Argentina MotoGP Qualifying Results | Espargaro grabs first Aprilia MotoGP pole

Aleix Espargaro will start the Argentina MotoGP - his 200th Grand Prix start - from the top spot as he grabs Aprilia's first pole position of the MotoGP era

Aleix Espargaro - Aprilia Racing

Aleix Espargaro has secured Aprilia’s first pole position of the four-stroke MotoGP era as he blitzed the opposition in a fast and furious Argentina MotoGP session at the Termas de Rio Hondo circuit.

A fitting result in what will be his 200th GP start, the result marks only Espargaro’s third career pole position in MotoGP and his first since 2015, as well as Aprilia’s first in the premier class since the 2000 Australian GP.

Though the outcome might be considered an upset in the context of Aprilia’s results sheet over the past few seasons, Espargaro’s performance was nonetheless previewed by a similarly rapid performance in FP2 as he led an Aprilia 1-2.

A measure of the gains being made by the Italian outfit since it took its operation in-house to Noale, Espargaro kept a cool head after his impressive first benchmark was obliterated by Jorge Martin on the Pramac Ducati.

Having started the day only 20th fastest in FP1, Martin once again proved why he is considered such a reckoned force over a single lap when he produced the first lap in the 1min 37s. However, Espargaro would fight back straight away, shaving a tenth off that marker with a 1min 37.688s.

Completing an unexpected front row line-up, Luca Marini rewarded his VR46 Racing crew for their quick turnaround after his Ducati only arrived early this morning following freight delays, with a second career front row start in MotoGP with third.

Despite coming through Q1 and only completing a single flying lap, Pol Espargaro joined in on his brother’s celebrations with a fine run to fourth on the Repsol Honda, while Maverick Vinales was also in the mix to put the sister Aprilia RS-GP in fifth.

Championship contender Fabio Quartararo had Jack Miller to blame for missing out on a front row start, the Frenchman coming up behind the Australian touring in the braking zone for Turn 7 and ruining his best lap.

Alex Rins and Joan Mir - who had to use his spare Suzuki when his race bike failed to start - hold down seventh and eighth on the grid, with Johann Zarco completing the third row.

Having joined Espargaro by coming through Q1, Takaaki Nakagami will start from tenth place, with Miller left in 11th having to rely on his best time from early on after crashing moments later at Turn 1. Bringing up the rear in Q2 was an unfortunate Brad Binder, the South African having been on course for the front row - possibly pole position - with his last lap, only to run wide at Turn 7.

With Honda duo Espargaro and Nakagami progressing from a quality line-up in Q1, it left a number of high profile figures - including the race winners from the opening two rounds - on the back foot for race day.

Included among these was championship leader Enea Bastianini, the Italian rider looking out of sorts on the Gresini Ducati as he struggled to string a clean lap together.

The same could be said for pre-season title favourite Pecco Bagnaia, whose hopes of giving his lacklustre start to the season a boost faltered with 14th on the grid. 

Indeed, with just one point to his name after two races, Bagnaia looked under pressure as he fought a bucking Ducati GP22 at times and became frustrated with riders seeking a tow, at one time in FP2 pulling the brakes hard on the home straight in frustration.

Still, he fared better than Franco Morbidelli, who was once again nowhere near his factory Yamaha team-mate in 15th, while Indonesia MotoGP winner Miguel Oliveira found himself down in 16th having only just missed Q2 with 11th in FP2.

Despite failing to build on his top five from FP1, Marco Bezzecchi was still the quickest rookie in 17th, ahead of Andrea Dovizioso on the RNF Yamaha and Alex Marquez on the LCR Honda.

Rookies Fabio di Giannantonio, Raul Fernandez, Remy Gardner and Darryn Binder filled positions 20th, 21st, 22nd and 23rd respectively, with Marc Marquez’s stand-in at Repsol Honda bringing up the rear in 24th.

2022 Argentina MotoGP | Termas de Rio Hondo | Qualifying RESULTS | Round 3 / 21

2022 Argentina MotoGP | Termas de Rio Hondo | Qualifying RESULTS | Round 3 / 21
PosRiderNat.MotoGP TeamMotoGP BikeTiming
1Aleix EspargaroESPAprilia Racing Team GresiniAprilia RS-GP1m 37.688
2Jorge MartinESPPramac RacingDucati GP221m 37.839
3Luca MariniITAVR46 RacingDucati GP211m 38.119
4Pol EspargaroESPRepsol Honda TeamHonda RC213V1m 38.165
5Maverick VinalesESPAprilia Racing Team GresiniAprila RS-GP1m 38.196
6Fabio QuartararoFRAMonster Energy Yamaha Yamaha YZF-M11m 38.281
7Alex RinsESPTeam Suzuki EcstarSuzuki GSX-RR1m 38.455
8Joan MirESPTeam Suzuki EcstarSuzuki GSX-RR1m 38.516
9Johann ZarcoFRAPramac RacingDucati GP221m 38.537
10Takaaki NakagamiJPNLCR Honda Honda RC213V1m 38.576
11Jack MillerAUSDucati Lenovo TeamDucati GP221m 38.584
12Brad BinderRSARed Bull KTM RacingKTM RC161m 38.932
13Enea BastianiniITAGresini RacingDucati GP211m 38.523
14Francesco BagnaiaITADucati Lenovo TeamDucati GP221m 38.566
15Franco MorbidelliITAMonster Energy Yamaha Yamaha YZF-M11m 38.610
16Miguel OliveiraPORRed Bull KTM RacingKTM RC161m 38.805
17Marco BezzecchiITAVR46 RacingDucati GP211m 38.871
18Andrea DoviziosoITAWithU RNF Racing YamahaYamaha YZF-M11m 38.877
19Alex MarquezESPLCR Honda Honda RC213V1m 38.938
20Fabio di GiannantonioITAGresini RacingDucati GP211m 39.095
21Raul FernandezESPTech3 KTM RacingKTM RC161m 39.153
22Remy GardnerAUSTech3 KTM RacingKTM RC161m 39.159
23Darryn BinderRSAWithU RNF Racing YamahaYamaha YZF-M11m 39.380
24Stefan BradlGERRepsol Honda TeamHonda RC213V1m 39.487