British MotoGP,Qualifying Results | Shock pole for Espargaro after timing mix-up

Pol Espargaro turns his form around to score a surprise first pole position in Repsol Honda colours at the British MotoGP... despite bizarre timing blunder

Pol Espargaro - Repsol Honda
Pol Espargaro - Repsol Honda

Pol Espargaro has taken a surprise pole position for the British MotoGP at Silverstone after a bizarre moment that suggested Jorge Martin had scored pole position by an extraordinary nine tenths.

Martin looked on course for an impressive third pole position in a row when his middle sector time popped up with a huge 1.2secs advantage over the opposition, which he’d maintain to the end.

Despite assumptions of track limits from even his own team, the graphics nonetheless neglected to reflect this and Martin was shown as the pole sitter as the flag fell. Instead it would fall to the television director to point towards the error, showing Martin cutting across Turn 8 to gain the time.

Somewhat overshadowed by the bizarre oversight on the timesheets, Espargaro nonetheless notches up a shock pole position at Silverstone on a weekend that has seen the struggling Spaniard finally come good on the Repsol Honda.

Indeed, in a year that has seen Espargaro under pressure to get to grips with the Honda RC213V in the shadow of Marc Marquez, it would be the newer rider to have the honour of Honda’s first pole position of 2021.

Well up on his previous best of the year in eighth, the result marks the third pole position of his career having scored two with KTM in 2020.

Pecco Bagnaia’s last lap was enough to sneak him ahead of title rival Fabio Quartararo, the Frenchman - still bruised from his heavy accident on Friday - unable to call upon his best single lap form en route to the outside of the front row..

Despite his cancelled lap time, Martin gets underway from fourth for Pramac Ducati, with Marquez in fifth for Honda’s best combined starting position since 2018, while Pol’s brother Aleix Espargaro made it a memorable day for the family in sixth for Aprilia.

Fastest in FP3, Jack Miller faded when it mattered in seventh, ahead of soon-to-retire Valentino Rossi, who scored his best starting slot of the season in eighth. 

Q1 qualifiers Johann Zarco and Alex Rins rescued ninth and tenth on the grid, with reigning champion Joan Mir and the sole Q2-qualifying KTM of Brad Binder in 11th and 12th.

In Q1, Enea Bastianini was unlucky not to make it through to Q2 on the Avintia Ducati after crashing on his fastest lap, the Italian lucky not to be more seriously hurt after thumping his head hard on the asphalt as he came down. 

Nonetheless, he did enough for 13th on the grid, just ahead of team-mate Luca Marini, while Cal Crutchlow’s first appearance as a Yamaha Factory rider ended modestly in 17th. Countryman Jake Dixon qualified half a second off the next slowest rider out of 21, that being the KTM of the injury-hindered Miguel Oliveira

2021 British MotoGP | Silverstone | Grid Positions

2021 British MotoGP | Silverstone | Qualifying RESULTS | Round 12 / 19
PosRiderNat.MotoGP TeamMotoGP BikeTiming
1Pol EspargaroESPRepsol Honda TeamHonda RC213V1m 58.889
2Francesco BagnaiaITADucati Lenovo TeamDucati GP211m 58.911
3Fabio QuartararoFRAMonster Energy Yamaha Yamaha YZF-M11m 58.925
4Jorge MartinESPPramac RacingDucati GP211m 59.074
5Marc MarquezESPRepsol Honda TeamHonda RC213V1m 59.086
6Aleix EspargaroESPAprilia Racing Team GresiniAprilia RS-GP1m 59.273
7Jack MillerAUSDucati Lenovo TeamDucati GP211m 59.368
8Valentino RossiITAPetronas Yamaha SRTYamaha YZF-M11m 59.531
9Johann ZarcoFRAPramac RacingDucati GP211m 59.579
10Alex RinsESPTeam Suzuki EcstarSuzuki GSX-RR1m 59.639
11Joan MirESPTeam Suzuki EcstarSuzuki GSX-RR1m 59.763
12Brad BinderRSARed Bull KTM Factory RacingKTM RC161m 59.977
13Enea BastianiniITAAvintia EsponsoramaDucati GP191m 59.553
14Luca MariniITASky VR46 EsponsoramaDucati GP191m 59.764
15Takaaki NakagamiJPNLCR Honda IdemitsuHonda RC213V1m 59.881
16Danilo PetrucciITATech3 KTM Factory RacingKTM RC161m 59.997
17Alex MarquezESPLCR Honda CastrolHonda RC213V2m 00.117
18Iker LecuonaESPTech3 KTM Factory RacingKTM RC162m 00.131
19Cal CrutchlowGBRMonster Energy Yamaha Yamaha YZF-M12m 00.217
20Miguel OliveiraPORRed Bull KTM Factory RacingKTM RC162m 00.391
21Jake DixonGBRPetronas Yamaha SRTYamaha YZF-M12m 00.869
WDNLorenzo SavadoriITAAprilia Racing Team GresiniAprilia RS-GP

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