High five: Bagnaia beats Miller to record Portimao pole

The Italian claims a fifth pole position in a row with a new lap record; Champion Quartararo settles for P7

For a fifth time in succession, Ducati Lenovo Team’s Francesco Bagnaia is on pole position after beating teammate Jack Miller in MotoGP™ Q2 at the Grande Prémio Brembo do Algarve. A new Portimao all-time lap record was set by the Italian, his 1:38.725 was 0.104s quicker than the Australian, as 2020 World Champion Joan Mir (Team Suzuki Ecstar) claims his first premier class front row.

Zarco, Lecuona progress through Q1

A thrilling Q1 took place with home hero Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) hoping to give the Portuguese crowd something to cheer about, but it wasn’t to be for the 2020 Portimao race winner. Johann Zarco (Pramac Racing) left it late to snatch P1 away from Iker Lecuona (Tech3 KTM Factory Racing), the Ducati and KTM duo headed into the pole position battle.

Factory Ducati fly, Quartararo struggles

Jorge Martin (Pramac Racing), shadowing Bagnaia, struck the first fastest lap of Q2 with a 1:39.264 but the Spaniard’s time would be beaten by both Mir and Miller – the Australian’s 1:38.836 a new all-time lap record. A Luca Marini (SKY VR46 Avintia) crash in the final sector brought out the yellow flags, meaning Quartararo’s P3 lap time was cancelled.

So, as the riders boxed for fresh rubber, Miller sat on provisional pole from Mir and Martin, Pecco was P4. What was in store in the final four minutes of the penultimate Q2 of 2021? Well, Bagnaia was the first rider to set a flying lap as the riders re-emerged from pitlane, and the Italian went P1 with a new lap record. The goalposts were moved by a further 0.061s, as the factory Bologna bullets went head-to-head for Portimao pole position.

Pecco stretched his advantage to 0.111s on his next lap, Miller could only manage to cut the gap to 0.104s. What could Quartararo do? A red Sector 2 was set by the Frenchman but nothing came of the Champion’s lap, Quartararo was forced to settle for P7 as Pecco notched up his fifth Saturday P1 in a row. He’s the first Italian to achieve this since Valentino Rossi (Petronas Yamaha SRT) in 2003/2004, and the first Ducati rider since Casey Stoner – excellent company. Miller made it a factory Ducati 1-2 as both red machines look strong for a fantastic result on Sunday, with Mir well in the hunt for his first victory of the campaign.

The remaining Q2 results  

Rookie of the Year contender Martin returns to the circuit where he suffered his horrendous crash earlier in the season, making his P4 all the more noteworthy. Teammate Zarco comes through Q1 to grab a second row start in P5, Pol Espargaro (Repsol Honda Team) earned P6 – 0.333s down on pole.

Quartararo is in unfamiliar territory on Row 3, the 2021 Champion cut a gloomy figure back in the box after finishing 0.4s away from Pecco in Q2. Alex Marquez (LCR Honda Castrol) bagged his best MotoGP™ Q2 result in P8, the double World Champion has enjoyed a good weekend on the rollercoaster so far, Franco Morbidelli (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) lines up alongside Quartararo and Marquez in P9.

Lecuona is another rider who has impressed this weekend and the Spaniard’s efforts in Q1 and Q2 sees the WorldSBK-bound rider start P10, the Tech3 star is ahead of Alex Rins (Team Suzuki Ecstar) and Marini.

Brembo Algarve Grand Prix: MotoGP™ Q1

Pressure off, who comes out on top?

The penultimate race of the 2021 season is now appearing on the horizon, and it’s Ducati who enjoyed Saturday the most. Can Quartararo and Yamaha claw their way back through the pack on Sunday afternoon in their pursuit of the triple crown.

Tune into the premier class race at 13:00 local time (GMT+0) – the MotoGP™ riders heading out before Moto2™ this weekend.

Q2 results:
1. Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati Lenovo Team) – 1:38.725
2. Jack Miller (Ducati Lenovo Team) + 0.104
3. Joan Mir (Team Suzuki Ecstar) + 0.168
4. Jorge Martin (Pramac Racing) + 0.191
5. Johann Zarco (Pramac Racing) + 0.193
6. Pol Espargaro (Repsol Honda Team) + 0.333
7. Fabio Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) + 0.406
8. Alex Marquez (LCR Honda Castrol) + 0.466
9. Franco Morbidelli (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) + 0.596
10. Iker Lecuona (Tech3 KTM Factory Racing) + 0.662
11. Alex Rins (Team Suzuki Ecstar) + 0.924
12. Luca Marini (SKY VR46 Avintia) + 1.103

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