Vinales recording 1m 39.655s.
Morbidelli the took over the top spot with 1m 39.110s while his teammate Quartararo was 7th after making an error at turn 10. As the session had only few minutes to go, the Yamahas were proving their dominance in setting fastest lap times with Quartararo making the benchmark time of 1m 39.008s.
However Morbidelli challenged the time after recording 1m 38.798s to claim his maiden pole for the MotoGP class since his Moto2 season in 2017. Fabio Quaratararo went for one final lap as the chequered flag came out but was unable to better his second position, with Rossi coming up in the front row for the first time this season.
Jack Miller(Pramac Racing) ended up the session as the best of the Ducattis coming 4th after setting a record of 1m 39.225s earlier on in the Q2 on the soft tyre after having to use the other in Q1. Maverick Vinales came 5th in the time rankings while Avintia’s Johann Zarco came in sixth. His former teammate Pol Espargaro completed the session 7th on the KTM.
Joan Mir on the Suzuki closely followed Espargaro coming 8th while Danillo Petrucci(works Ducatti) and Brad Binder on the KTM finished 9th and 10th respectively. LCR Honda’s Takaaki Nakagami only managed 11th which was an improvement from Q1 as Miguel Oliveira closely followed in 12th place on the KTM Tech 3 after crashing earlier on at Turn 10.
Andrea Dovizioso had a tough time in both Q1 and Q2 and could only produce 1m 40.109s which only placed him at the 17th position. He will be starting Sundays race beside Cal Crutchlow(LCR Honda) who was 16th despite his injury and Repsol Honda’s Alex Marquez who was 18th.
Alex Rins will be starting 13th on the grid ahead of Pramac’s Francesco Bagnaia and Aprilia’s Aleix Espargaro.