until Abu Dhabi Autonomous Racing League

MotoGP

Marquez crashes three times in qualifying, Bagnaia on pole

by Valentin Khorounzhiy
4 min read

until Abu Dhabi Autonomous Racing League

Pecco Bagnaia took pole position for the German Grand Prix at the Sachsenring in a wild qualifying session, as Marc Marquez stole the show while crashing three times.

The track had been wet to start the first segment but dried as qualifying progressed – and all throughout Marquez demanded attention.

Fighting through the first qualifying segment for the first time at the Sachsenring, a track where he is unbeaten, Marquez had taken first place by nearly a second after initial runs on wet tyres and kept them on for his second time out of the pits.

He then swiftly crashed his bike at the wet final corner, abandoning it in the gravel to sprint across the track into the pitlane, where a spare RC213V on slick tyres was waiting for him.

By that point Brad Binder – who, according to KTM team manager Francesco Guidotti, had been “convinced” by mixed-weather specialist team-mate Jack Miller – was already out on slicks, and remarkably it was only Marquez who followed his cue.

And, as the track continued to dry, both the slick runners ultimately advanced to Q2 by a considerable margin, albeit with Marquez having needed to keep it together over a do-or-die final lap.

As the pole shootout started, the final corner bit Marquez again virtually right away – and worse this time, Marquez following Miller closely on the inside when the rear stepped out and he was thrown over the handlebars.

The TV feed showed him limping away from the site of the crash, yet just moments later he was there riding his damaged RC213V back into the pits. With the other bike still damaged, a quick repair job entailed ripping a winglet off a bike belonging to injury absentee team-mate Joan Mir and sticking it on Marquez’s – and, with that done, he rejoined the action with five minutes left on the clock.

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He improved his laptime, too, before crashing out for a third time, tucking the front at Turn 1.

This brought out yellow flags, which were already out in a different part of the circuit for a Johann Zarco off at the Waterfall corner, meaning many a lap was cancelled late on.

And one of those laps was a potential pole time for Marco Bezzecchi – who, after having mimicked Marquez in high-siding at the final corner, went half a tenth quicker than Bagnaia but had it not count.

Bagnaia therefore secured pole with a 1m21.409s, joined on the front row by fellow Valentino Rossi protege Luca Marini – who looked on course to give his VR46 team pole before a moment through the final corner – and Miller.

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Zarco, Bezzecchi and Jorge Martin made it an all-Ducati second row.

Despite all his travails, Marquez did salvage seventh, albeit that is still his worst-ever MotoGP qualifying at the Sachsenring. He is joined on the third row by brother Alex Marquez (Gresini Ducati) and Binder.

The sole Aprilia and Yamaha representatives in Q2, Aleix Espargaro and Fabio Quartararo, were 10th and 12th respectively, with works Ducati rider Enea Bastianini between them.

Maverick Vinales was the best of the wet-tyre runners in Q1, yet that still only meant 13th on the grid – the Aprilia man ultimately a full 1.6s off advancing.

Gresini Ducati sophomore Fabio Di Giannantonio and Tech3 Gas Gas rookie Augusto Fernandez will join him on row five.

LCR’s Takaaki Nakagami – the only other Honda rider in the field this weekend besides Marquez – had admitted doubts over his fitness for Saturday’s action after the long-suffering little finger on his right hand was hurt again in a Friday crash (pictured below).

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But he logged double-digit laps in the pre-qualifying practice, and subsequently picked up 18th on the grid.

Qualifying Results

Pos Name Team Bike Group 1 Group 2
1 Francesco Bagnaia Ducati Lenovo Team Ducati 1m21.409s
2 Luca Marini Mooney VR46 Racing Team Ducati 1m21.487s
3 Jack Miller Red Bull KTM Factory Racing KTM 1m21.492s
4 Johann Zarco Prima Pramac Racing Ducati 1m21.765s
5 Marco Bezzecchi Mooney VR46 Racing Team Ducati 1m21.936s
6 Jorge Martin Prima Pramac Racing Ducati 1m21.995s
7 Marc Marquez Repsol Honda Team Honda 1m25.681s 1m22.013s
8 Alex Marquez Gresini Racing MotoGP Ducati 1m22.044s
9 Brad Binder Red Bull KTM Factory Racing KTM 1m24.655s 1m22.047s
10 Aleix Espargaró Aprilia Racing Aprilia 1m22.222s
11 Enea Bastianini Ducati Lenovo Team Ducati 1m22.239s
12 Fabio Quartararo Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP Yamaha 1m22.421s
13 Maverick Viñales Aprilia Racing Aprilia 1m27.269s
14 Fabio Di Giannantonio Gresini Racing MotoGP Ducati 1m27.692s
15 Augusto Fernandez GASGAS Factory Racing Tech3 KTM 1m27.734s
16 Miguel Oliveira CryptoDATA RNF MotoGP Team Aprilia 1m27.882s
17 Franco Morbidelli Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP Yamaha 1m27.908s
18 Takaaki Nakagami LCR Honda IDEMITSU Honda 1m28.404s
19 Raul Fernandez CryptoDATA RNF MotoGP Team Aprilia 1m29.119s
20 Jonas Folger GASGAS Factory Racing Tech3 KTM 1m29.712s
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