Catalunya MotoGP Qualifying | Superb Quartararo makes it five as Miller crashes

Fabio Quartararo becomes the first rider since 2014 to secure five consecutive pole positions as he strengthens his Catalunya MotoGP favourite tag

Fabio Quartararo - Yamaha MotoGP 2021 Catalunya.jpg

Fabio Quartararo continued to stamp his mark as the undisputed king of qualifying in MotoGP by notching up a fifth consecutive pole position for the Catalunya MotoGP, while Jack Miller survived a stalking Marc Marquez fright in Q1 and a heavy crash to secure the front row.

Quartararo’s performance makes this the first time a rider has achieved five pole positions in a row since 2014 when Marc Marquez last achieved the feat. It also marks a 15th career pole position for Quartararo in what will be only his 40th MotoGP start.

Indeed, while Quartararo began the session as favourite based on recent races and following a star turn in the preceding FP4 session, the Yamaha rider still elevated himself to another level by being the only rider to complete his best laps on his own without the benefit of a tow. 

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Moreover, though he enjoyed only a scant margin of 0.037s over second place man Miller, it would have been greater had he not had his final run scuppered by yellow flags.

Indeed, it is to Miller’s credit that he was on the front row at all after an eventful afternoon that forced him to first reach Q2 by securing one of the promotion spots from Q1, before ending his session with a bruising high-side at Turn 3. 

Caused by the Ducati rear slipping away from him, the accident came just as he’d come through S1 with the fastest slip.

Even so, his efforts marked a strong turnaround for Ducat with Johann Zarco getting his elbows out to nab a front row start on the Pramac bike. The Frenchman might have even been on pole if his rapid advance hadn’t necessitated him having to nail a pass up the inside of Brad Binder at Turn 10, one that forced the South African to sit up in avoidance.

Though it ruined Binder’s lap, his KTM team-mate Miguel Oliveira onfirmed the manufacturer’s upturn in performance in Mugello was no fluke with a fine run to fourth, seeing off fifth place man Franco Morbidelli.

Maverick Vinales starts sixth but will no doubt be aggrieved to find himself targeted by the Espargaro brothers for a tow. A tactic that appeared to unsettle him initially, Vinales got the last laugh when Aleix’s potential front row starting lap was undone by a mistake, while Pol slipped off his Repsol Honda at Turn 10. They start seventh and 12th respectively.

Despite being ‘Zarco-d’, Binder will get underway from eighth place, ahead of Pecco Bagnaia, who lost his best lap for violating track limits, Joan Mir on the sole Suzuki in tenth and Valentino Rossi 11th after being forced to take his spare bike following a fall at Turn 4.

‘Caravan’ Marquez swaps Vinales for Miller to break out of Q1

Outside the front four rows, Marc Marquez courted more controversy by leaving lttle to the imagination in his quest to make it into Q2,

The Spaniard latched onto the rear of Miller’s Ducati on both runs, going to fairly extreme efforts to wait for the Ducati man in the pit lane and repeatedly turning down the opportunity to pass. It was a repeat of the tactic - which Marquez admits is on the limit of the rules - used on Vinales in Mugello, resulting in him making Q2 at the behest of the unhappy Yamaha man.

However, this time the Spaniard’s tactic was undone by wily team-mate Espargaro, who mirrored his fellow Repsol Honda rider by picking up a tow behind both, in so doing demoting Marquez to third in Q1 and 13th on the grid.

Takaaki Nakagami’s bad run of qualifying efforts sees him down in 14th from series returnee Jorge Martin in 15th and a desperately disappointed Iker  Lecuona in 16th, the Tech 3 KTM man ceding a potential Q2 spot by a fast crash at Turn 9.

2021 Catalunya MotoGP Qualifying Results | Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya

2021 Catalunya MotoGP QUALIFYING Results | Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya | Round 7 / 19
PosRiderNat.MotoGP TeamMotoGP BikeTiming
1Fabio QuartararoFRAMonster Energy Yamaha Yamaha YZF-M11m 38.853
2Jack MillerAUSDucati Lenovo TeamDucati GP211m 38.890
3Johann ZarcoFRAPramac RacingDucati GP211m 39.049
4Miguel OliveiraPORRed Bull KTM Factory RacingKTM RC161m 39.099
6Franco MorbidelliITAPetronas Yamaha SRTYamaha YZF-M11m 39.109
6Maverick VinalesESPMonster Energy Yamaha Yamaha YZF-M11m 39.157
7Aleix EspargaroESPAprilia Racing Team GresiniAprilia RS-GP1m 39.218
8Brad BinderRSARed Bull KTM Factory RacingKTM RC161m 39.343
9Francesco BagnaiaITADucati Lenovo TeamDucati GP211m 39.359
10Joan MirESPTeam Suzuki EcstarSuzuki GSX-RR1m 39.431
11Valentino RossiITAPetronas Yamaha SRTYamaha YZF-M11m 39.805
12Pol EspargaroESPRepsol Honda TeamHonda RC213V1m 41.791
13Marc MarquezESPRepsol Honda TeamHonda RC213V1m 39,181
14Takaaki NakagamiJPNLCR Honda IdemitsuHonda RC213V1m 39.347
15Jorge MartinESPPramac RacingDucati GP211m 39.532
16Iker LecuonaESPTech3 KTM Factory RacingKTM RC161m 39.567
17Enea BastianiniITAAvintia EsponsoramaDucati GP191m 39.590
18Danilo PetrucciITATech3 KTM Factory RacingKTM RC161m 39.744
19Luca MariniITASky VR46 EsponsoramaDucati GP191m 39.942
20Alex MarquezESPLCR Honda CastrolHonda RC213V1m 40.009
21Lorenzo SavadoriITAAprilia Racing Team GresiniAprilia RS-GP1m 40.158
-Alex RinsESPTeam Suzuki EcstarSuzuki GSX-RRWithdrawn

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