MotoGP Misano: Miller maintains dominance for pole

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Picture: GeeBee Images

Ducati Lenovo’s Jack Miller mastered the complicated Misano conditions with a 1’31.899 lap for pole position ahead of the San MarinoGP.

Bettering his factory teammate Pecco Bagnaia by just 0.015s, the Australian claimed his first pole position since 2018. Ducati locked out the front row on home soil as Gresini’s Enea Bastianini secured third position, Mooney VR46’s Marco Bezzecchi gaining a promotion in front of his local fans from fourth to third after Bagnaia’s three-place penalty kicks in.

The rain had dispersed as qualifying kicked off for the premier class, at least for now. The two Mooney VR46 riders vied for promotion in the opening stages before Prima Pramac’s Jorge Martin took charge at the expense of Luca Marini. LCR’s Alex Marquez crashing out at turn three, from fourth, after five minutes on track.

Home talent Michele Pirro and Andrea Dovizioso circulated in fifth and sixth until Gresini’s Fabio Di giannantonio and KTM’s Brad Binder slid into third and fourth. Bezzecchi returned to head the times with a 1’31.961 as light showers arrived once again.

VR46 were back in line for a one-two with two minutes left on the clock as Marini joined his rookie teammate at the top. The intensifying rain denying any further improvements.

The 15-minute shootout saw the pack roll out on wets in the changeable conditions. KTM’s Miguel Oliveira attempting a medium/soft slick combination from the off with Franky Morbidelli and Bastianini the first to quickly return for soft slicks.

Oliveira topped the initial times with a 1’38.743 before advancing the pace to a 1’37.332 next time around. Title rivals Fabio Quartararo and Bagnaia circulating three and four seconds adrift as the box calls came in from Yamaha and Ducati respectively.

Q1 leader Bezzecchi was the next in the groove as the Italian set a 1’36.7 with his third attempt. His factory cohort Miller bettering by over seven-tenths with the top four all on red sector pace. Oliveira grabbing the runner-up position before Bezzecchi and Bastianini claimed first and second in quick succession.

The halfway stage saw the times continue to tumble. Miller upping the anti with a 1’34.764, 0.015s faster than the confident Portuguese rider before Ducati’s young guns arrived once again. Bastianini led from Bezzecchi, Miller and Pramac’s Johann Zarco with Bagnaia currently in sixth while Morbidelli and Monster Energy teammate Quartararo trailed.

Miller returned to provisional pole after another rapid shuffle, 1’32.637 now the time to beat but with red sectors flashing, it wouldn’t be long. Bagnaia blitzed his teammate for pole but Zarco was on the move behind. The Frenchman leading Aprilia’s Maverick Viñales on 1’32.2 pace with two minutes to go.

The final efforts found Miller back in charge and holding provisional pole as Bagnaia rose to join him, in second. Bezzecchi staking his claim on a front row start before Bastianini displaced him but with the number 63’s looming penalty the pair would both line up at the front at home.

Viñales claimed fifth from Zarco and Marini with Quartararo set for a P8 start, directly behind Bagnaia - once dropped to fifth - and one place ahead of championship challenger Aleix Espargaro. Oliveira, Morbidelli and Suzuki’s Alex Rins completed the top 12.

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