On his very last lap, Francesco Bagnaia dislodged Marc Marquez from pole position in the French Grand Prix. The Italian and the Spaniard will be alongside Luca Marini on the front row. Johann Zarco could not do better than ninth when Fabio Quartararo did not pass Q1.
Marc Marquez has not gone far from a thunderous comeback! The six-time world champion, who returned to competition this weekend for the French Grand Prix, thought he had grabbed pole position for the 1000th Grand Prix in the history of the world championship. On the occasion of a disputed Q2 on a Bugatti Circuit of Le Mans offering complicated conditions due to a very low temperature, it was Maverick Viñales who was first at the forefront but the Aprilia driver’s time did not hold up against the heavyweights in the last moments of this qualifying session. Snuggled in the wheel of Jorge Martin, Marc Marquez made the most of the new chassis of his Honda, subcontracted to the German manufacturer Kalex, to settle in first place ahead of his compatriot. After pulling straight at the Dunlop chicane on what could have been his very last lap, Marc Marquez waited to see if his time would be enough.
Bagnaia comes out of its box at the last moment
Far from being at the forefront this Friday, with only the ninth time overall in the first two free practice sessions, Francesco Bagnaia had not said his last word. In a very last effort, the reigning world champion went to complete a lap in 1’30”705 and dislodged Marc Marquez from pole position by 58 small thousandths of a second. Luca Marini, after his repechage, climbed to third place at the very last second with a delay of 137 thousandths over the leader of the Ducati armada. Consistently in the Top 3 since the start of the weekend, Jack Miller has not confirmed and will start from the second row alongside Jorge Martin and Maverick Viñales. Johann Zarco, meanwhile, will have to come up from the third row if he wants to get a very good result at home. Not in the game from the start of the session, the Pramac team driver had to settle for ninth temos, behind Marco Bezzecchi and Alex Marquez. A result that contrasts with that of Fabio Quartararo, who missed out on this qualifying session for the French Grand Prix.
Quartararo overwhelmed with frustration
After a complicated Friday, the 2021 world champion found himself forced to go through Q1. But, after a last encouraging free practice session concerning the pace of the race, “El Diablo” was disillusioned. Very quickly placed in second place in this Q1 behind Luca Marini’s Ducati, the Yamaha rider thought he could afford a good starting position for the sprint and the Grand Prix in front of his home crowd. However, it was without counting on the surprise Augusto Fernandez. The only rookie present this season on the starting grid has confirmed the progress seen in recent weeks. On the KTM of the Tech3 team, the Spanish rider went for his first qualification in Q2. While Luca Marini had set the best time in 1’31”268, Augusto Fernandez only returned 75 thousandths to the Italian. It was by 23 thousandths that Fabio Quartararo failed and will start for each of the two races from 13th position. Riding a Yamaha far from being at the level of the competition, 7th place in Q1 for Franco Morbidelli confirming this impression, the Frenchman will have a lot to do to hope for a good result in front of his supporters.