MotoGP: Quartararo secures pole, Marquez withdraws

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Petronas Yamaha SRT rider Fabio Quartararo has secured the pole positon for the Andalucia Grand Prix, the second round of the heavily-revised 2020 MotoGP season.

After securing his maiden MotoGP victory last weekend, Quartararo will start tomorrow’s Andalucia Grand Prix from the pole position. However, the qualifying session for the second race of the season was not a straightforward affair for the Frenchman. It was the factory Yamaha rider Maverick Vinales who topped the session, but he was penalised for a track limits infraction.

The penalty means that Quartararo has been awarded his second MotoGP pole position on the bounce in Jerez while his Spanish rival will start the demanding race from the second position. Conditions were quite tricky with very high ambient and track temperatures. The lap time of 1m37.007 with which Quartararo secured the pole position was half a second slower than Vinales’ session-topping FP3 lap time, set in cooler conditions.

Achieving his best MotoGP qualifying result, Pramac Ducati rider Francesco Bagnaia completed the first row with only 169 thousands of a second off the pole position time.

Seven-time MotoGP world champion Valentino Rossi secured the fourth place on the grid for tomorrow’s race. The Italian was among the very few riders who managed to improve their best qualifying lap time compared to what they achieved on exactly the same tarmac just a week ago despite the hotter conditions and less grip.

Results of the Q2 session

Results

Pos.Num.RiderNationTeamBikeKm/hTimeGap 1st/Prev.
120Fabio QUARTARAROFRAPetronas Yamaha SRTYamaha283.41'37.007
212Maverick VIÑALESSPAMonster Energy Yamaha MotoGPYamaha284.21'37.1020.095 / 0.095
363Francesco BAGNAIAITAPramac RacingDucati291.11'37.1760.169 / 0.074
446Valentino ROSSIITAMonster Energy Yamaha MotoGPYamaha286.41'37.3420.335 / 0.166
588Miguel OLIVEIRAPORRed Bull KTM Tech 3KTM287.21'37.3440.337 / 0.002
621Franco MORBIDELLIITAPetronas Yamaha SRTYamaha283.41'37.4120.405 / 0.068
743Jack MILLERAUSPramac RacingDucati290.31'37.4230.416 / 0.011
830Takaaki NAKAGAMIJPNLCR Honda IDEMITSUHonda283.41'37.4640.457 / 0.041
933Brad BINDERRSARed Bull KTM Factory RacingKTM284.21'37.5960.589 / 0.132
1036Joan MIRSPATeam SUZUKI ECSTARSuzuki286.41'37.6000.593 / 0.004
119Danilo PETRUCCIITADucati TeamDucati289.51'37.9060.899 / 0.306
1244Pol ESPARGAROSPARed Bull KTM Factory RacingKTM282.71'40.2773.270 / 2.371

Despite making a shock return to the Jerez circuit following his horrific crash at last weekend’s season-opening Spanish Grand Prix, Marc Marquez decided to withdraw from the track action. The Spaniard skipped Friday’s action to preserve his energy and first rolled on to the track in today’s FP3. The six-time MotoGP champion felt himself fairly comfortable on his RC213V, but the situation turned for the worse in the final practice session. When the qualifying kicked off, Marquez completed an installation lap, but he had to accept that he lack the necessary stamina despite the painkillers and injections.

HRC boss Alberto Puig has revealed that the team was fully behind Marquez’s decision and accepted that the Spaniard had no other option than retiring from the second round of the season.

“He’s a little in pain. This morning [FP3] it was not so bad, but understanding that ‘not so bad’ is still pain because it’s a broken bone, but he could still go and the plan for the afternoon was to try a longer run. In the longer run, probably because of the laps and the heat, he started to feel more pain and feel not so comfortable.

“We decided to go with the plan, to come here, skip Friday and try Saturday. This morning was like a test to see if he could ride the bike and it was OK, then in the afternoon finally we saw it was not so easy. So we have decided that it is best not to race,” the former Spanish MotoGP rider added.

Close battle in the lower categories

As usual, the lower categories did not fail to impress by delivering exciting qualifying sessions. SKY Racing Team VR46 rider Marco Bezzecchi went quickest in the Moto2 category with his Kalex bike. Sam Lowes secured the best result for the EG 0,0 Marc VDS outfit with his second starting position just 31 thousands of a second behind Bezzecchi’s pole position time. Enea Bastianini completed the first row ahead of Jorge Navarro. Luca Marini will line up fifth with the Italian clearly adamant to fight for his second win tomorrow following his last weekend’s dominant performance at Jerez.

The Moto3 session saw two Japanese riders grab the first two starting positions with Tatsuki Suzuki topping the session with a time of 1m45.410 ahead of Ai Ogura. Gabriel Rodrigo went just 11 thousands slower than Ogura on his way to take third spot on the starting grid.

Dominique Aegerter was fastest in the Moto E E-Pole to secure his maiden pole position in only his second appearance in the exciting fully-electric category. Reigning champ Matteo Ferrari was 0.267 seconds slower with his Trentino Gresini MotoE bike to secure the second starting position. Thanks to his eye-wateringly fast third sector, German Lukas Tulovic took third place ahead of last weekend’s race winner Eric Granado.