Martin beats Bagnaia to pole, Viñales third as Marquez fails to move through from Q1

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Martin Beats Bagnaia To Pole, Viñales Third As Marquez Fails To Move Through From Q1 Lap records, drama and surprise exits? The stage is set for fireworks in France.

Championship leader Jorge Martin (Prima Pramac Racing) will start from pole at the Michelin® Grand Prix de France, although the journey to the top, via a stunning new lap record in the 1:29s, was far from drama-free. But neither was it for his now closest-challenger in the standings either, reigning Champion Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati Lenovo Team), as the #1 followed a tumble for Martin with one of his own. They’ll start 1-2 on the grid though, and they’ll have company from another fast, fast challenger: Maverick Viñales (Aprilia Racing) as the 2017 winner gears up for another shot at it.

Martin Beats Bagnaia To Pole, Viñales Third As Marquez Fails To Move Through From Q1Q1 TURNS THE TABLES
As ever, plenty of contenders were looking for a way through to Q2. As ever, nothing is ever as simple as it seems in motorcycle racing either. After a number of yellow flags and dramas, Enea Bastianini (Ducati Lenovo Team) managed to thread the needle to put in a fast, clean lap, leaving early leader Marc Marquez (Gresini Racing MotoGP™) in second.

But there was one last shot at the top left for Miguel Oliveira (Trackhouse Racing) and the Portuguese rider made it count, knocking the eight-time World Champion out of the top two and moving through along with Bastianini. MM93 is left to launch from P13, although that’s a little further forward than another rider who expected to fight at the front: Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) starts last after a nightmare weekend so far.

Martin Beats Bagnaia To Pole, Viñales Third As Marquez Fails To Move Through From Q1CALM FROM THE CHAOS
Despite one of the messiest ends to Q2 in recent memory, the front row is a fairly calm appraisal of who has seemed fastest so far in France. Martin put in a stunner to take over on top and then slid out when trying to better it again, leaving the baton with Bagnaia to respond. The reigning Champion was putting in the red sectors too, but he then slid out of contention, leaving it in Championship order at the front of the grid. Viñales, meanwhile, lurks in third and with some serious speed…

Bastianini looked like he could attack for pole late on, and for one sector so did Pedro Acosta (Red Bull GASGAS Tech3), but it faded and the Pertamina Enduro VR46 Racing Team were on the charge.

Martin Beats Bagnaia To Pole, Viñales Third As Marquez Fails To Move Through From Q1

THE GRID
Behind that front row, it is indeed Fabio Di Giannantonio (Pertamina Enduro VR46 Racing Team) and teammate and 2023 Le Mans winner Marco Bezzecchi in fourth and fifth, ahead of Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing) who was another of those late crashers bringing out yellow flags.

Row 3 is headed by Acosta, with Fabio Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP™) in P8 after a serious push on home turf. He starts just ahead of former teammate and now Prima Pramac Racing rider Franco Morbidelli.

After not finding quite enough to improve, Bastianini lines up in P10 ahead of Jack Miller (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing), the final Q2 crasher, with Oliveira P12 just ahead of Marc Marquez in the first of those in Q1.

The stage is set for a stunning show in Sarthe, so first tune in for the Tissot Sprint at 15:00 today, before the Grand Prix at 14:00 tomorrow. See you there!

Racing

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