2021 Le Mans MotoGP Qualifying Result: It Ain’t Over ‘Till It’s Over

If Q1 was any indication, pole at Le Mans was going to be an even more stressful affair than usual, with a damp but rapidly drying track covered by the inky blackness of clouds setting the stage for Q2. And the premier class put in a performance to match the dramatic decor. After a tentative outlap on wet rubber, slicks became the flavour of the day and some unusual challengers mixed in with the names you would expect to shine in the tricky conditions. When rain made a comeback in parts of the track with two minutes remaining, it looked like a surprise Honda front row lockout, but conditions improved quick enough for Yamaha to spoil their party and allow Fabio Quartararo to claim a second consecutive pole on home soil. He was closely followed by teammate Maverick Viñales, with Jack Miller closing the front row of the grid after spending most of the session at the front, enjoying the unpredictable conditions.

Franco Morbidelli quickly forgot about the lightly twisted ankle he gained earlier today to climb onto the second row of the grid, only a tenth of a second slower than his former teammate. Johann Zarco joins him on row two, together with Marc Marquez and his FP4-scuffed leathers, who held provisional pole until the surprise late attack that demoted him to sixth position. Colleague Takaaki Nakagami followed the Spaniard on track and on the timesheets, opening the third row from Pol Espargaro, who also had hopes for pole, had he not crashed at turn 7 on his final flying lap.

Valentino Rossi will be looking to make a comeback from a difficult start of the year from ninth on the grid, while Miguel Oliveira completed the top ten after a late tumble. The KTM man will be joined on the fourth row by the surprising Q1 graduates: Lorenzo Savadori and Luca Marini. The damper but rapidly improving conditions in Q1 caused some major headaches and when it all came down to the final flying lap, Savadori timed it to perfection, the Aprilia man eight tenths faster than his closest rival, having sprinted back to pitlane Marquez-style early in the session after a crash at the final corner. Marini made good use of the Bagnaia caravan to secure second, leaving some major names to fight it out from the second half of the grid.

Premature celebrations for Aleix Espargaro proved costly as he did not take advantage of his final flying lap and got demoted to 13th on the grid, but in fine company from the two Suzukis led by Joan Mir. Pecco Bagnaia had a slightly worse afternoon, the championship leader having to defend that position from 16th on the grid, alongside the Tech 3 duo of Danilo Petrucci and Iker Lecuona.

Results:

Pos No. Rider Bike Time Diff Prev
1 20 Fabio Quartararo Yamaha 1'32.600    
2 12 Maverick Viñales Yamaha 1'32.681 0.081 0.081
3 43 Jack Miller Ducati 1'32.704 0.104 0.023
4 21 Franco Morbidelli Yamaha 1'32.766 0.166 0.062
5 5 Johann Zarco Ducati 1'32.877 0.277 0.111
6 93 Marc Marquez Honda 1'33.037 0.437 0.160
7 30 Takaaki Nakagami Honda 1'33.120 0.520 0.083
8 44 Pol Espargaro Honda 1'33.150 0.550 0.030
9 46 Valentino Rossi Yamaha 1'33.391 0.791 0.241
10 88 Miguel Oliveira KTM 1'33.867 1.267 0.476
11 32 Lorenzo Savadori Aprilia 1'34.258 1.658 0.391
12 10 Luca Marini Ducati 1'34.265 1.665 0.007
    Q1 Results:        
Q2 32 Lorenzo Savadori Aprilia 1'42.550    
Q2 10 Luca Marini Ducati 1'43.352 0.802 0.802
13 41 Aleix Espargaro Aprilia 1'43.418 0.868 0.066
14 36 Joan Mir Suzuki 1'43.422 0.872 0.004
15 42 Alex Rins Suzuki 1'43.523 0.973 0.101
16 63 Francesco Bagnaia Ducati 1'43.530 0.980 0.007
17 9 Danilo Petrucci KTM 1'43.857 1.307 0.327
18 27 Iker Lecuona KTM 1'44.324 1.774 0.467
19 73 Alex Marquez Honda 1'45.146 2.596 0.822
20 53 Tito Rabat Ducati 1'45.590 3.040 0.444
21 33 Brad Binder KTM 1'45.911 3.361 0.321
22 23 Enea Bastianini Ducati 1'46.123 3.573 0.212
Round Number: 
5
2021
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Comments

Rapidness is relative. Compared to some other riders Lorenzo Savadori was considered slow (by some). I disagree. L.S.32 is rather swift. Aleix Espargaro is fast! Savadori went quicker on the same bike in the same session & conditions. Therefore not slow. Compared to incredibly fast racers, yes, Savadori isn't as speedy as the champions. Learning the MotoGp bike, spec tyres, carbon brakes and gadgets. Improving so there is potential to get better results. Not an "Alien" and some day a younger faster rider will come and take Savadori's ride. Such is life in the paddock.

Same goes for that other guy, you know the most mature racer in the big class. That racer is still fast. Just no longer obviously quicker than the entire field. Not quite as fearfully rapid as the new fastest riders.

Congratulations to Fabio, Mav and Franky. What's wrong with the Yamaha again? They are all on the front 3 rows of the grid. Three in the top four!

Not a Ducati track. But the riders can make the difference. Beaut ride Jack! Tre bon Johann Zarco! Maybe this will be J.Z.5's first win. Wouldn't that be outstanding.

Edit Marc Marquez fastest Honda, as we have come to expect, only by a gnat's whisker.

I love motogp.

Savadori legging it into the pits in Q1, Marquez-esque, and taking his second bike to P1, then follows that up with a third row grid spot in Q2.

Good stuff!