Grand prix

Match point: Bagnaia takes blistering pole, Quartararo 15th

The Italian matches a Stoner record on a scintillating Saturday afternoon at Misano as title leader Quartararo has work to do

For the first time since Casey Stoner in 2007, a Ducati rider has taken four consecutive MotoGP™ pole positions. That man is Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati Lenovo Team) as the Italian storms through Q1 to grab a crucial Saturday afternoon P1 at the Gran Premio Nolan del Made in Italy e dell’Emilia-Romagna, his 1:33.045 was 0.025s quicker than teammate Jack Miller as factory Ducati snatch a 1-2. Luca Marini (SKY VR46 Avintia) earned a maiden MotoGP™ front row start to make is three Ducatis on the front row, as World Championship leader Fabio Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) fails to make it out of Q2 and will start 15th.

The Q1 battle – Bagnaia through, Quartararo out  

Ahead of the pole position shootout, the top two in the World Championship faced Q1 on a treacherous Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli layout. Slick tyres were the way forward on a drying track, as Quartararo and Bagnaia began their most important 15 minutes of the season.

After two flying laps, it was Quartararo and Bagnaia 1-2 – but the times were tumbling lap after lap as the riders gained confidence in the very tricky conditions. With five minutes to go, it was so far, so good for the title contenders. However, Iker Lecuona (Tech3 KTM Factory Racing) and Alex Marquez (LCR Honda Castrol) were making life difficult for the Frenchman.

Crashes for Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing), Michele Pirro (Ducati Lenovo Team) and Joan Mir (Team Suzuki Ecstar) in quick succession brought out numerous yellow flags. Bad news for Quartararo, because he was third – with Pecco P1. Alex Marquez was P2, and this was tense.

Following Quartararo, Alex Rins (Team Suzuki Ecstar) pinched P2 to demote Quartararo to P3 – as yellow flags then came out for an Enea Bastianini (Avintia Esponsorama) crash. That meant Quartararo’s session was done, his lap would be cancelled and for the first time in his MotoGP™ career, the World Championship leader would not be taking part in Q2 – P15 for El Diablo. On his final flying lap, Lecuona grabbed a late P2 to pinch a Q2 spot.