MotoGP San Marino GP: Miller snatches pole, Quartararo only eighth

Ducati’s Jack Miller snatched pole in a hectic qualifying for the MotoGP San Marino Grand Prix as championship leader Fabio Quartararo was only eighth in iffy conditions.

MotoGP San Marino GP: Miller snatches pole, Quartararo only eighth

Miller had gone without a pole since the 2018 Argentine GP when he took top honours on his Pramac Ducati in similarly changeable conditions, the Australian beating team-mate Francesco Bagnaia – who is carrying a three-place penalty - by 0.015 seconds.

Spots of rain began to fall around the back of the Misano circuit in the preceding FP4 session, but conditions on track were still good enough for slicks when Q1 got underway.

But across the Q1 session, more rain began to fall, forcing the riders to abort their hopes for a place in Q2 in the closing moments.

Such was the change in conditions that wet tyres were called for when the 15-minute pole shootout session got underway by all except KTM’s Miguel Oliveira and Gresini’s Enea Bastianini.

Oliveira’s first lap of 1m38.743s put him to the top of the order 2.9 seconds clear of Francesco Bagnaia on wet tyres.

Though rain kept falling, the track wasn’t wet enough to stop the slicks from being the viable option, and therefore pitlane became a hive of bike swaps.

Oliveira extended his advantage with a. 1m37.332s lap, but pole would change hands between seven riders across the 15 minutes.

Francesco Bagnaia, Ducati Team

Francesco Bagnaia, Ducati Team

Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

It would be a 1m31.899s from Miller on his penultimate lap that would seal him his first pole for the factory Ducati squad.

Team-mate Bagnaia shadowed him but will drop to fifth for riding slowly on the racing line in FP1.

However, the damage this will deal his hopes of slashing his 44-point disadvantage in the standings will be minimal as standings leader Quartararo failed to capitalise.

Quartararo was one of the first out on track in Q2 and elected for wets, but on his switch to slicks he couldn’t trouble the top spots in conditions the Yamaha has typically struggled.

The Frenchman could only muster a 1m32.246s to qualify eighth.

Bastianini – who took his first MotoGP podium at Misano last year – qualified his year-old Ducati third, but will be promoted to second by Bagnaia’s penalty as VR46 Ducati rookie Marco Bezzecchi in fourth will now complete the front row.

Maverick Vinales was the top Aprilia rider in fifth on the timesheets, but will start fourth ahead of Bagnaia and Pramac’s Johann Zarco.

Fabio Quartararo, Yamaha Factory Racing

Fabio Quartararo, Yamaha Factory Racing

Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

Luca Marini followed his VR46 team-mate Bezzecchi through Q1 after timing his final flying lap perfectly to coincide with the worsening conditions.

He will start seventh ahead of Quartararo, with Aleix Espargaro – who is Quartararo’s nearest title rival at 32 points adrift – was ninth on the second of the Aprilias.

Oliveira faded to 10th in the end ahead of Yamaha’s Franco Morbidelli and the Suzuki of Alex Rins.

Jorge Martin was the biggest loser in the iffy conditions after he was knocked out of Q1 by 0.011s by Marini’s well-timed lap.

The Pramac rider will line up 13th from KTM’s Brad Binder and Alex Marquez after the LCR rider crashed early on in Q1.

Andrea Dovizioso will begin his final MotoGP outing from 18th on his RNF Yamaha ahead of the leading works team Honda of Pol Espargaro, while Joan Mir’s Suzuki stand-in Kazuki Watanabe will start his maiden MotoGP race from 23rd after beating both Tech3 KTM riders.

The 2022 MotoGP San Marino GP will get underway at 1pm BST on Sunday.

Full San Marino GP qualifying results:

Cla Rider Bike Time Gap Interval
1 Australia Jack Miller Ducati 1'31.899    
2 Italy Francesco Bagnaia Ducati 1'31.914 0.015 0.015
3 Italy Enea Bastianini Ducati 1'32.014 0.115 0.100
4 Italy Marco Bezzecchi Ducati 1'32.048 0.149 0.034
5 Spain Maverick Viñales Aprilia 1'32.118 0.219 0.070
6 France Johann Zarco Ducati 1'32.169 0.270 0.051
7 Italy Luca Marini Ducati 1'32.226 0.327 0.057
8 France Fabio Quartararo Yamaha 1'32.246 0.347 0.020
9 Spain Aleix Espargaro Aprilia 1'32.577 0.678 0.331
10 Portugal Miguel Oliveira KTM 1'32.775 0.876 0.198
11 Italy Franco Morbidelli Yamaha 1'33.351 1.452 0.576
12 Spain Alex Rins Suzuki 1'33.438 1.539 0.087
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