Luca Marini claims maiden pole in Indonesian MotoGP

Luca Marini claims maiden pole in Indonesian MotoGP

Luca Marini claimed his maiden pole after overcoming the factory Aprilias’ attempt to dominate qualifying for the Indonesian MotoGP.

VR46 Ducati rider Luca Marini claimed his maiden pole position in Indonesia as championship leader Francesco Bagnaia failed to make it through qualifying and will start a dismal 13th for both the sprint and Sunday’s races.

The Italian set a new lap record while making his MotoGP comeback less than a month after suffering a fractured collarbone in an accident during the Indian MotoGP, which required him to make it through Q1. This was an outstanding performance by Marini.

After struggling a little in Friday practice, Marini was determined to avoid elimination in Q1 on Saturday morning. The Italian racer made a late turnaround in the first stage of qualifying to ultimately win the session and claim the first slot in the pole shootout.

The biggest surprise came from Bagnaia, who suffered a blow at the Mandalika International Circuit after failing to be confident with his Ducati while braking. Meanwhile, his factory Ducati teammate Enea Bastianini delivered the decisive blow with his penultimate lap, edging clear to claim the last available Q2 spot.

As a result, Bagnaia will line up in position 13 for both the sprint race and the Indonesian Grand Prix on Sunday, giving Jorge Martin who is his championship rival an open chance at taking the points lead after Saturday’s sprint.

The Aprilia duo of Aleix Espargaro and Maverick Vinales once again dominated the action as they placed 1-2 during the opening phase of the session. Marini, meanwhile, needed some time to get going once the pole shootout started as the VR46 Ducati racer initially failed to produce a lap time.

As time ran out, Espargaro sped up his initial attempt to a 1:30.303s to reinforce his hold on the pole position, but Vinales quickly outran his previous effort with a 1:30.009s to take the lead and claim the provisional lead.

However, Marini took the spotlight as he pulled off a flawless lap to clock in at 1:29.978, just 0.031 seconds faster than Vinales to claim his first-ever premier class pole position. This happened only a few weeks after he fractured his collarbone, deterring him from participating in the Japanese Grand Prix.

Espargaro, on the other hand, was forced to settle for third place on the front row, while Yamaha’s Fabio Quartararo had an impressive session and finished fourth despite finishing 0.538 seconds below Marini’s record.

KTM’s Brad Binder rounded out the top five, while Martin could only finish sixth as a result of an early incident that cut short his session.

Early on, the Pramac Ducati rider was caught off guard by the severe serrated curbs outside of Turn 16, which caused the Spaniard to lose control of his bike and tumble off the track. This happened right after Marco Bezzecchi’s second VR46 entry went through the same ordeal.

Martin promptly mounted his backup bike, but his session eventually got more challenging after he forfeited his second fast lap after Marc Marquez had gone down on his Honda. To Martin’s advantage, his opening lap was strong enough for him to keep sixth place, much ahead of rival Bagnaia.

Fabio Di Gianantonio outperformed Marquez with his solitary Gresini Ducati to finish seventh, with Bezzecchi coming in ninth. Jack Miller rounded out the top 10 on the sister factory KTM, with Miguel Oliveira on the RNF Aprilia as well as Bastianini rounded up the Q2 finishers.

Johann Zarco, on the other hand, remained short of confidence with his Pramac Ducati and ultimately qualified in 14th place. To make matters worse, the Frenchman crashed at the very end of qualifying.

Raul Fernandez saw his recent Q2 run come to an end with a finish in 17th, as the RNF driver separated GasGas teammates Pol Espargaro and Augusto Fernandez in 16th and 18th, respectively.

Joan Mir also struggled to advance, finishing only 19th on the grid ahead of Takaaki Nakagami and Alex Rins on LCR Honda bikes.

2023 Indonesian MotoGP Qualifying Results

Pos.NameNat.TeamBikeLap Time
1Luca Marini🇮🇹Mooney VR46 RacingDucati GP221m 29.978
2Maverick Vinales🇪🇦Aprilia RacingAprilia RS-GP1m 30.009
3Aleix Espargaro🇪🇦Aprilia RacingAprilia RS-GP1m 30.132
4Fabio Quartararo🇨🇵Monster Energy YamahaYamaha M11m 30.516
5Brad Binder🇿🇦Red Bull KTM Factory RacingKTM RC161m 30.698
6Jorge Martin🇪🇦Prima Pramac RacingDucati GP231m 30.742
7Fabio di Giannantonio🇮🇹Gresini Racing MotoGPDucati GP221m 30.766
8Marc Marquez🇪🇦Repsol Honda TeamHonda RC213V1m 30.864
9Marco Bezzecchi🇮🇹Mooney VR46 RacingDucati GP221m 30.908
10Jack Miller🇦🇺Red Bull KTM Factory RacingKTM RC161m 30.970
11Enea Bastianini🇮🇹Ducati Lenovo TeamDucati GP231m 31.061
12Miguel Oliveira🇵🇹CryptoData RNF RacingAprilia RS-GP1m 31.193
13Pecco Bagnaia🇮🇹Ducati Lenovo TeamDucati GP231m 30.626
14Johann Zarco🇨🇵Prima Pramac RacingDucati GP231m 30.713
15Franco Morbidelli🇮🇹Monster Energy YamahaYamaha M11m 30.729
16Pol Espargaro🇪🇦GasGas Factory Racing Tech3KTM RC161m 31.006
17Raul Fernandez🇪🇦CryptoData RNF RacingAprilia RS-GP1m 31.031
18Augusto Fernandez🇪🇦GasGas Factory Racing Tech3KTM RC161m 31.034
19Joan Mir🇪🇦Repsol Honda TeamHonda RC213V1m 31.143
20Takaaki Nakagami🇯🇵LCR Honda IDEMITSUHonda RC213V1m 31.192
21Alex Rins🇪🇦LCR Honda CastrolHonda RC213V1m 31.458
WAlex Marquez🇪🇦Gresini Racing MotoGPDucati GP22

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