Fabio Quartararo (Petronas Yamaha SRT) bagged a home Grand Prix pole at the SHARK Helmets Grand Prix de France registering a stunning 1:31.315 as he took the Saturday honours away from Jack Miller (Pramac Racing) in the very last lap. Miller will start from P2 on Sunday afternoon and Danilo Petrucci (Ducati Team) from P3, having made it to the front row since the 2019 Italian GP. Second in the Championship Joan Mir (Team Suzuki Ecstar) will start P14.
Ducati duo Petrucci and Francesco Bagnaia (Pramac Racing) claimed P1 and P2 in the 15-minute dash, seeing title contender Mir having to start from way down the order after Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda Idemitsu) also finished ahead of the Spaniard.
Soon into Q2, Franco Morbidelli (Petronas Yamaha SRT) led Yamaha duo Maverick Viñales (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) and Quartararo over the line, and it was the Italian who set the first benchmark time – a 1:32.393. Bagnaia went up to P2 with Viñales slotting into P3. All four Yamahas were inside the top four with Quartararo launching to P1 with a 1:31.679, Bagnaia then improved again to slot into P2 behind the home hero, 0.073 was the gap after two flying laps.
Quartararo then improved again to extend his advantage to 0.087 seconds, with Morbidelli holding P3 for the time being as the riders completed their first runs. Viñales was P4 and was seemingly – like he did at Misano – on a two-stop qualifying strategy.
Petrucci and Valentino Rossi (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) joined Viñales on the provisional second row with Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team) sitting P10 with six minutes to go. Bagnaia hadn’t pitted and after venting his frustrations at Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM Tech3), Pecco was on another flyer but it went wrong at Turn 9.
Wounded Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda Castrol) then came out of nowhere to set an unbelievable 1:31.686 to go provisional P2 and just behind him on the road, close mate Miller was setting the world alight with his time. The Aussie was 0.3 under at the third split and despite losing some time in the last sector, Miller demoted Quartararo to P2 and went to pole position by 0.128 – but it wasn’t done.
Quartararo was determined to make it a home Grand Prix pole position and he was on course to absolutely smoke the competition. The number 20 was two tenths under Miller’s time heading into the last sector and the 21-year-old made no mistake, taking the chequered flag to claim his ninth MotoGP pole position by 0.222 from the Ducati of Miller.
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