Catalan MotoGP: Morbidelli takes maiden pole and leads Yamaha 1-2-3

Franco Morbidelli snatched his maiden MotoGP pole position and headed a Yamaha 1-2-3 in qualifying for the Catalan Grand Prix, while Ducati's Andrea Dovizioso was only 17th

Catalan MotoGP: Morbidelli takes maiden pole and leads Yamaha 1-2-3

The battle for pole at Catalunya raged between all four Yamaha riders at the end of Q2, with Morbidelli heading Fabio Quartararo and Valentino Rossi on the same day the latter's 2021 future with SRT was confirmed.

Rossi set the early pace on his factory Yamaha with a 1m39.881s, though this was immediately bested by Maverick Vinales with a 1m39.655s.

Morbidelli then took over top spot with a 1m39.110s to end the first runs fastest, while team-mate Quartararo was only seventh after making a mistake on the way into Turn 10.

As the session entered its final few minutes, it was the Yamaha quartet lighting up the timing screens, with Quartararo edging ahead with a 1m39.008s.

But Morbidelli dug deep on his final lap and was impressive in the final sector of the Catalunya circuit to fire in a 1m38.798s to claim his first pole in the premier class and his first in grand prix racing since his final Moto2 season in 2017.

Quartararo (below) went for one final lap just as the chequered flag came out, but was unable to improve on second, with Rossi completing the front row for the first time this season.

Pramac's Jack Miller was the best Ducati runner in fourth, the Australian's 1m39.225s coming early in Q2 on his only soft tyre run having had to use up an extra set to come through Q1.

Vinales was shuffled back to the middle of the second row, while Avintia's Johann Zarco moved up to sxith with his final lap to depose former team-mate Pol Espargaro on the KTM back to seventh.

Joan Mir could only manage eighth on his Suzuki, with Danilo Petrucci on the works Ducati and KTM's Brad Binder completing the top 10.

LCR's Takaaki Nakagami could only go 11th on his year-old Honda after progressing from Q1, with Miguel Oliveira 12th on the Tech3 KTM after an early fall at Turn 10.

Dovizioso's tough season continued, as the Ducati rider failed to get anything going in Q1 and could only produce a 1m40.109s good enough for 17th on the grid.

Marking the third time he hasn't escaped Q1, Dovizioso will start alongside Honda's Alex Marquez in 18th and the injured LCR Honda of Cal Crutchlow in 16th.

Alex Rins came close to getting into Q2 to join team-mate Mir, but was denied by Nakagami at the end of Q1 and will start 13th ahead of Francesco Bagnaia (Pramac) and Aprilia's Aleix Espargaro.

Catalan MotoGP qualifying results

Pos Rider Team Gap
1 Franco Morbidelli Petronas Yamaha 1m38.798s
2 Fabio Quartararo Petronas Yamaha 0.210s
3 Valentino Rossi Yamaha 0.331s
4 Jack Miller Pramac Ducati 0.427s
5 Maverick Vinales Yamaha 0.573s
6 Johann Zarco Avintia Ducati 0.580s
7 Pol Espargaro KTM 0.697s
8 Joan Mir Suzuki 0.830s
9 Danilo Petrucci Ducati 0.843s
10 Brad Binder KTM 0.861s
11 Takaaki Nakagami LCR Honda 0.915s
12 Miguel Oliveira Tech3 KTM 1.390s
13 Alex Rins Suzuki 0.953s
14 Francesco Bagnaia Pramac Ducati 0.979s
15 Aleix Espargaro Aprilia 1.175s
16 Cal Crutchlow LCR Honda 1.190s
17 Andrea Dovizioso Ducati 1.311s
18 Alex Marquez Honda 1.366s
19 Iker Lecuona Tech3 KTM 1.692s
20 Stefan Bradl Honda 1.923s
21 Bradley Smith Aprilia 2.040s
22 Tito Rabat Avintia Ducati 2.215s
shares
comments
Rossi's 2021 Petronas SRT Yamaha MotoGP move finally official
Previous article

Rossi's 2021 Petronas SRT Yamaha MotoGP move finally official

Next article

Yamaha: Rossi’s 2021 MotoGP deal took six months to finalise

Yamaha: Rossi’s 2021 MotoGP deal took six months to finalise
Load comments
Why Ducati holds all the power in its MotoGP rider dilemma Plus

Why Ducati holds all the power in its MotoGP rider dilemma

OPINION: The French Grand Prix looks to have made Ducati’s decision on its factory team line-up simpler, as Enea Bastianini stormed to his third win of the campaign and Jorge Martin crashed out for a fifth time in 2022. But, as Ducati suggests to Autosport, it remains in the strongest position in a wild rider market

MotoGP
May 16, 2022
The seismic aftershock left by Suzuki's decision to leave MotoGP Plus

The seismic aftershock left by Suzuki's decision to leave MotoGP

Suzuki's sudden decision to leave the MotoGP World Championship at the end of the season has acted as a stirring element in a market that had already erupted. Autosport analyses what this means for the grid going into 2023

MotoGP
May 11, 2022
How the real Ducati began to emerge in MotoGP’s Spanish GP Plus

How the real Ducati began to emerge in MotoGP’s Spanish GP

Ducati’s 2022 MotoGP bike has had a tough start to life and the expected early-season title charge from Francesco Bagnaia did not materialise. But the Spanish Grand Prix signalled a turning point for both the GP22 and Bagnaia, as the 2021 runner-up belatedly got his season underway after a straight fight with Fabio Quartararo

MotoGP
May 2, 2022
How Honda's praise for its 2022 MotoGP bike has turned into doubt Plus

How Honda's praise for its 2022 MotoGP bike has turned into doubt

In a little over two months, Honda has gone from setting the pace in MotoGP testing with its new RC213V prototype to being at a crossroads - caused by the discrepancy in its riders' feedback. After a Portuguese GP that underwhelmed, serious questions are now being asked of Honda in 2022

MotoGP
Apr 26, 2022
Why Quartararo's Portugal win wasn't only vital for his MotoGP title hopes Plus

Why Quartararo's Portugal win wasn't only vital for his MotoGP title hopes

Fabio Quartararo got his MotoGP title defence off the ground in the Portuguese Grand Prix as a dominant first win of 2022 rocketed him to the top of the standings. While a significant result in terms of his title hopes, it has come at an even more important time in terms of his 2023 contract negotiations

MotoGP
Apr 25, 2022
How a MotoGP legend is preparing for an unexpected comeback at Goodwood Plus

How a MotoGP legend is preparing for an unexpected comeback at Goodwood

Wayne Rainey, who’s paralysed from the chest down, will ride his 1992 500cc world championship-winning bike again at this year's Goodwood Festival of Speed. The American motorcycle legend explains how he's preparing to thrill on his first visit to the famed hillclimb

MotoGP
Apr 19, 2022
The MotoGP rookie fighting two fronts in his debut year Plus

The MotoGP rookie fighting two fronts in his debut year

Darryn Binder has found himself in the unenviable position as MotoGP's most under-pressure rookie in 2022 having made the step directly from Moto3 with a reputation as an over-aggressive rider. This hasn't been an easy thing to shake at the start of the season, but he believes tangible progress is being made

MotoGP
Apr 18, 2022
How ‘Beast’ mode is putting Ducati in 2022 MotoGP title contention Plus

How ‘Beast’ mode is putting Ducati in 2022 MotoGP title contention

Enea Bastianini’s second win of the 2022 campaign at COTA puts him back in the lead of the standings and once again showed the best Ducati package is still the 2021 bike. Those closest to Bastianini tell Autosport why he’s so good on the GP21 relative to his factory counterparts

MotoGP
Apr 12, 2022