Franco Morbidelli (Petronas Yamaha SRT) clocked in a stunning 1:38.798 at the qualifying round Gran Premi Monster Energy de Catalunya bagging his first MotoGP pole position – his first pole since the 2017 Malaysian GP. The Italian was followed by teammate Fabio Quartararo behind by over two tenths, with Valentino Rossi (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) in P3 – his first front-row since the 2019 British GP. In another breaking news from today, Rossi has signed a one-year deal with Petronas Yamaha SRT for 2021.
Jack Miller (Pramac Racing) set the fastest lap of the weekend in Q1 with a 1:39.399 to head Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda Idemitsu), but disaster spilled for Championship leader Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team) finishing P7 in Q1, seeing him start 17th in Barcelona, increasing his stakes for Sunday afternoon so as to keep the lead heading to Le Mans.
Morbidelli set the first banker in Q2, with Rossi then taking over at the top before his teammate Maverick Viñales quickly found himself at the summit. Meanwhile, Quartararo ran wide as he got his YZR-M1 all sorts of crossed up at the tricky Turn 10 before his teammate Morbidelli slammed in the fastest lap of the weekend to go provisional pole again – a 1:39.110.
Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM Tech3) then also got it wrong a Turn 10 but unlike Quartararo, Oliveira was down – thankfully unhurt. Getting the hammer down then was two Ducatis – Miller and Johann Zarco (Esponsorama Racing). Miller only had one set of fresh soft tyres available after coming through Q1, but the Aussie made it count – the future factory Ducati rider was up into P2, just 0.115 off Morbidelli.
Pol Espargaro spearheads Row 3 ahead of Joan Mir (Team Suzuki Ecstar). Both riders looked very good in FP4 and will be strong contenders in the race if they can get a good start. Ducati Team’s Danilo Petrucci joins the Spaniards on the third row – his second consecutive P9 start, with Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) completing the top 10. Nakagami claimed P11 after coming through Q1, Oliveira couldn’t regain his speed shown in FP3 after his crash to line-up P12 for Sunday’s battle. The premier class will be getting underway an hour later than normal.
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