MotoGP Aragon: Bagnaia back on pole for Ducati front row

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Picture: GeeBee Images

Ducati Lenovo’s Pecco Bagnaia secured his fifth MotoGP pole of the season to head an all-Ducati front row at Motorland Aragon.

Setting a 1’46.069 lap during Saturday afternoon’s qualifying showcase, the dominance of the Italian and the GP22 continued. Teammate Jack Miller maintained his recent run of form with a strong second, just 0.09s shy of his colleague, for his fourth front row start in a row, while Gresini’s Enea Bastianini completed the Bologna success in third.

Repsol Honda’s Marc Marquez rolled out for his first qualifying sprint since late May as Q1 got up to speed. Aprilia’s Aleix Espargaro, Maverick Viñales and Pramac’s Johann Zarco amongst the big hitters vying for a last minute promotion as the Frenchman set the initial pace.

WithU Yamaha’s replacement rider Cal Crutchlow was circulating second as the opening laps registered before Mooney VR46’s Luca Marini demoted him by a mere 0.016s for the final promotion place.

Marquez was in charge with a 1’46.909 from Espargaro next time around as Gresini’s Fabio Di Giannantonio continued to impress on the GP21. Marini refining his own personal best as he headed the Ducati battle with his third attempt, topping Diggia and Zarco for best of the rest.

The second runs fired up with three minutes on the clock, Viñales crashing out at the perilous turn two as his new hard front let go. The Spaniard’s first crash of the season coming at the most inopportune time.

Teammate Espargaro hit the top in the final minute with his shot for promotion, the 1’46.569 lap demoting Marquez out of Q2 as the flag dropped while Zarco collected the final spot. Pol Espargaro suffering a late turn five crash on the second RC213V as his weekend went from bad to worse.

The final shootout saw Ducatis back on top as Bastianini led the factory duo with a 1’46.580 lap. Suzuki Ecstar’s Alex Rins headed KTM’s Brad Binder before the South African claimed the position with Frenchmen Zarco and Fabio Quartararo collecting sixth and seventh.

FP4 leader Miguel Oliveira began his Q2 action from eighth ahead of Mooney VR46’s Marco Bezzecchi while LCR’s Takaaki Nakagami, Espargaro and the final Prima Pramac of Jorge Martin completed the top 12 at the halfway stage.

The final push for pole saw red sectors across the board. Espargaro the first to cross the line but falling short by 0.01s before both Ducati’s bettered their satellite cohort. Bagnaia stormed the standings with a 1’46.069, Miller shy of his teammate by less than a tenth with Bastianini improving his personal best for the final place on the front row - his third in succession.

A late effort from Quartararo found him behind his countryman once again as he secured sixth from Espargaro and Zarco. Bezzecchi, Martin and Rins outperforming the KTM duo of Binder and Oliveira with Nakagami completing the fourth row for Sunday’s grid.

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