Spaniard Aleix Espargaro dodged the showers on Saturday to grab pole position in the Spanish motorcycle Grand Prix at Jerez.
The Aprilia rider, who set the best time in the heat in Friday’s qualifying, edged Australian Jack Miller (KTM) and fellow Spaniard Jorge Martin on a Ducati-Pramac.
The qualifying set the grids for both Saturday’s sprint and Sunday’s race.
Espargaro opened the morning by crashing in free practice. Down to one bike he then gambled on slick tyres as showers punctuated the final session and was rewarded with the fastest time.
“Crazy morning,” said Espargaro.”I felt good from yesterday, so we decided to try another dynamic package, and unfortunately, I had a small crash.”
As one of the 10 fastest from practice, Espargaro was able to sit out the opening qualifying session but was dismayed when it started to pour as that session ended.
“When I saw the rain, I was a bit angry and disappointed because we just had one bike, so we didn’t have the gamble to try the rain tyres and then the slicks,” said Espargaro.
“I said ‘Let’s put on the slick and I try my best’. I really control everything until the last lap and then I push.”
Miller said that he was unsure which parts of the track were dry so he also gambled.
“I threw in the slicks, went out and was able to bust out a lap,” he said. “Each lap you push your luck a little bit more with the curves and hope they’re ready at that point.”
It was his first front-row place since joining KTM this season.
“It’s a hard track to pass on, so this is a major bonus,” said.
Martin said he needed to duplicate his fast qualifying in the races.
“Happy to make the front row,” said the Spaniard. “The important things are later.”
South African Brad Binder (KTM) and reigning Italian world champion Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati) topped the opening qualifying earlier in the day to grab the last two spots in the shootout for the first four rows on the grid.
They made the most of their second chances by grabbing places on the second row alongside surprising Spanish veteran Daniel Pedrosa, who entered as a wild card by KTM.
Championship leader Marco Bezzechi, on the second factory Ducati, finished 0.085sec behind Binder in the opening qualifying session and will start 13th.
Yamaha’s Fabio Quartararo, the 2021 world champion, qualified only 16th.
- Bundesliga: Bayern beats Gladbach at last with late Tel winner
- US Open 2023: Alcaraz holds off Evans to reach fourth round
- East Bengal vs Mohun Bagan SG Durand Cup 2023 final: How did EBFC set up a Kolkata derby final?
- Indian athletes who have qualified for Diamond League Final 2023
- East Bengal in final: What happened the last time EBFC reached a final in Indian football?