Thrilling Spanish GP Qualifying: Espargaro Grabs Pole
Amidst the capricious skies of Jerez, Aprilia’s Aleix Espargaro overcame the odds to claim MotoGP pole position for the Spanish Grand Prix. In a heart-stopping qualifying session, riders grappled with uncertain weather and changing track conditions, pushing their limits to secure a spot on the front row.
In a thrilling qualifying session marked by unpredictable weather conditions at Jerez, Aprilia’s Aleix Espargaro secured the MotoGP pole position for the Spanish Grand Prix.
This achievement marks Espargaro’s fifth pole position in MotoGP, which followed a near-miss with a stray cat during pre-qualifying practice and a subsequent crash.
Contrasting with the sunny weather on Friday, the qualifying day presented overcast skies, and the beginning of Q1 was accompanied by thunder and lightning approaching the circuit.
As the first qualifying session came to a close, a light rain shower ensued, leaving riders uncertain about whether to choose wet or slick tires for Q2.
While some riders initially opted for wet tires, they quickly returned to the pits to switch to slick tires once it became apparent that they were still the better choice for the moment.
As the rain held off and the track dried, lap times improved with each rider adapting to the evolving conditions. Personal bests were achieved until the very end, with Espargaro’s 1m37.216s securing pole position, 0.221s ahead of Jack Miller, while Jorge Martin (Pramac Ducati) completed the front row.
Brad Binder, Miller’s KTM teammate, who had to participate in Q1, finished fourth in the qualifying session, followed by Ducati’s Pecco Bagnaia, another Q1 pace-setter.
Dani Pedrosa’s remarkable weekend persisted, securing him the sixth spot on the grid, resulting in three KTM bikes occupying the first two rows. Miguel Oliveira (RNF Aprilia) placed seventh.
Johann Zarco, Martin’s Pramac teammate, will start in eighth position, followed by VR46 Ducati’s Luca Marini and Aprilia’s Maverick Vinales.
Takaaki Nakagami from LCR was the highest-ranked Honda rider in 11th place, just ahead of Gresini’s Alex Marquez, who was in contention for the pole position on his year-old Ducati at one point.
In Q1, championship leader Marco Bezzecchi narrowly missed out on a spot in the top 12 shootout by 0.037s, with Franco Morbidelli following closely behind.
Fabio Di Giannantonio finished the qualifying session in 15th place. Morbidelli’s Yamaha teammate Fabio Quartararo, who expressed dissatisfaction with his M1 on Friday, did not improve in pace and ended up in 16th position. In his previous five MotoGP attempts at Jerez, Quartararo had never qualified lower than second place.
The session concluded with Raul Fernandez in 17th place, followed by the winner of the previous round, Alex Rins.
Wildcard entrant Stefan Bradl managed to secure only the 20th position on his Honda RC213V, finishing ahead of Joan Mir and Augusto Fernandez.
Substitute riders Jonas Folger and Iker Lecuona completed the grid in 22nd and 23rd places. The field has been reduced to 23 riders after Ducati factory rider Enea Bastianini, who is still recovering from an injury, withdrew on Saturday morning.
Pos Name Team Bike G1 G2 1 Aleix Espargaró Aprilia Racing Aprilia 1m37.216s 2 Jack Miller Red Bull KTM Factory Racing KTM 1m37.437s 3 Jorge Martin Prima Pramac Racing Ducati 1m37.458s 4 Brad Binder Red Bull KTM Factory Racing KTM 1m36.541s 1m37.532s 5 Francesco Bagnaia Ducati Lenovo Team Ducati 1m36.493s 1m37.557s 6 Dani Pedrosa Red Bull KTM Factory Racing KTM 1m37.583s 7 Miguel Oliveira CryptoDATA RNF MotoGP Team Aprilia 1m37.596s 8 Johann Zarco Prima Pramac Racing Ducati 1m37.616s 9 Luca Marini Mooney VR46 Racing Team Ducati 1m37.666s 10 Maverick Viñales Aprilia Racing Aprilia 1m37.765s 11 Takaaki Nakagami LCR Honda IDEMITSU Honda 1m37.876s 12 Alex Marquez Gresini Racing MotoGP Ducati 1m37.92s 13 Marco Bezzecchi Mooney VR46 Racing Team Ducati 1m36.578s 14 Franco Morbidelli Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP Yamaha 1m36.793s 15 Fabio Di Giannantonio Gresini Racing MotoGP Ducati 1m36.967s 16 Fabio Quartararo Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP Yamaha 1m37.072s 17 Raul Fernandez CryptoDATA RNF MotoGP Team Aprilia 1m37.164s 18 Alex Rins LCR Honda CASTROL Honda 1m37.256s 19 Stefan Bradl Repsol Honda Team Honda 1m37.297s 20 Joan Mir Repsol Honda Team Honda 1m37.346s 21 Augusto Fernandez GASGAS Factory Racing Tech3 KTM 1m37.753s 22 Jonas Folger GASGAS Factory Racing Tech3 KTM 1m38.492s 23 Iker Lecuona Repsol Honda Team Honda 1m38.582s
Thrilling Spanish GP Qualifying Espargaro Grabs Pole 2023 Thrilling Spanish GP Qualifying Espargaro Grabs Pole 2023 Thrilling Spanish GP Qualifying Espargaro Grabs Pole 2023 Thrilling Spanish GP Qualifying Espargaro Grabs Pole 2023
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