Marini edges Di Giannantonio to claim Qatar MotoGP pole

Marini edges Di Giannantonio to claim Qatar MotoGP pole

Luca Marini secured pole position for Qatar MotoGP after edging fellow Ducati satellite rider Fabio Di Giannantonio.

Luca Marini narrowly beat Fabio di Giannantonio for pole position, denying Gresini Racing a dream 1-2 on the grid for the Qatar MotoGP at the Lusail International Circuit.

With a new lap record of 1m51.762s at the resurfaced circuit, Marini secured his second MotoGP pole and now holds the track record all while getting a tow from Aprilia’s Maverick Vinales during his final push lap in qualifying.

Prior to that, it appeared as though weekend favorite Di Giannantonio was going to claim the pole because he was the first rider from Gresini to go under the 1m52s barrier.

The Italian ultimately finished 0.067s off pole and will join Marini, who is anticipated to replace Marc Marquez at Honda, on the front row. Di Giannantonio’s Gresini teammate Alex Marquez will also start from the front row after staying strong through qualifying.

Championship contenders Pecco Bagnaia and Jorge Martin are scheduled to start fourth and fifth respectively and will be followed by fellow Q1 graduate Johann Zarco on his Pramac.

Zarco’s effort saw a Ducati 1-2-3-4-5-6 finish, but only by 0.002s ahead of Marc Marquez, who was trailing Bagnaia during practice yesterday and did so again today, almost completely altering the Ducati dominance.

Maverick Vinales finished eighth overall as the best of the Aprilias, with almost each of his time loss coming in the last sector.

Aprilia stablemates Aleix Espargaro and Raul Fernandez followed him in ninth and tenth respectively, with the latter having recovered from a late last-corner collision during pre-qualifying practice.

However, considering that Espargaro got into an altercation with Yamaha rider Franco Morbidelli during that same practice session and smacked him on the helmet, he will start Sunday’s race down the order after he was handed a grid penalty for the incident.

Brad Binder and Augusto Fernandez’s KTM RC16s followed the order in 11th and 12th.

Meanwhile, VR46 Ducati’s Marco Bezzecchi appeared to be on track to overtake fellow Ducati rider Enea Bastianini during the better part of his fastest Q1 lap.

However, Bezzecchi was unable to finish the session faster than third place after Bastianini approached a sluggish Iker Lecuona, rolled out of his lap and gave Lecuona a verbal reprimand.

Enea Bastianini was on track to lead after two sectors but lost half a second during the remainder of the lap, putting him in fifteenth place on the grid. Yamaha’s Fabio Quartararo, who compromised his Q2 efforts by towing Alex Marquez to a faster time, will be positioned between the two on row five.

KTM’s Jack Miller was furious with RNF’s Miguel Oliveira for getting by him on his last push lap only to be overtaken again. Morbidelli will join the two in row six.

Three Hondas completed the grid, with Takaaki Nakagami being the slowest due to an early crash in Q1 for the LCR Honda rider.

However, Nakagami could possibly start before teammate Lecuona, as the latter is being investigated for obstructing Bastianini.

2023 Qatar MotoGP Qualifying Results

Pos.NameNatTeamMotorcycleLap Time
1Luca Marini🇮🇹Mooney VR46 RacingDucati GP221m 51.762
2Fabio di Giannantonio🇮🇹Gresini Racing MotoGPDucati GP221m 51.829
3Alex Marquez🇪🇦Gresini Racing MotoGPDucati GP221m 51.898
4Francesco Bagnaia🇮🇹Ducati Lenovo TeamDucati GP231m 52.036
5Jorge Martin🇪🇦Prima Pramac RacingDucati GP231m 52.058
6Johann Zarco🇨🇵Prima Pramac RacingDucati GP231m 52.101
7Marc Marquez🇪🇦Repsol Honda TeamHonda RC213V1m 52.103
8Maverick Vinales🇪🇦Aprilia RacingAprilia RS-GP1m 52.175
9Raul Fernandez🇪🇦CryptoData RNF RacingAprilia RS-GP1m 52.348
10Aleix Espargaro🇪🇦Aprilia RacingAprilia RS-GP1m 52.466
11Brad Binder🇿🇦Red Bull KTM Factory RacingKTM RC161m 52.729
12Augusto Fernandez🇪🇦GasGas Factory Racing Tech3KTM RC161m 52.784
13Marco Bezzecchi🇮🇹Mooney VR46 RacingDucati GP221m 52.504
14Fabio Quartararo🇨🇵Monster Energy YamahaYamaha M11m 52.524
15Enea Bastianini🇮🇹Ducati Lenovo TeamDucati GP231m 52.828
16Jack Miller🇦🇺Red Bull KTM Factory RacingKTM RC161m 52.889
17Miguel Oliveira🇵🇹CryptoData RNF RacingAprilia RS-GP1m 53.099
18Franco Morbidelli🇮🇹Monster Energy YamahaYamaha M11m 53.143
19Pol Espargaro🇪🇦GasGas Factory Racing Tech3KTM RC161m 53.362
20Joan Mir🇪🇦Repsol Honda TeamHonda RC213V1m 53.570
21Iker Lecuona🇪🇦LCR Honda CastrolHonda RC213V1m 53.838
22Takaaki Nakagami🇯🇵LCR Honda IDEMITSUHonda RC213V1m 54.360

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