Zarco, Viñales, Miller, Quartararo, Bagnaia and Aleix Espargaro all put in 1:57s in a super shootout at Silverstone.
Johann Zarco (Prima Pramac Racing) came out on top after a serious assault on the lap record in Q2 at the Monster Energy British Grand Prix at Silverstone, with the Frenchman putting in a 1:57.767 to just beat Maverick Viñales (Aprilia Racing) by 0.098. Zarco extends his record as the rider with most premier class poles without a win and Viñales takes his first front row with Aprilia, with Jack Miller (Ducati Lenovo Team) completing that front row just another 0.066 back. The front two rows all went under the 1:57 barrier and eight riders beat the 2019 lap record.
Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing) will start from Row 2 after a 1:57 and a stunning salvage job. The Aprilia rider suffered a huge highside in FP4 at Turn 12 and was sent skywards, given the all clear to continue by the Medical Centre with no fractures but definitely left with a pain barrier to ride through in qualifying and on Sunday.
Enea Bastianini (Gresini Racing MotoGP™) headed through on top, the Italian not really threatened by the rest in Q1 but the battle behind proving close.
It was Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) holding onto second until later in the session, but a late lunge from Marco Bezzecchi (Mooney VR46 Racing Team) saw him usurp the South African to move through.
Some early drama unfolded for Alex Marquez (LCR Honda Castrol) in the session as the Spaniard crashed down at the Vale chicane, rider ok but still lead Honda down in P17.
After his huge highside at Turn 12 in FP4, a bruised Aleix Espargaro was back out on track, meanwhile Martin laid down a quality early banker to edge teammate Zarco by less than a tenth after the first flying laps – meaning a 1:58.377 was the time to beat.
Quartararo did then better that by 0.118s as Miller rose to P2, 0.001s off the Frenchman. Espargaro’s first effort was 1.6s away from Quartararo’s pace, but that was just an exploratory run to see how he was feeling. New tyres were fitted and the number 41 was back out to see how far up the grid he could get.
It was Espargaro’s teammate Viñales who occupied provisional P3 heading into the final five minutes of the session though, with Martin and Zarco shuffled down to P4 and P5, with Alex Rins (Team Suzuki Ecstar) P6 ahead of seventh placed Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati Lenovo Team).
Attention then turned to Aleix Espargaro. Three red sectors resulted in a 1:57.966 – amazingly, a new all-time lap record and a phenomenal attempt. It wasn’t going to be enough for pole position, however, as a flurry of rapid times were about to come in. Quartararo briefly returned to P1 before Miller then bettered the Yamaha rider, but then came Zarco. He took over and the lap held firm as it wasn’t beaten by Bagnaia, who slotted into P4.
The last rider to cross the line on a flying lap was Viñales and it was a belter. Top Gun’s 1:57.865 was enough to shoot him up to second place, earning the Spaniard his best qualifying result with Aprilia and his first front row since claiming pole at the 2021 Dutch TT.
Zarco’s new all-time lap record gives the man third in the World Championship chase his second pole of the season, ahead of Viñales and Miller. Quartararo will be praying for a great getaway from P4 as he faces the much-talked-about Long Lap penalty on Sunday afternoon, as three key title contenders line up on the second row: Bagnaia starts P5, Aleix Espargaro starts P6.
After coming through Q1, Bezzecchi starts seventh ahead of fellow Q1 graduate Bastianini – amazingly, both of the Ducati riders were under Marc Marquez’s (Repsol Honda Team) old lap record at Silverstone too. That’s just how competitive MotoGP™ is in 2022!
Martin has to settle for P9 despite being less than half a second away from pole, as Luca Marini (Mooney VR46 Racing Team), Rins and Joan Mir (Team Suzuki Ecstar) round out the Q2 places in P10, P11 and P12 respectively.
After all that, we’re set up for a spell-binding Sunday at Silverstone. Don’t miss a crucial battle in the Championship at 13:00 local time (GMT+1) as the premier class take on the Monster Energy British Grand Prix.
MotoGP™: FRONT ROW
1 Johann Zarco (Prima Pramac Racing) – Ducati – 1’57.767
2 Maverick Viñales (Aprilia Racing) – Aprilia – +0.098
3 Jack Miller (Ducati Lenovo Team) – Ducati – +0.164
Johann Zarco: “Pretty happy. I got good confidence in FP4 with the hard rear, and on the first lap on the soft rear in qualifying, I felt this 58.4 was coming with good control. So, then it was necessary to have an extra push with the second tyre, and I’m pretty happy that I could do it immediately from the first lap when the tyre has the best performance. There was nobody on track – no one slowing down and disturbing me – just a few guys in front of me. It was good enough to get this extra motivation and enjoy a good time.”
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