Marco Bezzecchi extended the impressive weekend for the VR46 Racing Team by securing pole at the inaugural MotoGP Indian Grand Prix at the Buddh International Circuit here on Saturday.
The 24-year-old Italian clocked a time of 1:43.947, the first sub-1 minute 44 second time this weekend, to hand VR46 a clean sweep of all the MotoGP sessions so far.
Championship contender Jorge Martin finished second behind Bezzecchi, with a time of 1:43.990 in his Pramac Ducati.
Martin, who led the charts in the early part of Qualifying 2 (Q2) was on track for pole in his penultimate lap, leading Bezzecchi by a few tenths. But a mistake in sector 3 meant he couldn’t secure a second consecutive pole after the San Marino Grand Prix.
Reigning Champion and championship leader Francesco Bagnaia finished third with a lap of 1:44.203, securing a spot on the front row, ahead of Practice topper Luca Marini in fourth.
Bagnaia was in sixth place after the first set of runs but managed to stitch together a good lap to ensure his championship rivals do not finish too far ahead.
The Repsol Honda team had a good outing, finishing in fifth and sixth, with 2020 World Champion Joan Mir finishing ahead of six-time champion Marc Marquez in a hugely impressive performance.
Marquez showed signs of his street-smartness as he hung around the back of Martin’s bike during the early parts of the session, trying to get the benefit of a slipstream behind the Pramac Ducati, which is rapid in a straight line.
Martin’s teammate Johann Zarco finished sixth ahead of Yamaha’s Fabio Quartararo in seventh, one place higher than his finish in Practice yesterday.
The Aprilia riders had a disappointing session, finishing ninth and tenth, with Maverick Vinales finishing ahead of Aleix Espargaro.
Espargaro was the centre of some confusion ahead of the start of the session, which was delayed by three minutes.
The Aprilia rider was sent to the end of the pitlane ahead of the scheduled start of 11:45 AM but had to be pushed back to the garage due to the delay with the risk of losing tyre temperature stranded at pitlane entry for over three minutes.
Raul Fernandez finished 11th after securing a spot through the first Qualifying session (Q1), where he led the charts ahead of Gresini Racing’s Alex Marquez, who secured the second spot.
The joy was short-lived for Marquez, as he was unable to participate in Q2 after fracturing his ribs in a last lap crash in Q1.
The crash also brought agony to KTM rider Brad Binder as his final flying lap was cancelled following the yellow flag near the crash site.
This is the second time in two days that the South African has been affected by yellow flags in his last flying lap. He will now start the race from 14th on the grid.
The riders will next participate in the 11-lap Sprint Race scheduled to be held at 3:30 PM IST ahead of the Grand Prix race to be held tomorrow.
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