2020 Le Mans MotoGP Qualifying Result: A Happy Playground

An autumnal Le Mans set a cold but sunny scene for the premier class qualifying session and after Q1 warmed us up nicely, it was Fabio Quartararo’s turn to defend top spot on home turf. The Frenchman put his name at the top of the timing screens early on but rivals caught up and it all came down to the final flying lap, when Quartararo blasted through the final sector to secure a fine pole position on his home playground. That demoted Jack Miller to second, the Pramac rider breaking the Yamaha domination by being the first of two Ducatis on the front row of the grid. An invigorated Danilo Petrucci escaped Q1 and climbed onto front row for the first time this season, with high hopes for Sunday on a favourable track for the Italian.

Cal Crutchlow did a fine job to climb onto the second row, four tenths off pole and narrowly ahead of Maverick Vinales and Andrea Dovizioso. The Italian had brief aspirations at pole but couldn’t get it together in time and dropped to the bottom of row two – a solid qualifying performance when compared to others of late.

Pecco Bagnaia conquered Q1 and was Quartararo’s main rival early in Q2, but the Ducati man dropped to seventh in the closing stages, ahead of Pol Espargaro – the KTM man half a second off pole. Johann Zarco closes the third row of the grid, while Valentino Rossi and Franco Morbidelli will share row four with Miguel Oliveira, the Tech 3 rider a bit cautious after his adventures in FP4.

The main story of Q1 was the disappointment in the Suzuki camp, where Joan Mir had his worst qualifying of the season in 14th position, with teammate Alex Rins down in 16th and with another comeback to plan in order to keep championship hopes alive.

Results:

Pos No. Rider Bike Time Diff Prev
1 20 Fabio Quartararo Yamaha 1'31.315    
2 43 Jack Miller Ducati 1'31.537 0.222 0.222
3 9 Danilo Petrucci Ducati 1'31.674 0.359 0.137
4 35 Cal Crutchlow Honda 1'31.686 0.371 0.012
5 12 Maverick Viñales Yamaha 1'31.719 0.404 0.033
6 4 Andrea Dovizioso Ducati 1'31.722 0.407 0.003
7 63 Francesco Bagnaia Ducati 1'31.752 0.437 0.030
8 44 Pol Espargaro KTM 1'31.795 0.480 0.043
9 5 Johann Zarco Ducati 1'31.832 0.517 0.037
10 46 Valentino Rossi Yamaha 1'31.889 0.574 0.057
11 21 Franco Morbidelli Yamaha 1'31.891 0.576 0.002
12 88 Miguel Oliveira KTM 1'32.009 0.694 0.118
    Q1 Results:        
Q2 9 Danilo Petrucci Ducati 1'31.952    
Q2 63 Francesco Bagnaia Ducati 1'32.054 0.102 0.102
13 30 Takaaki Nakagami Honda 1'32.179 0.227 0.125
14 36 Joan Mir Suzuki 1'32.187 0.235 0.008
15 41 Aleix Espargaro Aprilia 1'32.539 0.587 0.352
16 42 Alex Rins Suzuki 1'32.757 0.805 0.218
17 33 Brad Binder KTM 1'32.766 0.814 0.009
18 73 Alex Marquez Honda 1'32.774 0.822 0.008
19 38 Bradley Smith Aprilia 1'32.833 0.881 0.059
20 27 Iker Lecuona KTM 1'32.859 0.907 0.026
21 6 Stefan Bradl Honda 1'32.861 0.909 0.002
22 53 Tito Rabat Ducati 1'33.610 1.658 0.749
Round Number: 
10
2020
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Comments

All classes qualifying in the order in which they will race. Brilliant idea.  Give that man a pay raise.

These conditions are TOUGH! Fronts just going away on you at first touch of the brakes. Very low confidence. Q for the brave.

Quartararo's pole lap is worth watching. 1/4 second over 2nd! He nailed it. 

Marini's high side, big/sudden and scary. That hurts for sure, the guy got bloody battered. He will need some pain help tomorrow.

Cal and Petrucci?! Huh. Ducati going round LeMans quickly, so interesting how their long bike gets into corners qualitatively different than the other bikes. In odd conditions sometimes they get a balance others can't. 

Gentle Suzuki not getting heat into a tire, and difficulty exploiting a super soft. The great race day do everything all-arounder can't set up out in the margins. Such an interesting thing to behold. 

Folks can criticize the tires, but how Michelin makes a tire that works everywhere for all these bikes is astounding. Odd though that some super softs can't be popped out for Fall weather this nutty season, pre-season plans be damned. It looks scary dicey out there.

I see a red flag tomorrow, hope everyone is ok. And a couple of riders from deep in the grid bravely charging through. It will require both balls and a measured approach to get up front tomorrow. Plus luck avoiding getting caught up in the errors of others en route. 

What are conditions/temps for the race? 

The weather is predicted to be fine and cool, 15 c 60 f. If the sun shines track temperature should be OK. If it's cloudy all day the riders will be dealing with tricky conditions in the land of Michelin.

2020 is such a different year maybe there should be an exception to the rules on the grounds of safety. Michelin can bring in some "overnight specials" like in the old days. Enough for everyone of course. To make for better racing. If Fabio Quarteraro & Johann Zarco happen to get the best of the batch that is the luck of the draw, oui?

I'm pleased to see Jack Miller & Petrucci on the front row again. The Ducatis may do well, Dovizioso should be OK in the race. If only Michelin could give him some of last year's rear tyres Dovi might get his mojo back.

Hoping for a good race.