Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) showed no signs of letting go of his stranglehold on the Gran Premio Michelin® de Aragon on Saturday afternoon, with the reigning Champion taking his 61st premier class pole position in 122 races – taking him back to an incredible 50% ratio. It’s his fifth pole at MotorLand, although Fabio Quartararo (Petronas Yamaha SRT) kept pulses racing until right at the end of the session as he set three red sectors in a row, only losing out in the final part of the lap. He’ll start second, with Maverick Viñales (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) completing the front row.
The promised – or threatened, depending on perspective – rain came down on Saturday morning, but it didn’t stay around too long. It was enough to put paid to anyone’s chance of improving their lap time in FP3 however, with the likes of Alex Rins (Team Suzuki Ecstar) therefore sure of a trip to Q1. And in Q1 it was a surprise to see the Suzuki man knocked out, with Franco Morbidelli (Petronas Yamaha SRT) taking to the top and joined in Q2 by an impressive Andrea Iannone (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini).
With Q2 underway – featuring two Aprilias for the first time in MotoGP™ – the fastest laptime cycled through a few different names before Marquez’ second lap shot him to the top, deposing Quartararo, who had deposed Viñales.
On their second runs, Viñales struck back against Quartararo but the gap to Marquez remained over four tenths…made even worse as the number 93 crossed the line only just behind Viñales’ Yamaha and improved his time even further. It seemed like all was said and done in the fight for pole after that show of pace, but Quartararo had other ideas.
On his final flying lap, the rookie was over a tenth in the red after the first split. Were we about to witness one of the upsets of the season? After the second split, the 20-year-old’s advantage was hovering around a tenth and at the third, there was nothing to choose between Quartararo and Marquez. With only the final sector to go – one that’s been tougher for the Yamaha – could ‘El Diablo’ keep those few thousandths? In the end, he couldn’t, with Marquez secure on pole – but Quartararo will line up second after taking an awesome eighth front row start of his rookie season, edging ahead of Viñales to make it two Yamahas joining the Repsol Honda on the front row.
Jack Miller (Pramac Racing) took P4 and heads up Row 2 as the highest-placed Ducati rider, with Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini) putting in a blinder to take P5 and Aprilia’s best qualifying since Japan 2017. Nine-time World Champion Valentino Rossi (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) managed to launch himself from the lower echelons on his final run, with the ‘Doctor’ taking P6 as he completes the second row.
Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda Castrol) spearheads Row 3, the British rider leading Q1 pacesetter Morbidelli and Joan Mir (Team Suzuki Ecstar), with the Suzuki-riding rookie out-qualifying teammate Rins for the second time this year despite a crash in FP4.
Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team) completes the top ten after a tougher day at the office, with Andrea Iannone battling through the pain barrier after his crash at Misano to take P11.
Pol Espargaro (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing), meanwhile, crashed in FP4 and suffered a fractured left wrist, meaning the number 44 will sadly miss the rest of his home Grand Prix. That will move Rins up to P12, with Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda Castrol) and Danilo Petrucci (Ducati Team) just behind.
Having played second fiddle to his title rival on Friday, Alex Marquez (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) turned the tables in Moto2™ Q2 at the Gran Premio Michelin® de Aragon to claim a home Grand Prix pole position – with a new lap record no less. That saw the Spaniard edge out compatriot Augusto Fernandez (FlexBox HP 40) by 0.125, with Red Bull KTM Ajo’s Brad Binder – last year’s polesitter and winner – completing the intermediate class front row.
It was Marquez’ teammate Xavi Vierge who set the first benchmark time of the session, a 1:52.589, but Marquez’ third lap would be fierce. The Championship leaper hadn’t been in the top three all weekend but a 1:52.225 was a new MotorLand Aragon lap record as Fernandez languished in P10.
Initially in the shadow of teammate Lorenzo Baldassarri, Fernandez was improving. His lap time wouldn’t be able to better Marquez, but the number 40 was in touching distance and Luca Marini (Sky Racing Team VR46), second after Free Practice, was also gunning for the front. Ultimately Fernandez set a red sector two and a red sector three on his final push, but couldn’t keep his advantage and starts second. Late on, Binder struck to lock out the front row and demote Marini.
It’s the Sky Racing Team VR46 rider’s best qualifying since Germany as he then heads up Row 2, ahead of title contender Tom Lüthi (Dynavolt Intact GP), who took his best grid position at Aragon. Key rival Jorge Navarro (HDR Heidrun Speed Up) completes the second row.
Early Q2 pacesetter Vierge has to settle for P7 on the grid, and he has rookie Nicolo Bulega (Sky Racing Team VR46) and Federal Oil Gresini Moto2’s Sam Lowes for company on Row 3. Lowes is, like Binder, a former winner at the venue…
Iker Lecuona (American Racing KTM) had a solid day to complete the top ten, ahead of Lorenzo Baldassarri (Flexbox HP 40) and Misano runner up Fabio Di Giannantonio (HDR Heidrun Speed Up). Remy Gardner (ONEXOX TKKR SAG Team), Jorge Martin (Red Bull KTM Ajo) and Andrea Locatelli (Italtrans Racing Team) complete the fastest fifteen, the latter despite a crash earlier in the day.
Aron Canet (Sterilgarda Max Racing Team) smashed the opposition in qualifying for the Gran Premio Michelin® de Aragon, taking pole by over seven tenths and putting himself in the perfect position to try and claw back some ground in the Championship fight as points leader Lorenzo Dalla Porta (Leopard Racing) starts 12th. Joining Canet on the front row were two stunning performers: rookie Ai Ogura (Honda Team Asia) took second and his third front row of the season, with recently-crowned Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup Champion and wildcard Carlos Tatay (Fundacion Andreas Perez 77) taking third in only his second Grand Prix appearance.
Despite rain that interupted FP3, the skies were dry by the time the lightweight class headed out for qualifying, and Canet was one of those in Q1 looking to move through. The Spaniard did just that, a tenth off Dennis Foggia (Sky Racing Team VR46), who topped the session, with the two joined by Tatay and rookie Celestino Vietti (Sky Racing Team VR46).
Once into Q2, Canet pulled the pin. 11 minutes into the session the Spaniard set his searing lap that put him over a second clear, and it seemed like pole position could already be a done deal. Ultimately, it was, as the final flurry of times didn’t see too much drama. Ogura and Tatay were able to make up some ground – a few tenths – but the man second in the standings was in another postcode on Saturday afternoon. For Ogura, however, it’s a third front row of the season, and for Tatay an impressive first…just a week after the Spaniard wrapped up the 2019 Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup crown.
Behind the three distinct stories on the front row, Jakub Kornfeil (Redox PrüstelGP) also impressed as the Czech veteran heads up Row 2, joined by Vietti and a good showing from Alonso Lopez (Estrella Galicia 0,0) for his best ever qualifying. Tony Arbolino (VNE Snipers) was one man to lose out in the latter stages as he got pushed down to seventh, just ahead of Misano winner Tatsuki Suzuki (SIC58 Squadra Corse). John McPhee (Petronas Sprinta Racing) completes the third row.
Ayumu Sasaki is just behind his Petronas Sprinta Racing teammate in tenth, ahead of Q1-topping Dennis Foggia. Championship leader Dalla Porta starts alongside his compatriot in P12. Albert Arenas (Gaviota Angel Nieto Team), Gabriel Rodrigo (Kömmerling Gresini Moto3) and Jaume Masia (WWR) lock out the fastest fifteen in qualifying.
Technical, challenging and with a long, long straight for slipstreaming, MotorLand Aragon has created some classic Moto3™ races. Tune in for another on Sunday at the slightly later time of 11:20 (GMT +2), with Canet looking to strike back on home turf.
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