Le Mans MotoGP: Quartararo takes first pole since Jerez

Fabio Quartararo beat Jack Miller to MotoGP pole in a dramatic French Grand Prix qualifying, with Joan Mir only 14th after failing to get out of Q1.

Qualifying was delayed owing to an oil spill caused by Miguel Oliveira’s Tech 3 KTM expiring 13 minutes into FP4.

When Q2 finally got under way, Yamaha took charge of the top of the timesheets as they did in FP3 and FP4, with Catalunya poleman Franco Morbidelli setting the early pace with a 1m32.393s. 

His Petronasstablemate Quartararo beat this just a moment later with a 1m31.679s, which he improved to a 1m31.665s on the following tour. 

Pramac’s Francesco Bagnaia split the Yamaha’s on the provisional front row in second having come through Q1 alongside fellow Ducati rider Danilo Petrucci. 

Quartararo’s 1m31.665s came under immense threat as the session ticked into its final two minutes, with Ducati’s Andrea Dovizioso jumping up to second before the injured Cal Crutchlow missed out by just 0.021 seconds.

Jack Miller toppled Quartararo’s time with a 1m31.537s on his final lap, but Quartararo was lighting up the timing screens on his last effort.

Under a tenth up as he entered the third sector, home hero Quartararo monstered the final split to produce a 1m31.315s to claim his first pole since the Andalusian GP in July by 0.222s.

Miller held onto second ahead of Petrucci, who secured his first front row start since the 2019 Italian GP weekend.

Crutchlow will head the second row on his LCR Honda despite still suffering with complications from surgery on his right arm in August, while Maverick Vinales on the Yamaha and Dovizioso line up alongside.

Bagnaia was shuffled back to seventh in the end ahead of Pol Espargaro’s KTM and Johann Zarco on the Avintia Ducati.

Valentino Rossi put in a charge for pole late on, but could only manage 10th on his Yamaha ahead of early pacesetter Morbidelli and Oliveira.

Mir’s difficult Saturday continued into qualifying, after a crash in FP3 left him stranded in Q1.

The Suzuki rider did hold a Q2 place in the closing stages of Q1, but his 1m32.187s wasn’t good enough to stop Pramac’s Bagnaia from demoting him, with LCR’s Takaaki Nakagami worsening the situation by jumping up to 13th. 

Mir’s 14th is his worst qualifying of the year and he will be joined on the fifth row by Aprilia’s Aleix Espargaro, with the sister Suzuki of Alex Rins only 16th after suffering another crash in FP4.

A late crash for Brad Binder at the Musee left-hander stopped him advancing on 17th on the KTM, with Alex Marquez shuffled back to 18th on the Honda after an early stint in the top two.

Bradley Smith on the sister Aprilia, Tech 3’s Iker Lecuona, Honda’s Stefan Bradl and the Avintia Ducati of Tito Rabat complete the field.

Q2 results:

Cla Rider Bike Time Gap
1 France Fabio Quartararo
Yamaha 1'31.315
2 Australia Jack Miller
Ducati 1'31.537 0.222
3 Italy Danilo Petrucci
Ducati 1'31.674 0.359
4 United Kingdom Cal Crutchlow
Honda 1'31.686 0.371
5 Spain Maverick Viñales
Yamaha 1'31.719 0.404
6 Italy Andrea Dovizioso
Ducati 1'31.722 0.407
7 Italy Francesco Bagnaia
Ducati 1'31.752 0.437
8 Spain Pol Espargaro
KTM 1'31.795 0.480
9 France Johann Zarco
Ducati 1'31.832 0.517
10 Italy Valentino Rossi
Yamaha 1'31.889 0.574
11 Italy Franco Morbidelli
Yamaha 1'31.891 0.576
12 Portugal Miguel Oliveira
KTM 1'32.009 0.694

Q1 results:

Cla Rider Bike Time Gap
1 Italy Danilo Petrucci
Ducati 1'31.952
2 Italy Francesco Bagnaia
Ducati 1'32.054 0.102
3 Japan Takaaki Nakagami
Honda 1'32.179 0.227
4 Spain Joan Mir
Suzuki 1'32.187 0.235
5 Spain Aleix Espargaro
Aprilia 1'32.539 0.587
6 Spain Alex Rins
Suzuki 1'32.757 0.805
7 South Africa Brad Binder
KTM 1'32.766 0.814
8 Spain Alex Marquez
Honda 1'32.774 0.822
9 United Kingdom Bradley Smith
Aprilia 1'32.833 0.881
10 Spain Iker Lecuona
KTM 1'32.859 0.907
11 Germany Stefan Bradl
Honda 1'32.861 0.909
12 Spain Tito Rabat
Ducati 1'33.610 1.658
shares
comments
Avintia refutes rumours of 2021 takeover by VR46
Previous article

Avintia refutes rumours of 2021 takeover by VR46

Next article

Morbidelli fears "nightmare" race as Yamaha "useless" in pack

Morbidelli fears "nightmare" race as Yamaha "useless" in pack
Load comments
Why Ducati holds all the power in its MotoGP rider dilemma Prime

Why Ducati holds all the power in its MotoGP rider dilemma

OPINION: The French Grand Prix looks to have made Ducati’s decision on its factory team line-up simpler, as Enea Bastianini stormed to his third win of the campaign and Jorge Martin crashed out for a fifth time in 2022. But, as Ducati suggests to Motorsport.com, it remains in the strongest position in a wild rider market

MotoGP
May 16, 2022
The seismic aftershock of Suzuki's decision to leave MotoGP Prime

The seismic aftershock of Suzuki's decision to leave MotoGP

Suzuki's sudden decision to leave the MotoGP World Championship at the end of the season has acted as a stirring element in a market that had already erupted. We analyse what this means for the grid going into 2023

MotoGP
May 11, 2022
How the real Ducati began to emerge in MotoGP's Spanish GP Prime

How the real Ducati began to emerge in MotoGP's Spanish GP

Ducati’s 2022 MotoGP bike has had a tough start to life and the expected early-season title charge from Francesco Bagnaia did not materialise. But the Spanish Grand Prix signalled a turning point for both the GP22 and Bagnaia, as the 2021 runner-up belatedly got his season underway after a straight fight with Fabio Quartararo

MotoGP
May 2, 2022
How praise for Honda's MotoGP bike has given way to doubt Prime

How praise for Honda's MotoGP bike has given way to doubt

In a little over two months, Honda has gone from setting the pace in MotoGP testing with its new RC213V prototype to being at a crossroads - caused by the discrepancy in its riders' feedback. After a Portuguese GP that underwhelmed, serious questions are now being asked of Honda in 2022

MotoGP
Apr 26, 2022
Why Quartararo's win was vital not only for his title hopes Prime

Why Quartararo's win was vital not only for his title hopes

Fabio Quartararo got his MotoGP title defence off the ground in the Portuguese Grand Prix as a dominant first win of 2022 rocketed him to the top of the standings. While a significant result in terms of his title hopes, it has come at an even more important time in terms of his 2023 contract negotiations

MotoGP
Apr 25, 2022
The MotoGP rookie fighting two fronts in his debut year Prime

The MotoGP rookie fighting two fronts in his debut year

Darryn Binder has found himself in the unenviable position as MotoGP's most under-pressure rookie in 2022 having made the step directly from Moto3 with a reputation as an over-aggressive rider. This hasn't been an easy thing to shake at the start of the season, but he believes tangible progress is being made

MotoGP
Apr 18, 2022
How ‘Beast’ mode is putting Ducati in 2022 MotoGP title contention Prime

How ‘Beast’ mode is putting Ducati in 2022 MotoGP title contention

Enea Bastianini’s second win of the 2022 campaign at COTA puts him back in the lead of the standings and once again showed the best Ducati package is still the 2021 bike. Those closest to Bastianini tell Motorsport.com why he’s so good on the GP21 relative to his factory counterparts.

MotoGP
Apr 12, 2022
How Espargaro helped Aprilia shed MotoGP's underdog tag Prime

How Espargaro helped Aprilia shed MotoGP's underdog tag

Aleix Espargaro became MotoGP's newest winner in a thrilling Argentina Grand Prix in which he also proved the merits of the Aprilia project. After six years of hard graft, both parties have reaped the rewards they have long thought they deserved. But it was several key moments in that journey that led both to that momentous Sunday at Termas de Rio Hondo.

MotoGP
Apr 4, 2022