Vinales inherits pole as Bagnaia falls foul of track limits

by Valentin Khorounzhiy
3 min read

Yamaha MotoGP rider Maverick Vinales inherited pole position for the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, after Francesco Bagnaia’s record lap was chalked off due to track limits.

Pramac Ducati rider Bagnaia recorded a 1m30.973s at the chequered flag, but had gone wide at the final corner, going narrowly off-track as he accelerated on corner exit.

This forced the cancellation of what would’ve been the first sub-1m31s MotoGP lap at Misano, and cost Bagnaia what would’ve been a maiden MotoGP pole.

Having set blistering pace in FP3 and topped the pre-qualifying FP4 as well, Bagnaia took the early lead in the pole shoot-out with a 1m31.313s – which was still short of what he had managed on Friday morning.

Vinales was only fourth after his first run, but – opting for a three-run strategy in the 15-minute session – jumped ahead of Bagnaia with a 1m31.268s during the second stint.

And this stood as the benchmark until the chequered flag, when both Bagnaia and his Pramac team-mate Jack Miller – running right in the Italian’s wake – overhauled Vinales.

Francesco Bagnaia, Motogp, Emilia Romagna Motogp, 18 September 2020

Miller had gone up from last place in the session and was now staring at potential pole position given Bagnaia’s infringement, only for Vinales to respond with a 1m31.077s and relegate Miller to an eventual second.

Fabio Quartararo made it two Yamahas on the front row, lapping a tenth and a half slower than his 2021 team-mate Vinales.

Pol Espargaro jumped from 10th to fourth at the very last moment, going 0.005s quicker than Bagnaia’s fastest ‘legal’ lap, while Espargaro’s KTM team-mate Brad Binder will prop up row two in sixth place.

Bagnaia’s mentor Valentino Rossi followed the Pramac man on the cancelled record lap, and improved his own time, but will only head up an all-Italian row three, where he will be joined by Franco Morbidelli (Petronas Yamaha) and Danilo Petrucci (Ducati).

Championship leader Andrea Dovizioso had narrowly progressed from Q1 along with Miller, and was as high as sixth after his opening run in Q2, but will ultimately start 10th, ahead of Suzuki’s Joan Mir, whose promising practice pace did not translate to a strong qualifying.

LCR Honda rider Takaaki Nakagami was consigned to 12th by an out-lap crash at the Turn 15 left-hander, which was virtually identical to his crash at the same corner in the opening minuets of FP4.

Tech3 rookie Iker Lecuona led Q1 coming into the final minutes and was still on course to progress as the chequered flag flew, only to be denied by Dovizioso’s last-gasp escape.

And while Avintia rider Johann Zarco was then in with a chance at overhauling both – despite having crashed at Turn 14 with two minutes to go and needing to remount his 2019-spec Ducati – the Frenchman lost ground in the final sector and will ultimately line up 14th, behind Lecuona but ahead of the other Tech3-run KTM bike of Miguel Oliveira.

Aleix Espargaro led Aprilia’s efforts to take 16th on the grid, but had a chance to do better, only to crash on a flying lap at that same Turn 14 shortly after Zarco.

His Aprilia team-mate Bradley Smith was 19th, having launched his RS-GP bike onto the tyre wall in a Turn 15 crash during the pre-qualifying practice session.

Qualifying Results

Pos Name Team Bike Group 1 Group 2
1 Maverick Viñales Yamaha Factory Racing Yamaha 1m31.077s
2 Jack Miller Pramac Racing Ducati 1m31.559s 1m31.153s
3 Fabio Quartararo Petronas Yamaha SRT Yamaha 1m31.222s
4 Pol Espargaró Red Bull KTM Factory Racing KTM 1m31.308s
5 Francesco Bagnaia Pramac Racing Ducati 1m31.313s
6 Brad Binder Red Bull KTM Factory Racing KTM 1m31.389s
7 Valentino Rossi Yamaha Factory Racing Yamaha 1m31.436s
8 Franco Morbidelli Petronas Yamaha SRT Yamaha 1m31.566s
9 Danilo Petrucci Ducati Team Ducati 1m31.574s
10 Andrea Dovizioso Ducati Team Ducati 1m31.612s 1m31.581s
11 Joan Mir Team Suzuki MotoGP Suzuki 1m31.617s
12 Takaaki Nakagami LCR Honda Honda 1m32.284s
13 Iker Lecuona Red Bull KTM Tech 3 KTM 1m31.715s
14 Johann Zarco Avintia Racing Ducati 1m31.764s
15 Miguel Oliveira Red Bull KTM Tech 3 KTM 1m31.841s
16 Aleix Espargaró Aprilia Racing Team Gresini Aprilia 1m31.912s
17 Alex Marquez Repsol Honda Team Honda 1m32.198s
18 Alex Rins Team Suzuki MotoGP Suzuki 1m32.275s
19 Bradley Smith Aprilia Racing Team Gresini Aprilia 1m32.486s
20 Tito Rabat Avintia Racing Ducati 1m32.85s
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