Pramac’s Johann Zarco claimed a dramatic MotoGP pole position at the Sachsenring this afternoon taking charge of the grid before crashing out of the session on his following lap.
Fabio Quartararo and Aleix Espargaro completed the Parc Ferme celebrations with Aprilia delighted with its first premier class front row in its current form. Maverick Viñales suffering his worst qualifying on record, in 21st.
MotoGP’s Q1 saw a slightly delayed start after a technical issue left part of the pitlane without power, the session launching into life 10-minutes later than planned.
Alex Rins was the first to pounce as the initial laps came in, the Suzuki rider setting the benchmark with a 1’20.784, Pol Espargaro matching the effort, just 0.067s behind, as Brad Binder and Joan Mir circulated on the cusp of 1’21 pace in third and fourth.
Mir advanced to sit behind his team-mate at the halfway stage before drama struck Lorenzo Savadori, the Aprilia rookie launching his RSGP through the gravel at turn 12 on his out-lap with five minutes to go.
Espargaro denied the second Suzuki with his next effort as he advanced the times by eight-hundredths of a second, Rins hitting back to retain control once again as Luca Marini fell painfully short in third. The second Avintia of Enea Bastianini sat fourth from Valentino Rossi, Mir and Franky Morbidelli with Maverick Viñales circulating in a disastrous 11th as the flag prepared to fly.
Rins and Espargaro held the promotion places as the final efforts began. Binder sitting third as Morbidelli crashed out at the last corner, Iker Lecuona doing likewise at turn one. The yellow flags would deny any late progress, however the Petronas man had looked to be the only one actually mounting a challenge in the closing seconds.
The pole shootout saw four Ducatis and four Hondas battle the solo representatives of Suzuki, KTM, Aprilia and Yamaha.
Marc Marquez making his opening effort count with a 1’20.567 as Fabio Quartararo and Aleix Espargaro sat second and third. Jorge Martin continued to shine at the Sachsenring, however, as the returning Pramac man proved his recovery was firmly underway as he stormed to second on his third lap, 0.050s behind the Repsol rider.
Quartararo was back in his grove next time around, claiming provisional pole by just over a tenth as Takaaki Nakagami moved into fourth. Miguel Oliveira sat seventh and in the midst of a gaggle of Ducati riders, Pecco Bagnaia leading the set with Jack Miller and Johann Zarco taking eighth and ninths respectively - the Australian frustrating Alex Marquez as the LCR man found him cruising on the racing line with his lap only enough for 11th.
Six minutes to go and Miller was utilising his Ducati power as he advanced to second, Espargaro heading out for his one and only run after reducing his tyre allocation during his Q1 battle and jumping on the tail of Quartararo.
The Frenchman’s hot-lap fell away as the traffic bunched ahead of him, multiple riders seeming to almost come to a halt on track as the blue flags waved.
Untroubled by the on-track antics, Zarco swept through to take the lead with one minute remaining on the clock, 1’20.236 the late-session target before the Frenchman suffered a high speed crash at turn four, the yellow flags once again flying as the session wound down.
Nakagami was the next to fall, this time at turn one with Quartararo pitting without challenging his countrymen. Miller looked to be mounting an attack before the lap fell away after a moment in the final sector and he was forced to settle for fourth. Espargaro putting the RSGP on the front row for the first time, and the Catalan’s first in six years.
Marquez completed the German qualifying in fifth from Oliveira, Martin and his teammate with Nakagami, Bagnaia, Rins and the younger Marquez rounding out the top 12.