Pol Espargaro fired to a surprise first pole for Honda at Silverstone with a mighty final effort to deny Francesco Bagnaia and Fabio Quartararo at the death.
Despite struggling to make an impact so far this season in his debut campaign for Honda, Espargaro from the start of the weekend looked to have found something around the curves of the British venue, the Spaniard going fourth quickest in the opening runs-though Quartararo’s 1:58.990s would take some beating.
The 2013 Moto2 world champion came out fighting on his final effort though and stormed across the line to fly to the head of the timesheets by 0.101s over the Yamaha pilot, though he would soon be deposed by Jorge Martin’s Pramac Ducati.
The Styrian Grand Prix winner’s time would not stand for long though after it was found he had taken the faster layout of the Silverstone track at Vale to begin his lap, shaving well over a second from his lap that ultimately led to his 1:58.008s-this tour being deleted after the flag.
Quartararo meanwhile ailed to find an improvement thanks a troubled final run, leaving Espargaro to celebrate his first pole for Honda-having scored a pair of poles with KTM last year-while Ducati’s Bagnaia managed to grab second, Quartararo ultimately being shuffled back to third to complete the front row.
Martin’s previous best time was enough to keep him fourth ahead of Marc Marquez, while Aleix Espargaro enjoyed another strong outing for Aprilia with sixth on the grid for the British GP.
Jack Miller was only seventh after topping FP3 on Saturday morning, while Valentino Rossi continued to show the improved performance he had managed to unlock throughout the weekend as he slotted his Petronas SRT-run Yamaha into eighth ahead of leading Q1-runner Johann Zarco.
The Pramac racer recovered from a rather average first attempt in the opening segment of qualifying that left him over two-tenths adrift of early leader Enea Bastinaini to set a scorching 1:59.288s, an effort that would ultimately see him top the session by 0.221s over Suzuki’s Alex Rins.
Bastinanini crashed on his final attempt while trying to improve, costing the rest of the field the lap they were currently on due to him being the first bike on track-though the majority managed to find an improvement on their final gambits.
Despite being shuffled out of Q2 contention the Italian still held onto 13th overall, Rins heading him by just 0.044s.
His pole shootout graduation did little to help though as he could only complete the top ten just behind Zarco as Q2 came to an end, Suzuki’s qualifying troubles seemingly back with team-mate Joan Mir only 11th ahead of KTM’s recently-victorious Brad Binder.
Takaaki Nakagami suprisngly struggled for speed throughout Q1 and therefore had to make do with 15th, while home hero Cal Crutchlow failed to re-capture his FP3 form en-route to 19th on the grid-while Jake Dixon continued to show decent improvement as he posted his best lap of the weekend-a 2:00.869s only 1.5 seconds adrift of Zarco thus leaving him 21st for his maiden British MotoGP race.
BRITISH MOTOGP, SILVERSTONE – FULL QUALIFYING RESULTS
|1||Pol Espargaro||SPA||Repsol Honda (RC213V)||1’58.889s||6/7||336k|
|2||Francesco Bagnaia||ITA||Ducati Team (GP21)||+0.022s||6/7||338k|
|3||Fabio Quartararo||FRA||Monster Yamaha (YZR-M1)||+0.036s||6/6||332k|
|4||Jorge Martin||SPA||Pramac Ducati (GP21)*||+0.185s||7/7||339k|
|5||Marc Marquez||SPA||Repsol Honda (RC213V)||+0.197s||6/7||335k|
|6||Aleix Espargaro||SPA||Aprilia Gresini (RS-GP)||+0.384s||7/7||334k|
|7||Jack Miller||AUS||Ducati Team (GP21)||+0.479s||5/6||338k|
|8||Valentino Rossi||ITA||Petronas Yamaha (YZR-M1)||+0.642s||7/7||332k|
|9||Johann Zarco||FRA||Pramac Ducati (GP21)||+0.690s||6/6||339k|
|10||Alex Rins||SPA||Suzuki Ecstar (GSX-RR)||+0.750s||6/7||331k|
|11||Joan Mir||SPA||Suzuki Ecstar (GSX-RR)||+0.874s||7/7||329k|
|12||Brad Binder||RSA||Red Bull KTM (RC16)||+1.088s||6/7||332k|
|13||Enea Bastianini||ITA||Avintia Ducati (GP19)*||1’59.553s||3/5||338k|
|14||Luca Marini||ITA||Sky VR46 Avintia Ducati (GP19)*||1’59.764s||7/7||334k|
|15||Takaaki Nakagami||JPN||LCR Honda (RC213V)||1’59.881s||5/7||331k|
|16||Danilo Petrucci||ITA||KTM Tech3 (RC16)||1’59.997s||7/7||334k|
|17||Alex Marquez||SPA||LCR Honda (RC213V)||2’0.117s||7/7||333k|
|18||Iker Lecuona||SPA||KTM Tech3 (RC16)||2’0.131s||5/7||330k|
|19||Cal Crutchlow||GBR||Monster Yamaha (YZR-M1)||2’0.217s||7/7||333k|
|20||Miguel Oliveira||POR||Red Bull KTM (RC16)||2’0.391s||2/7||331k|
|21||Jake Dixon||GBR||Petronas Yamaha (YZR-M1)||2’0.869s||3/7||325k|