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MotoGP Mandalika: Quartararo on pole as Marquez starts 15th

Monster Energy Yamaha’s Fabio Quartararo continued to shine at Mandalika as the MotoGP Champion secured pole for the IndonesianGP.

The flying Frenchman’s 1’31.067 commanded the times by over two-tenths in the final standings as late charges from Pramac Racing’s Jorge Martin and Johann Zarco locked out the front row for the satellite Ducati outfit.

A stellar FP4 session has seen Mooney VR46 rookie Marco Bezzecchi head the times for the majority of the red-flagged half an hour before Yamaha’s Franky Morbidelli denied him the honours at the flag. Quartararo losing out on his place in the leading trio on the second factory YZR-M1 thanks to Zarco as 0.002s split the Frenchman ahead of the all-important qualifying shootout.


Q1 opened with four big hitters vying for two promotion places as Ducati Lenovo’s Pecco Bagnaia, Suzuki Ecstar’s Joan Mir and both Repsol Hondas of Marc Marquez and Pol Espargaro looked to bounce back from a difficult Friday.

Marquez initially took charge before the Ducati duo of Luca Marini and Bezzecchi arrived. Bagnaia bettering next time around on the GP22 with a 1’31.667 effort as Fabio di Giannantonio rose to fifth. The eight-time Champion sliding out of the action at turn 13 with six minutes on the clock as he raced to get back for bike number two.

The second runs saw Bagnaia advance the pace at the top with the fastest lap seen so far - a 1’31.219 - while Mir attempted to improve from 12th. Di Giannantonio stealing the second promotion place from his fellow rookie before Bezzecchi crashed out at turn 16 on a personal best challenge.

Espargaro struggled to control the second RC213V from tenth as the pack dawdled on track ahead of the final minute. Mir improving to seventh as Marquez set out on his second machine. Nakagami holding up the frustrated Spaniard before turn 12 claimed him on his final chance, Mir too ending qualifying on the deck.

Quartararo set the 1’31.2 pace as Q2 fired up, his teammate Morbidelli suffering opposing fortunes at turn five as his opening marker saw the M1 destroyed in the gravel trap. A duo of Ducatis trailed the reigning Champion as Bagnaia and Martin sat second and third with Aprilia’s Aleix Espargaro circulating in fourth.

A heart-in-mouth moment for Enea Bastianini curtailed the Gresini rider’s progress from sixth, his rookie teammate one ahead as the impressive performance continued. Red Bull KTM claimed seventh and eighth at the halfway stage as Brad Binder bettered Miguel Oliveira with Zarco, Morbidelli and Jack Miller completing the set, the Australian, however, yet to set a time.

The rising temperatures and diminishing grip saw Bagnaia roll out of a red sector effort with a monument at turn ten, his 2021 rival maintaining control of pole position ahead of the final runs.

Quartararo consolidated his command with a 1’31.067 as the hot laps began to register, the Ducatis shuffling as Martin took second from the Italian with Oliveira rising to fourth. Alex Rins slotted into fifth as Miller’s first flyer found sixth. Espargaro crashing out at turn ten from seventh in the standings with yellow flags impeding the all-important action.

The final push saw the pole man safe and Zarco joining his teammate on the front row as Binder and Bastianini demoted Bagnaia to sixth. Oliveira, Rins and Miller settled for third row starts in Sunday’s 27-lap contest with Espargaro, Di Giannantonio and Morbidelli completing the top 12.

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