A cancelled last lap for Bagnaia hands the Yamaha star his third pole position in four races.
It’s back-to-back pole position for Yamaha’s Maverick Vinales after a hectic MotoGP Q2 at Misano. The Spaniard’s 1:31.077 was enough to beat Q1 graduate Jack Miller by 0.076, with Fabio Quartararo completing the front row after Francesco Bagnaia had his 1:30.973 cancelled for exceeding track limits at the final corner.
Before Q2 got underway, a big Q1 session took place. World Championship leader Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team) needed to get into Q2 to have any chance of fighting for the rostrum – and he did. A Ducati duo of Dovizioso and Q1’s fastest rider Miller made it through into the pole position shootout, Miller setting the best time of 1:31.559 – a lap that would have placed the Australian 5th on the combined Free Practice times.
After a tantalising Q1 session, Q2 kicked off. Vinales set the first benchmark, a 1:31.647, before he immediately got a box call from his team. Bagnaia slotted into P2 on his first flying lap but then the Italian really got the hammer down on his second lap – a 1:31.313 handing Bagnaia provisional pole. Quartararo slotted into P2 less than a tenth off Pecco, with Brad Binder going third ahead of Vinales and teammate Pol Espargaro.
The Yamaha star was a quarter of a second up through the first sector but he lost time around Sector 2 and 3. Dovizioso was P8 heading into the final three minutes, with his nearest title rival Quartararo P3.
Tucked behind Bagnaia, Rossi improved from P9 to P5 – shuffling Dovizioso onto Row 3. Meanwhile, Binder and Bagnaia were both setting red sectors with the South African going P3 – a great lap, but an even greater one was coming in for Bagnaia. The Ducati rider rounded the final corner with Rossi and Miller in tow, and it was a scintillating 1:30.973. However, the fastest ever lap around Misano was cancelled, Bagnaia clearly exceeding track limits on the exit of Turn 16.
Teammate Miller’s lap put the Aussie second behind Bagnaia’s soon to be cancelled lap time, but Vinales was again stringing together a marvellous lap. The San Marino GP polesitter would take the chequered flag in P1 with another new Misano outright lap record, Quartararo set a personal best on his last lap to claim P3 – 0.069 off Miller in P2.
Pol Espargaro set a 1:31.308 on his final lap to beat Bagnaia’s second fastest time, the KTM rider earning his second best qualifying result of the season. Rossi spearheaded the third row in P7, The Doctor just three tenths away from Vinales’ time as the nine-time World Champion sits ahead of close friend and San Marino GP winner Franco Morbidelli (Petronas Yamaha SRT) – P8 for Morbidelli, who is nursing an illness this weekend.
Danilo Petrucci (Ducati Team) eventually got the better of teammate Dovizioso, the factory GP20 machines will line-up P9 and P10 for the Emilia Romagna GP on Sunday afternoon.
Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda Idemitsu) crashed at Turn 15 in the early stages and after crashing at the same corner in FP4, Nakagami was unable to head back out on the track. The top six in Emilia Romagna GP Q2 were all faster than last week’s pole position, but it’s the same man emerging at the top.
Vinales will again launch from pole at Misano, but he’ll be hoping the story of the race plays out a little different his time around. Judging from the Free Practice timesheets, the Emilia Romagna GP is going to be electrifying.