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Qualifying report

MotoGP Spanish GP: Marc Marquez grabs first Ducati pole in damp qualifying

Gresini’s Marc Marquez has taken a first Ducati MotoGP pole after topping a damp Spanish Grand Prix qualifying from VR46’s Marco Bezzecchi.

Marc Marquez, Gresini Racing Team

Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

Having taken a first front row since his switch to Gresini Ducati last time out at the Americas GP, former Honda rider Marquez went one better in front of his home crowd at Jerez on Saturday morning.

Setting the initial pace in the damp Q2 session, a late switch to a medium wet tyre allowed Marquez to produce a 1m46.773s secured him a first pole since last year’s Portuguese Grand Prix.

This result comes a day after the eight-time world champion told media that his adaptation time to the Ducati had “finished”.

Bezzecchi held onto second on his GP23 run by the VR46 squad, while championship leader Jorge Martin completed the front row for Pramac.

KTM's Brad Binder came through a wet Q1 to qualify fourth, while last year’s Spanish GP winner Francesco Bagnaia was shuffled down to seventh on his factory Ducati.

While the rain that fell during the final practice session – which was also topped by Marc Marquez – had eased by the time Q2 got underway, the track was never dry enough for slicks.

To begin with, only KTM’s Binder – who came through Q1 with Pramac’s Franco Morbidelli – and the Aprilia duo of Maverick Vinales and Aleix Espargaro opted for the medium wet tyre.

Marquez went top on the soft with a 1m48.016s to begin with, before Binder took over with a 1m47.807s.

This forced most to go with the medium for their second runs, with Tech3 rookie sensation Pedro Acosta setting the timing screens ablaze on the first flying lap of his second run after his tyre switch.

Marc Marquez, Gresini Racing Team

Marc Marquez, Gresini Racing Team

Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

Over six tenths up on the current session best as he came into the final corner, Acosta crashed after the front slid away from him under braking.

With just under three minutes to go, Bezzecchi threw in a 1m47.044s to take over provisional pole but could do nothing to halt Marquez’s charge.

The Gresini rider found a 1m46.773s on what would turn out to be his final flying lap, as Marquez lost the front end of his Ducati into Turn 1 seconds later.

While he stayed mounted, he’d run out of time to get a final lap in, though it proved academic as he held onto his 93rd career pole.

Martin, who admitted in parc ferme that he didn’t feel good in the wet conditions of third practice, will start third from Binder and the second VR46 Ducati of Fabio Di Giannantonio.

Alex Marquez jumped up to sixth late on on his Gresini Ducati, pushing reigning champion Bagnaia down to seventh ahead of Morbidelli and Enea Bastianini (Ducati).

Acosta ended up 10th after his late crash, while Vinales and Espargaro slid to 11th and 12th having switched to the soft wet tyre for their final runs.

Johann Zarco led the Honda charge in 13th after narrowly missing a place in Q2, with the LCR rider beating Trackhouse Racing’s Miguel Oliveira and the factory KTM of Jack Miller.

Miller was late to the circuit in Q1 due to an issue for his KTM team fitting his rear wheel, and a lack of additional tyres for later in the session meant he could do no more than 15th ahead of KTM wildcard Dani Pedrosa.

Joan Mir was the leading factory team Honda rider in 20th, while Yamaha endured a shocker with Fabio Quartararo in 23rd and Alex Rins last.

MotoGP Spanish GP Qualifying Results

Cla   Rider   Bike   Time   Delay   Laps 
Marc Marquez Ducati 1'46.773   7
Marco Bezzecchi Ducati 1'47.044 0.271 8
Jorge Martin Ducati 1'47.381 0.608 8
Brad Binder KTM 1'47.730 0.957 8
F.Di Giannantonio Ducati 1'47.778 1.005 8
Alex Marquez Ducati 1'47.840 1.067 7
F.Bagnaia Ducati 1'47.962 1.189 8
F.Morbidelli Ducati 1'48.116 1.343 6
Enea Bastianini Ducati 1'48.362 1.589 8
10  Pedro Acosta KTM 1'48.528 1.755 7
11  Maverick Vinales Aprilia 1'48.595 1.822 8
12  Aleix Espargaro Aprilia 1'49.417 2.644 8

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