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Catalunya MotoGP, Qualifying | Bagnaia flexes muscles to deny Aprilia trio

Gold and Goose
Pecco Bagnaia, Ducati Team, Ducati GP23, 2023 MotoGP, Catalunya MotoGP, Barcelona, action - credit to Gold and Goose

Pecco Bagnaia once more demonstrated why he is increasingly the odds-on favourite for the 2023 MotoGP World Championship title as he dismissed Aleix Espargaro to claim pole position for the Catalunya MotoGP.

The Italian turned it on when it mattered in qualifying to edge out home hope Espargaro in the tightly-contested session that would see the top five covered by just +0.158s.

Getting closest to Bagnaia was Espargaro - who, along with his brother Pol, grew up close by in Granollers - with the Aprilia Racing rider working hard on his final time attack but falling just over a tenth short of repeating his popular pole position from 2022.


Despite missing out on pole, it was a very strong session for the Aprilia contingent with Miguel Oliveira coming through Q1 to claim both his first front row start both for RNF Racing and since his pole position in the 2020 Portuguese MotoGP.

They were followed by another of the RS-GP riders in Maverick Vinales, the Spaniard qualifying well for the second round in succession, though it remains to be seen whether the team have gotten on top of the clutch issues that have frustrated his starts..

- 2023 MotoGP World Championship Standings -

Jorge Martin and Johann Zarco completed row two on their Prima Pramac Ducatis, followed closely by another pair of privateer Desmos in Alex Marquez and Fabio di Giannantonio on the Gresini machines.

Brad Binder was the interloper among the Aprilia and Ducati stronghold in ninth place as the highest-placed KTM, while Marco Bezzecchi has work to do from tenth on the grid aboard the Mooney VR46 Racing Ducati.

Making his first Q2 appearance of the season since Portugal, Enea Bastianini will get away from 11th place on the second of the factory Ducatis, while Marc Marquez caused a surprise - which in itself is a surprise - by breaking his Honda into Q2 via Q1, going on to qualify 12th.

Jack Miller will start from 13th, marginally ahead of KTM counterpart Pol Espargaro, who starts his home round from 14th.

Beyond Marquez, it was still a chastening start to the day for the Japanese manufacturers with Franco Morbidelli and Fabio Quartararo leading the Yamaha challenge in 16th and 17th, ahead of Luca Marini - the only Ducati rider to be struggling down in 18th - with the remaining Honda riders bringing up the rear

2023 Catalunya MotoGP | Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, Spain | Qualifying Results | Round 11 of 20
Pos.NameNat.TeamMotorcycleLap Time
1Pecco Bagnaia🇮🇹Ducati Leonovo TeamDucati GP231m 38.639
2Aleix Espargaro🇪🇦Aprilia RacingAprilia RS-GP1m 38.743
3Miguel Oliveira🇵🇹CryptoData RNF RacingAprilia RS-GP1m 38.748
4Maverick Vinales🇪🇦Aprilia RacingAprilia RS-GP1m 38.772
5Jorge Martin🇪🇦Prima Pramac RacingDucati GP231m 38.797
6Johann Zarco🇨🇵Prima Pramac RacingDucati GP231m 38.858
7Alex Marquez🇪🇦Gresini Racing MotoGPDucati GP221m 39.053
8Fabio di Giannantonio🇮🇹Gresini Racing MotoGPDucati GP221m 39.054
9Brad Binder🇿🇦Red Bull KTM Factory RacingKTM RC161m 39.054
10Marco Bezzecchi🇮🇹Mooney VR46 RacingDucati GP221m 39.057
11Enea Bastianini🇮🇹Ducati Leonovo TeamDucati GP231m 39.575
12Marc Marquez🇪🇦Repsol Honda TeamHonda RC213V1m 39.701
13Jack Miller🇦🇺Red Bull KTM Factory RacingKTM RC161m 39.232
14Pol Espargaro🇪🇦GasGas Factory Racing Tech3KTM RC161m 39.330
15Raul Fernandez🇪🇦CryptoData RNF RacingAprilia RS-GP1m 39.360
16Franco Morbidelli🇮🇹Monster Energy YamahaYamaha M11m 39.452
17Fabio Quartararo🇨🇵Monster Energy YamahaYamaha M11m 39.510
18Luca Marini🇮🇹Mooney VR46 RacingDucati GP221m 39.573
19Augusto Fernandez🇪🇦GasGas Factory Racing Tech3KTM RC161m 39.794
20Joan Mir🇪🇦Repsol Honda TeamHonda RC213V1m 40.214
21Takaaki Nakagami🇯🇵LCR Honda IDEMITSUHonda RC213V1m 40.388
22Iker Lecuona🇪🇦LCR Honda CastrolHonda RC213V1m 40.580

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