Espargaro gives Aprilia its first pole of the MotoGP era
Aprilia MotoGP rider Aleix Espargaro claimed the brand’s first pole position since 2000 in thrilling qualifying at Termas de Rio Hondo in Argentina.
The Noale firm’s first MotoGP-era pole – the previous one being courtesy of Jeremy McWilliams in his 500cc days – was also the third of Espargaro’s premier class career. His other two came on two different bikes – the Forward Yamaha in Assen in 2014 and the Suzuki in Barcelona in 2015.
After dominating the pre-qualifying FP2, Espargaro immediately reclaimed his lead at the start of the pole vault shootout, taking a three-tenths lead over the chasing pack with a 1m38.108s.
That seemed enough on its own for pole, but Jorge Martin unleashed a phenomenal final sector to take a quarter-second lead over the Aprilia man, forcing him to attack again.
However, Espargaro put in another strong lap with his final effort, ending up with a time of 1m37.688s that beat rider Pramac Ducati Martin by a tenth and a half.
VR46 Ducati rider Luca Marini, who had narrowly slipped into a direct Q2 spot in FP2, followed Martin on the Spaniard’s quickest lap to complete the front row behind him.
Pol Espargaro (Honda) will line up directly behind his brother Aleix in fourth, although he had to struggle during Q1 – having risked ruining his day with a crash at the start of FP2.
Maverick Vinales had finished an Aprilia 1-2 behind elder Espargaro in FP2 but had to settle for fifth in qualifying, just ahead of former Yamaha teammate Fabio Quartararo.
The defending champion was infuriated when factory Ducati rider Jack Miller got in his way on a crucial late push lap, with Miller moving up to 11th – after crashing on his first attempted Q2 – and currently under investigation.
traffic on @ FabioQ20it’s a quick ride! ⚔️
—MotoGP™🏁 (@MotoGP) April 2, 2022
The Suzukis of Alex Rins and Joan Mir will top the third row – despite one of Mir’s bikes refusing to start at the start of Q2 – joined by Pramac Ducati’s Johann Zarco.
Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda) was expected to miss the weekend completely with a positive COVID-19 diagnosis, but, after testing negative just in time, fought through the first quarter and finished 10th, ahead of Miller and KTM’s Brad Binder – who had one of his KTM RC16’s expire in a cloud of smoke during FP2.
—MotoGP™🏁 (@MotoGP) April 2, 2022
Gresini’s championship leader Enea Bastianini and fellow Ducati rider Enea Bastianini were both a few hundredths away from advancing to Q2 but ultimately failed.
Bagnaia, who was frustrated with riders trying to keep up with him at the end of an FP2 session where his last attempt was thwarted by fellow Valentino Rossi protege Marco Bezzecchi overtaking him at Turn 1 and crashing immediately, n couldn’t do anything in his first race. in Q1.
Struggling to keep his Desmosedici under control over the bumps, he eventually improved considerably – but not enough – on his second run.
Factory Yamaha rider Franco Morbidelli made it an all-Italian line behind Bastianini and Bagnaia, with KTM’s Miguel Oliveira – the winner last time out at Mandalika – only managing to finish 16th, 0.006s ahead of the Bezzecchi rookie.
Honda tester Stefan Bradl, competing in place of Marc Marquez this weekend, was nine-tenths off the pace in Q1 and will complete the grid.
|1||Aleix Espargaro||Aprilia Racing||Aprilia||1m37.688s|
|2||jorge martin||Pramac Racing||Ducati||1m37.839s|
|3||Luca Marini||Mooney VR46 Racing Team||Ducati||1m38.119s|
|4||Pol Espargaro||Repsol Honda Team||Honda||1m38.501s||1m38.165s|
|5||Maverick Vinales||Aprilia Racing||Aprilia||1m38.196s|
|6||Fabio Quartararo||Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP||Yamaha||1m38.281s|
|7||Alex Rins||The SUZUKI ECSTAR team||Suzuki||1m38.455s|
|8||Joan Mir||The SUZUKI ECSTAR team||Suzuki||1m38.516s|
|9||John Zarco||Pramac Racing||Ducati||1m38.537s|
|ten||Takaaki Nakagami||LCR Honda IDEMITSU||Honda||1m38.523s||1m38.576s|
|11||Jack Miller||Ducati Lenovo Team||Ducati||1m38.584s|
|12||Brad Binder||Red Bull KTM Factory Race||KTM||1m38.932s|
|13||Enea Bastianini||Gresini Racing Moto GP||Ducati||1m38.566s|
|14||Francesco Bagnaia||Ducati Lenovo Team||Ducati||1m38.61s|
|15||Franco Morbidelli||Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP||Yamaha||1m38.805s|
|16||Miguel Oliveira||Red Bull KTM Factory Race||KTM||1m38.871s|
|17||Marco Bezzecchi||Mooney VR46 Racing Team||Ducati||1m38.877s|
|18||Andrea Dovizioso||With U Yamaha RNF MotoGP Team||Yamaha||1m38.938s|
|19||Alex Marquez||LCR Honda Castrol||Honda||1m39.095s|
|20||Fabio Di Giannantonio||Gresini Racing Moto GP||Ducati||1m39.126s|
|21||Raul Fernandez||Tech3 KTM Factory Race||KTM||1m39.153s|
|22||Remy Gardner||Tech3 KTM Factory Race||KTM||1m39.159s|
|23||Darryn Binder||With U Yamaha RNF MotoGP Team||Yamaha||1m39.38s|
|24||Stefan Bradl||Honda H.R.C.||Honda||1m39.487s|
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