until Abu Dhabi Autonomous Racing League


Le Mans MotoGP: Marquez among three big names mired in Q1

by Jack Cozens
4 min read

until Abu Dhabi Autonomous Racing League

Marc Marquez was among a trio of big names who will have to go through the first part of qualifying at MotoGP's French Grand Prix as Fabio Quartararo hauled his Yamaha into an automatic Q2 spot at his home race.

Quartararo was only 20th and more than a second off the pace in Friday morning's first practice, but looked more of a threat on fresh soft rear tyres as the second, hour-long session progressed at a Le Mans circuit with fewer of the long corners that have tended to punish the Yamaha on turn-in.

Though he was the wrong side of the cutoff in the final minutes of the session, Quartararo pulled out a 1m30.788s to secure 10th and the final berth in Q2 by a mere 0.010 seconds.

That effort knocked out Enea Bastianini - third in the championship - who moments later crashed his factory Ducati, ending any chance of his progression straight through to Q2.

Brad Binder also fell in the final moments of the session at the penultimate corner, a near-identical crash to one he'd suffered earlier in the session.

But even before that Binder had not looked a serious contender for a Q2 spot and he ended up 17th, almost a second off the pace and slowest of the KTM/Gas Gas quartet of riders.

Joining Bastianini and Binder in fighting for one of two available spots in the second part of qualifying will be Gresini Ducati rider Marquez, who had a fall of his own early on in the session.

Marquez's fall was a less severe one and occurred at the end of the Esses at the end of the lap, allowing him to quickly recover back to the pits. But although he lost little time as a result, he never looked a sure bet to progress.

He had to back out of what would likely have been his final attempt due to Bastianini's fall and though he made it across the line with a second to spare for one final push lap, and found time in the first sector, he went wide on the downhill approach to La Chapelle soon after and bailed out of that attempt.

Points leader and FP1 pacesetter Jorge Martin continued to lead the way by setting a new lap record, ending the session with a tenth and a half in hand over factory Ducati rider Pecco Bagnaia.

They were joined in the top three by rookie sensation Pedro Acosta, who continued his startling by again placing best of the KTM contenders on his Gas Gas-badged bike.

He was not the only KTM rider to secure a place in Q2, though, as Jack Miller set the sixth-fastest time - aided by a tow from Marquez's Ducati. He and Acosta were separated by Maverick Vinales (Aprilia) and the VR46 Ducati of Fabio Di Giannantonio.

Ahead of Quartararo, the second factory Aprilia of Aleix Espargaro and Ducati riders Franco Morbidelli (Pramac) and Marco Bezzecchi (VR46) booked the remaining Q2 spots.

Alex Rins couldn't replicate Yamaha team-mate Quartararo's heroics and was 15th fastest.

But he at least endured better than the Honda riders, who had another miserable session. They occupied four of the bottom five places - only Marquez's brother and Gresini team-mate Alex was amongst them in 19th - with Joan Mir fastest of that RC213V quartet but only 18th fastest and more than a second off the pace.


PosNameBikeBest TimeGap Leader
1Jorge MartinDucati1m30.388s
2Francesco BagnaiaDucati1m30.533s+0.145s
3Pedro AcostaKTM1m30.575s+0.187s
4Maverick ViñalesAprilia1m30.657s+0.269s
5Fabio Di GiannantonioDucati1m30.683s+0.295s
6Jack MillerKTM1m30.699s+0.311s
7Aleix EspargaróAprilia1m30.714s+0.326s
8Franco MorbidelliDucati1m30.763s+0.375s
9Marco BezzecchiDucati1m30.785s+0.397s
10Fabio QuartararoYamaha1m30.788s+0.400s
11Enea BastianiniDucati1m30.798s+0.410s
12Raul FernandezAprilia1m30.839s+0.451s
13Marc MarquezDucati1m31.067s+0.679s
14Alex RinsYamaha1m31.206s+0.818s
15Miguel OliveiraAprilia1m31.219s+0.831s
16Augusto FernandezKTM1m31.243s+0.855s
17Brad BinderKTM1m31.364s+0.976s
18Joan MirHonda1m31.521s+1.133s
19Alex MarquezDucati1m31.530s+1.142s
20Johann ZarcoHonda1m31.574s+1.186s
21Luca MariniHonda1m31.860s+1.472s
22Takaaki NakagamiHonda1m32.131s+1.743s
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