Algarve MotoGP: Bagnaia takes pole, Quartararo will start from seventh

Algarve MotoGP: Bagnaia takes pole, Quartararo will start from seventh

Ducati rider Francesco Bagnaia scored a remarkable fifth consecutive pole in MotoGP at Portimao, while champion Fabio Quartararo – who had managed the same feat earlier this season – was only seventh.

Quartararo and Bagnaia had run the show through practice, but it was Jack Miller who uncorked a Portimao record lap early on in the pole shoot-out instead, with neither of the two favourites even in the top three at the halfway mark of the session.

Yet Bagnaia jumped narrowly ahead of team-mate Miller with his very first attempt on his second run, and found another tenth of a second with a follow-up effort moments before the chequered flag.

Miller improved too, but only by seven thousandths, leaving him to prop up a Ducati 1-2 that would have been a 1-2-3-4 if not for the efforts of Suzuki rider Joan Mir.

Mir beat the closely-matched Pramac Ducati duo of Jorge Martin and Johann Zarco to record his best-ever MotoGP qualifying, although he was seen angrily giving a piece of his mind to Alex Marquez (LCR Honda) – who had passed him into Turn 1 on their last laps – after the chequered flag.

Despite being world champion in 2020, Mir had never previously qualified above fourth in MotoGP – though he was elevated to third by a Zarco penalty at last year’s Styrian GP.

Pol Espargaro was the lead Honda rider in sixth, a place that would’ve gone to Quartararo had he not had his fastest lap in the session deleted for a yellow flag infringement – the yellow flags having been caused by a Luca Marini Turn 14 crash.

Quartararo only lost one place as a consequence, and will be joined by Marquez and team-mate Franco Morbidelli on the third row.

Iker Lecuona, who was comfortably the fastest KTM of the quartet in Q1 and advanced to Q2 with Zarco, will lead row four, joined by Alex Rins (Suzuki) and Marini (VR46 Ducati).

Avintia rider (and Marini’s semi-team-mate) Enea Bastianini briefly looked like joining his many Ducati peers in Q2, but was shuffled down to 13th by a late Q1 improvement from Zarco.

Aleix Espargaro was a further tenth down in fourth in Q1, as the lead Aprilia rider (four places up on team-mate Maverick Vinales), while Danilo Petrucci was the closest KTM rider to his team-mate Lecuona in Q1, and will complete the fifth row.

It was therefore a bruising session for KTM’s factory riders. Home hero Miguel Oliveira was just a couple of hundredths off Petrucci and 16th-placed Valentino Rossi, but was almost half a second down on Lecuona – at a track where Oliveira had won last year.

It was worse still for team-mate Brad Binder, who will line up at the head of row seven and was nearly seven tenths off Lecuona, not helped by an early-Q1 crash at the sharp Turn 3.

The only other rider to fall in Q1 was Takaaki Nakagami, with the Japanese LCR Honda rider’s late off at the hairpin-like Turn 5 consigning him to last place on the grid.


1Francesco BagnaiaITADucati Team (GP21)1’38.725s7/8335k
2Jack MillerAUSDucati Team (GP21)+0.104s7/8342k
3Joan MirSPASuzuki Ecstar (GSX-RR)+0.168s3/7332k
4Jorge MartinSPAPramac Ducati (GP21)*+0.191s7/8342k
5Johann ZarcoFRAPramac Ducati (GP21)+0.193s6/8342k
6Pol EspargaroSPARepsol Honda (RC213V)+0.333s6/7341k
7Fabio QuartararoFRAMonster Yamaha (YZR-M1)+0.406s7/7331k
8Alex MarquezSPALCR Honda (RC213V)+0.466s6/7338k
9Franco MorbidelliITAMonster Yamaha (YZR-M1)+0.596s3/7329k
10Iker LecuonaSPAKTM Tech3 (RC16)+0.662s7/8333k
11Alex RinsSPASuzuki Ecstar (GSX-RR)+0.924s3/7332k
12Luca MariniITASky VR46 Avintia Ducati (GP19)*+1.103s5/6331k
 Qualifying 1:     
13Enea BastianiniITAAvintia Ducati (GP19)*1’39.283s7/8338k
14Aleix EspargaroSPAAprilia Gresini (RS-GP)1’39.389s7/8335k
15Danilo PetrucciITAKTM Tech3 (RC16)1’39.595s7/8328k
16Valentino RossiITAPetronas Yamaha (YZR-M1)1’39.604s7/8333k
17Miguel OliveiraPORRed Bull KTM (RC16)1’39.624s3/8330k
18Maverick VinalesSPAAprilia Gresini (RS-GP)1’39.738s3/7331k
19Brad BinderRSARed Bull KTM (RC16)1’39.859s6/7336k
20Stefan BradlGERRepsol Honda (RC213V)1’39.907s7/8335k
21Andrea DoviziosoITAPetronas Yamaha (YZR-M1)1’39.918s7/8331k
22Takaaki NakagamiJPNLCR Honda (RC213V)1’40.009s5/5334k

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