Quartararo bounces back to bag Indonesia pole

For the first time since the 2021 Catalan GP, Fabio Quartararo will start a MotoGP race from pole position after an incredibly dramatic Pertamina Grand Prix of Indonesia qualifying plays out. Jorge Martin and Pramac Racing teammate Johann Zarco will start from P2 and P3, but eight-time World Champion Marc Marquez, Repsol Honda teammate Pol Espargaro and Joan Mir fail to make it out of a spectacular Q1.

Q1 was one of the most competitive and unpredictable we’ve seen in a long time. Eight World Champions were battling it out for the top two positions, including Repsol Honda Team duo Marc Marquez and Pol Espargaro, Francesco Bagnaia, and Joan Mir. But they were not going to have it easy. Mooney VR46 Racing Team’s Marco Bezzecchi and Luca Marini were the top two after the first lap times were slammed in. Their VR46 Academy stablemate Bagnaia then took over at the top of the timesheets, with Marc Marquez P4 and on a three-stop strategy. Mir was down in P12 after the first stint, 0.5s away from the all-important top two.

Turns 12 and 13 proved the folly of the eight-time World Champion as he pushed his RC213V to the absolute limit. Drama then unfolded for Marc Marquez. Pushing hard, the front of his RC213V washed away at Turn 13. The eight-time World Champion was straight back up on his feet on immediately headed back to pitlane, and was back out with three minutes to go. Pecco was having no such issues though, the Italian went 0.4s clear of now second place Fabio Di Giannantonio with the best lap of the weekend.

Marc Marquez had just passed Takaaki Nakagami and was pressing hard for the top two. But, at Turn 12, the number 93 was down again. Then, Mir was on the deck as both Repsol Hondas and Mir miss out on a Q2 place, with Bagnaia and Di Giannantonio heading through. What a barnstorming Q1 session in Indonesia.

Crucially, both Pecco and Di Giannantonio had two, beaming fresh soft rear tyres to throw on in Q2. Quartararo was the fastest rider once the first laps had been set, a 1:31.227 was the first benchmark, as his teammate Franco Morbidelli crashed unhurt at Turn 5. As the riders boxed for fresh rubber, it was a provisional front row of Quartararo, Bagnaia, and Martin. Aleix Espargaro was P4 ahead of Di Giannantonio and his teammate Enea Bastianini. Fellow Ducati star Jack Miller had failed to set a time with six minutes to go.

Bagnaia came out for his second run and improved his time, but Quartararo was lapping quicker just behind. El Diablo set a blistering 1:31.067, Martin climbed to P2 to demote Pecco to P3, with Miguel Oliveira grabbing P4. Aleix Espargaro then crashed at Turn 10 unhurt, the yellow flags came out, but the incident was cleared in time for the riders to get one last shot at pole in. And there was late movement on the timesheets. Zarco, Brad Binder and Bastianini all put in their personal best times on the last lap to go P3, P4, and P5 respectively, pushing Pecco down to P6. No one was able to beat Quartararo though, the Frenchman took his first pole since the 2021 Catalan GP.

Brad Binder’s late lap sees the South African start from the spearhead of Row 2, as the top two from Qatar’s belter start together in Mandalika. P5 for Bastianini is a good result for the Italian, and joining Binder and The Beast on Row 2 is Pecco he’ll take that after having to deal with Q1. Oliveira starts P7 ahead of Alex Rins and Miller. Aleix Espargaro had to settle for P10 after his crash, the Spaniard starts ahead of Di Giannantonio – his best MotoGP qualifying in P11 and Morbidelli. After qualifying had finished, Morbidelli was handed a three-place grid penalty for failing to comply with the notice given to all MotoGP teams regarding the staged practice start. This means Marco Bezzecchi, Luca Marini, and Marc Marquez move up a position each on the grid, with Morbidelli now starting P15. 

Top 10:
1. Fabio Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) – 1:31.067
2. Jorge Martin (Pramac Racing) + 0.213
3. Johann Zarco (Pramac Racing) + 0.311
4. Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) + 0.366
5. Enea Bastianini (Gresini Racing MotoGP) + 0.437
6. Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati Lenovo Team) + 0.440
7. Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) + 0.499
8. Alex Rins (Team Suzuki Ecstar) + 0.515
9. Jack Miller (Ducati Lenovo Team) + 0.647
10. Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing) + 0.656

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