Friday, June 14, 2024

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Hundredths in it: Martin snatches lap record pole from Espargaro and Bastianini

Motogp - Qatar - QualifyingJorge Martin (Prima Pramac Ducati) will head the first grids of the year after! The 2023 runner up set a magical 1:50.789 in qualifying for the Qatar Airways Grand Prix of Qatar to take pole, becoming the fastest rider ever to lap Lusail International Circuit.

That said, it’s close at the top. Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing) was just 0.083 behind, with Enea Bastianini (Ducati Lenovo Team) rounding out the front row only another 0.003 back.

After a Practice session that left Raul Fernandez (Trackhouse Racing) just outside the cut, the Spaniard was taking aim at the top in Q1. He got it too, moving through just ahead of Jack Miller (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) as the two left Johann Zarco (CASTROL Honda LCR) missing out on a place by just 0.010. Nevertheless, the Frenchman continues to impress on his switch to Honda.

Motogp - Qatar - QualifyingQ2 DELIVERS A TANTALISING GRID
There was a lot to learn in the very first Q2 of the year. Everyone fully unleashed, full throttle, and not a single sandbag worth holding on to. After the first runs, a familiar name had taken hold though: Martin. That stunning 1:50.789 came in on his second lap as Ducatis locked out the top five positions early on, and no one would prove able to topple it.

Once the second runs began, Miller and rookie Pedro Acosta (Red Bull GASGAS Tech3) were especially hoping to find some time, but then it was all eyes on Marc Marquez (Gresini Racing MotoGP™) as the eight-time World Champion came up with red sectors – but it wasn’t quite enough in the last part of the lap.Hundredths In It: Martin Snatches Lap Record Pole From Espargaro And Bastianini

Espargaro was another who looked to be challenging Martin’s dominion at the top but he ultimately jumped into second, losing out by less than a tenth, as Bastianini held onto a first front row of the year in third, and at a venue he’s reigned before.

Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) heads the second row, just 0.124 off the top, and lost the chance to make a final improvement as he slid off on his last attempt. Alongside Binder will be reigning World Champion, Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati Lenovo Team), who starts from fifth. And then it’s Marc Marquez rounding out the second row, making it 12 World Championships lining up on Row 2.Motogp - Qatar - Qualifying

Fabio Di Giannantonio (Pertamina Enduro VR46 Racing Team) will head the third row in P7, with teammate Marco Bezzecchi having a tougher weekend of it and left down in Q1. Acosta will start eighth for his first Tissot Sprint and premier class Grand Prix race, having been P3 on Friday and gone straight through to Q2 to boot.

Alex Marquez rounds out Row 3 after he couldn’t replicate his time from Practice that saw him top that session, with Maverick Viñales (Aprilia Racing), Miller and Raul Fernandez, who crashed in Q2, rider ok, locking out the positions down to P12. Then it’s Zarco and that very solid debut with Honda, the first of those who didn’t make it through to Q2.

The grids are set, the stage is set, and soon the sun will set. Come back for more MotoGP™ at 19:00 local time (UTC +3) for the first Tissot Sprint of what promises to be a stunning 2024!

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