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MotoGP Barcelona 2023 qualifying result: Bagnaia beats the Aprilia charge

Francesco Bagnaia took pole position in the MotoGP Barcelona 2023 qualifying session
Photo by Gold and Goose / Icon Sport

Despite Aprilia showing great speed the whole weekend, it is Francesco Bagnaia who took pole for both the Sprint and the Grand Prix in Barcelona, perhaps against the odds. Three Aprilias follow him, led by Aleix Espargaro.

Practice round-up

Aprilia topped the timed practice session, in which the top ten riders gain automatic promotion to Q2. Aleix Espargaro was dominant, as he was three and a half tenths ahead of his teammate, Maverick Vinales, who was second in the order. Francesco Bagnaia was just a little bit behind, in third position.

Johann Zarco was fourth, whilst Brad Binder’s KTM was the only non-Italian bike in the all-important top ten. Alex Marquez beat Marco Bezzecchi for sixth and Fabio de Giannantonio was a positive surprise, as he recorded the eighth-best time. The last riders to get automatic promotion to Q2 were Enea Bastianini and Jorge Martin.

Pol Espargaro missed out by just 28 thousandths of a second, with Jack Miller, Raul Fernandez and Miguel Oliveira were also within a tenth. The session was a wash for the Japanese manufacturers, as the Yamaha riders were seventeenth and eighteenth, only ahead of the four Honda riders, who were at the bottom of the standings, all far from Martin.

MotoGP Barcelona 2023 Qualifying: Q1

Despite a few raindrops in various points through the session, the riders pushed hard all the way through the session to produce fast laps and get placed in the top two spots in order to gain promotion for Q2. Miguel Oliveira was fastest all the way through and easily got through, in first place.

There was a surprise for the second spot though, which went to Marc Marquez. The Spaniard followed Jack Miller and benefitted from the draft to overhaul the Australian rider, who ended the session in third position. Fourth went to Pol Espargaro, who was one place ahead of Raul Fernandez. Franco Morbidelli was sixth, while Fabio Quartararo had a crash and ended up in seventh.

Luca Marini has lacked pace all weekend long and that did not change in qualifying, so he will start both races from eighteenth. The grid will be completed by Augusto Fernandez and the Hondas of Joan Mir, Takaaki Nakagami and Iker Lecuona.

MotoGP Barcelona 2023 Qualifying: Q2

With no rain all the way through the second fifteen-minute session, Maverick Vinales started well, with the fastest lap in the first half of the session. As expected, Aleix Espargaro recorded a rapid lap time to climb to the top, but Francesco Bagnaia beat that lap time in the next few seconds. The battle came down to the wire, to the very last lap, as the Catalan rider tried to reclaim top spot.

He failed to do so, by a tenth of a second, thus it was Bagnaia that took a pole against the odds. Just five thousandths of a second behind second-placed Espargaro, we find Miguel Oliveira, despite him having to overtake Marc Marquez on his fastest lap. Maverick Vinales made it three Aprilias behind Bagnaia, also very close to his teammate.

Jorge Martin was frustrated as he was also held up by Marquez and ran in the gravel, by fifth place is a good result. Johann Zarco, Alex Marquez and Fabio di Giannantonio followed, in front of Brad Binder who struggled to find pace late in the session. Marco Bezzecchi, Enea Bastianini and Marc Marquez will complete the top four rows of the grid in the weekend’s two races.

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