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Qualifying report

MotoGP French GP: Martin smashes lap record for pole in crash-strewn qualifying

MotoGP championship leader Jorge Martin obliterated the lap record at Le Mans to take French Grand Prix pole despite falling in a crash-strewn qualifying.

Jorge Martin, Pramac Racing

Photo by: Marc Fleury

With Enea Bastianini setting a new lap record to get through Q1, the tone was set for the first sub 1m30s lap of the Le Mans circuit.

Martin did so on his second flying lap with a 1m29.919s, which would ultimately cement him pole as the closing moments of Q2 turned into a crash fest.

The Pramac rider tumbled at Turn 4 late on, while factory Ducati counterpart Francesco Bagnaia slid off at Turn 9 while he was up on Martin’s best lap through the second sector.

There were also crashes for Aleix Espargaro and Jack Miller at the end.

Bagnaia held onto second behind Martin, while 2017 French GP winner Maverick Vinales completed the front row on the factory Aprilia.

There was drama in Q1 also, as Marc Marquez got knocked out of qualifying after getting caught out by late yellow flags having also survived a huge scare at Turn 2.

The Gresini Ducati rider will start 13th having been knocked out by Trackhouse Racing’s Miguel Oliveira.

Aprilia’s Vinales opened up the time attacks in the 15-minute Q2 session with a 1m30.685s, before Martin regained the lap record with a 1m30.141s on his first flying lap.

Maverick Vinales, Aprilia Racing

Maverick Vinales, Aprilia Racing

Photo by: Marc Fleury

Ducati’s Bastianini had beaten the lap record twice in Q1 to top that session, while Martin ensured it would go for a fourth time on his second flier in Q2.

The Pramac Ducat rider produced a 1m29.919s to cement top spot.

A mistake on his third flying lap on his second tyre halted another improvement, while his next effort ended at Turn 4 with an odd crash.

Ahead of him, Bagnaia was close through sector one to Martin’s best lap and set the best second sector of the session before crashing at Turn 9.

With numerous yellow flags waving around the circuit, further improvements were few and far between, with Martin holding onto his second pole of the year.

VR46 Ducati duo Fabio Di Giannantonio and last year’s French GP winner Marco Bezzecchi qualified fourth and fifth, with Espargaro sixth on the sister Aprilia after his late crash.

Pedro Acosta will start seventh on the Tech3 GasGas having been forced to check out of his final flying lap after coming across a slow Fabio Quartararo at Turn 12.

Pedro Acosta, Red Bull GASGAS Tech3

Pedro Acosta, Red Bull GASGAS Tech3

Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

The Yamaha rider appeared to have run out of fuel, but may face a stewards hearing on the incident.

Provisionally, the home hero has qualified eighth from Pramac’s Franco Morbidelli and Bastianini, who suffered a technical issue with his Ducati late on.

Jack Miller was 11th on the factory KTM after a crash, with Oliveira 12th after ending Marc Marquez’s qualifying hopes in Q1.

Marquez was lucky to avoid a huge incident at Turn 3 when he lost the front of his Ducati coming through the Turn 2 right-hander.

This ultimately hindered his Q2 charge, while late yellow flags due to crashes for Augusto Fernandez (Tech3) and Johann Zarco (LCR) added to his woes.

He will start alongside Trackhouse Racing’s Raul Fernandez and Zarco, with Alex Rins 16th on the sister Yamaha from Alex Marquez (Gresini).

Joan Mir was 18th on his factory Honda head of LCR’s Takaaki Nakagami, Augusto Fernandez and Luca Marini on the second Repsol-backed RC213V.

KTM’s Brad Binder will start last as his Q1 was heavily affected by a bike issue.

MotoGP French GP Qualifying Result

   
1
 - 
5
   
   
1
 - 
2
   
Cla Rider # Bike Laps Time Interval km/h Speed Trap
1 Spain J. Martin Pramac Racing 89 Ducati 6

1'29.919

  177.840 317
2 Italy F. Bagnaia Ducati Team 1 Ducati 6

+0.192

1'30.111

0.192 177.461 316
3 Spain M. Viñales Aprilia Racing Team 12 Aprilia 8

+0.394

1'30.313

0.202 177.064 315
4 Italy F. Di Giannantonio Team VR46 49 Ducati 8

+0.517

1'30.436

0.123 176.823 316
5 Italy M. Bezzecchi Team VR46 72 Ducati 9

+0.634

1'30.553

0.117 176.594 320
6 Spain A. Espargaro Aprilia Racing Team 41 Aprilia 7

+0.653

1'30.572

0.019 176.557 317
7 Spain P. Acosta Tech 3 31 KTM 9

+0.731

1'30.650

0.078 176.405 318
8 France F. Quartararo Yamaha Factory Racing 20 Yamaha 9

+0.767

1'30.686

0.036 176.335 314
9 Italy F. Morbidelli Pramac Racing 21 Ducati 8

+0.863

1'30.782

0.096 176.149 315
10 Italy E. Bastianini Ducati Team 23 Ducati 7

+0.867

1'30.786

0.004 176.141 317
11 Australia J. Miller Red Bull KTM Factory Racing 43 KTM 8

+1.088

1'31.007

0.221 175.713 314
12 Portugal M. Oliveira Trackhouse Racing Team 88 Aprilia 7

+1.156

1'31.075

0.068 175.582 313

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