Aragon MotoGP: Bagnaia destroys lap record for pole in Ducati 1-2

Francesco Bagnaia grabbed pole for the MotoGP Aragon Grand Prix by obliterating the lap record to lead a Ducati 1-2 ahead of teammate Jack Miller and Yamaha’s Fabio Quartararo.

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The old lap record at Aragon has stood since 2015, but Bagnaia beat this to claim his second pole of the 2021 campaign and the 50th for Ducati in MotoGP.

Avintia rookie Enea Bastianini set the early pace with a 1m47.578s on his first appearance in Q2 in 2021, but was quickly deposed by Ducati stablemate Bagnaia with a 1m46.908s on his factory Desmosedici.

Bagnaia briefly led a Ducati 1-2 from teammate Jack Miller, but Marc Marquez split the pair on his second flying lap on the Honda.

Quartararo’s first flying lap left him third, but he lost over four tenths of a second in the final sector having been up for the rest of the lap.

The Yamaha rider duly blitzed his way through the first three sectors of his next effort to come into the final split over half a second to the good – which allowed him to go top with a 1m46.727s.

This lap would be good enough to keep Quartararo in the provisional pole position, however, as Bagnaia opened up his second run he produced a new lap record of 1m46.332s.

Bagnaia would go unchallenged through to the chequered flag, with teammate Miller his nearest rival at 0.366s adrift – marking Ducati’s first 1-2 in qualifying since Aragon 2018.

Quartararo completed the front row with a 1m46.719s to extend his run of successive top three qualifying results to 11 this season.

Miller’s late improvement to second came at the expense of a front-row start for Honda’s Marc Marquez, who will start fourth after missing out on third by just 0.017s.

Jorge Martin held provisional pole briefly early in the session and will start fifth on the Pramac Ducati ahead of Aprilia’s Aleix Espargaro.

The latter’s 1m46.883s demoted world champion Joan Mir down to seventh on the Suzuki, with the Spaniard lucky not to be collected by Marquez at Turn 1 at the end of the session.

Pol Espargaro mustered eighth on the second factory Honda from Bastianini and Q1 pacesetter Johann Zarco (Pramac Ducati), while Takaaki Nakagami was 11th on the LCR Honda and Brad Binder – who followed Zarco through Q1 – only 12th on the KTM having been left without any fresh soft slicks for Q2.

The big shock of qualifying came in the form of 2020 Aragon GP winner Alex Rins on the Suzuki registering his worst Saturday result of the season.

The Suzuki rider ended up 0.497s off session-leader Zarco and will start 20th, with only Petronas SRT duo Valentino Rossi and Jake Dixon behind him on the grid.

Tech 3 KTM’s Iker Lecuona’s strong recent form continued into qualifying at Aragon, with the Honda World Superbike-bound Spaniard just over a tenth away from a Q2 place in 13th.

Lecuona headed 2020 Aragon GP runner-up Alex Marquez on the LCR Honda and Yamaha stand-in Cal Crutchlow, with Danilo Petrucci on the second Tech 3 KTM 16th.

Luca Marini on the Avintia Ducati will start 17th ahead of KTM’s Miguel Oliveira, while Maverick Vinales will launch from 19th on his Aprilia debut on Sunday.

Q2 results:

Cla Rider Bike Time Gap
1 Italy Francesco Bagnaia
Ducati 1'46.322
2 Australia Jack Miller
Ducati 1'46.688 0.366
3 France Fabio Quartararo
Yamaha 1'46.719 0.397
4 Spain Marc Marquez
Honda 1'46.736 0.414
5 Spain Jorge Martin
Ducati 1'46.878 0.556
6 Spain Aleix Espargaro
Aprilia 1'46.883 0.561
7 Spain Joan Mir
Suzuki 1'47.162 0.840
8 Spain Pol Espargaro
Honda 1'47.194 0.872
9 Italy Enea Bastianini
Ducati 1'47.278 0.956
10 France Johann Zarco
Ducati 1'47.288 0.966
11 Japan Takaaki Nakagami
Honda 1'47.366 1.044
12 South Africa Brad Binder
KTM 1'47.932 1.610

Q1 results:

Cla Rider Time Gap
1 France Johann Zarco
1'47.293
2 South Africa Brad Binder
1'47.344 0.051
3 Spain Iker Lecuona
1'47.508 0.215
4 Spain Alex Marquez
1'47.542 0.249
5 United Kingdom Cal Crutchlow
1'47.613 0.320
6 Italy Danilo Petrucci
1'47.708 0.415
7 Italy Luca Marini
1'47.741 0.448
8 Portugal Miguel Oliveira
1'47.750 0.457
9 Spain Maverick Viñales
1'47.764 0.471
10 Spain Alex Rins
1'47.790 0.497
11 Italy Valentino Rossi
1'47.863 0.570
12 United Kingdom Jake Dixon
1'48.146 0.853
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