Bengaluru, June 18: Ducati Lenovo Team's Francesco Bagnaia carried his superb MotoGP free practice form into qualifying for the German GP at the Sachsenring circuit by grabbing the pole position.
The Italian was the only rider who could get into the 1:19s in Q2 for for the Liqui Moly Motorrad Grand Prix Deutschlandthe with a 1:19.931, specifically - although the front row was still covered by less than a tenth of a second, proving just how close the category is.
Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP rider Fabio Quartararo has given himself a good chance of extending his World Championship lead by claiming second on the starting grid for Sunday's race in Germany, and he will have Prima Pramac Racing's Johann Zarco alongside him also.
There were three different makes in the top four thanks in part to Aprilia Racing's Aleix Espargaro, but seven of the Bologna bullets made it into the second stanza of qualifying and six of those got into the top eight.
Fabio Di Giannantonio (Gresini Racing MotoGP) topped Q1 before claiming fifth in Q2, ahead of Jack Miller (Ducati Lenovo Team), Luca Marini (Mooney VR46 Racing Team), and Jorge Martin (Prima Pramac Racing).
Di Giannantonio may have fallen into Q1 but he cleared that hurdle by topping that earlier qualifying session with a 1:20.307 which would have put him ninth in Q2 - if he had not gone faster anyway.
The Italian, on a GP21-model Desmosedici, was as high as third-quickest before settling in fifth on the grid on a 1:20.128. As it stands, he will start between Aleix Espargaro and Miller, the latter of whom was sixth on a 1:20.150, but the Australian still faces an investigation into allegedly crashing under a yellow flag in FP4.
For now, seventh on the grid is Marini and eighth is Martin, even though the Spaniard was only 0.288sec slower than pole. Maverick Vinales (Aprilia Racing) also made row 3 while 10th went to Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda Idemitsu), who crashed late at Turn 1. Q1 graduate Marco Bezzecchi (Mooney VR46 Racing Team) took 11th all-told and Joan Mir (Tea Suzuki Ecstar) is also on row 4.
Pol Espargaro was an agonising 0.004sec away from Bezzecchi's 1:20.600 with his late flying lap in Q1, and the Repsol Honda rider will therefore start at the head of row 5 of the grid.
He will be joined there by Red Bull KTM Factory Racing team-mates Miguel Oliveira and Brad Binder, with Row 6 comprising Alex Marquez (LCR Honda Castrol), Enea Bastianini (Gresini Racing MotoGP), and Stefan Bradl (Repsol Honda).
So buck up guys! The MotoGP is back on-track for the warm up on Sunday at 9.40am local time (1.10pm IST_, then it's lights out for the race itself at 2pm local time (5.30pm IST)).
Indian audience can catch all the action live on Eurosport channel.
1. Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati Lenovo Team) - 1:19.931
2. Fabio Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) + 0.076
3. Johann Zarco (Prima Pramac Racing) + 0.099
4. Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing) + 0.189
5. Fabio Di Giannantonio (Gresini Racing MotoGP) + 0.197
6. Jack Miller (Ducati Lenovo Team) + 0.219
7. Luca Marini (Mooney VR46 Racing Team) + 0.237
8. Jorge Martin (Prima Pramac Racing) + 0.288
9. Maverick Vinales (Aprilia Racing) + 0.537
10. Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda Idemitsu) + 0.631
(By a special arrangement with Dorna Sports)