Berliner TageBlatt - Bagnaia breaks lap record to take pole in Aragon MotoGP

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Bagnaia breaks lap record to take pole in Aragon MotoGP
Bagnaia breaks lap record to take pole in Aragon MotoGP / Foto: © AFP

Bagnaia breaks lap record to take pole in Aragon MotoGP

Francesco Bagnaia set a Motorland lap record on Saturday as he topped qualifying for the Aragon Grand Prix and grabbed his fifth pole position of the MotoGP season.

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The Italian, who has won the last four races to surge up the rider standings, took pole with a lap of 1min 46.069sec to lead a Ducati sweep of the front row.

Australian Jack Miller, on the other factory bike, was second at 0.09sec with Italian Enea Bastianini on a Gresini-Ducati third at 0.154sec.

Bagnaia is 30 points behind leader and reigning champion Fabio Quartararo.

In front of a sparse crowd, the Frenchman squeezed onto the second row on his Yamaha, just 0.05sec faster than Italian Marco Bezzecchi on a Ducati VR46

Spaniard Aleix Espargaro, who rides an Aprilia and is third in the championship three points behind Bagnaia, and Frenchman Johann Zarco on a Pramac-Ducati are just ahead of Quartararo on the second row.

Bagnaia broke the course lap record of 1:46.322 he set in qualifying last year, when he went on to win from pole.

"This is my best lap time ever," he said. "I never did a lap time like this. So I'm so perfect like this I am very, very happy. For now we have done a good step in front. Tomorrow we have to finish the job."

Six-time world champion Marc Marquez, racing for the first time this season after a fourth surgery on his right arm, was 12th fastest in practice and had to ride in the first qualifying session where all but the top 10 battle for the last two places in Q2 and a chance to take pole. He was third fastest just 0.066sec off second and will start from 13th.

Meanwhile, Suzuki announced that Joan Mir, who took part in free practice on Friday and Saturday morning, had chosen not to take part in qualifying and will also sit out the Japanese Grand Prix on September 25.

The 2020 world champion, who is 13th in the championship, injured his right ankle in a violent crash at the start of the Austrian GP in August. The Spaniard then missed the San Marino GP in early September.

"Following the first three Free Practice sessions," said a team statement, "the Mallorcan found a severe lack of mobility and an increase in pain. For his own safety, and the safety of those around him, he has decided to withdraw."

B.Shevchenko--BTB