2021 Barcelona MotoGP Qualifying Result: Faster Than A Speeding Bullet

After a long year of putting on a show to empty grandstands, the first round of applause of the season went to Fabio Quartararo and it was fully deserved as the Frenchman took control of the qualifying session early on and never let go. Rivals could only close the gap from four tenths to four hundredths of a second and Quartararo secured another lap record and his fifth consecutive pole position. Jack Miller was his closest challenger but it wasn’t a carefree afternoon for the Ducati man, who spent his first Q1 outing of the season extending his taxi services to towing services for the Repsol Hondas before ending Q2 in the gravel trap at turn 3. However, his quickest lap was enough to secure second on the grid and Miller was all smiles by the time he arrived in parc fermé. Johann Zarco gave his leading compatriot some palpitations as he lined up 3 red sector times on his final flying lap but lost some speed in the final sector and had to make do with third.

Miguel Oliveira continued his excellent form in Barcelona to open the second row of the grid ahead of Franco Morbidelli. Maverick Viñales probably got some flashbacks to last weekend when he saw the Espargaro brothers glued to his tail on his final time attack and it wasn’t until he ditched the company for the last flying lap that he climbed into sixth on the grid. Aleix Espargaro still managed seventh in the end, three tenths of a second off pole and another tenth ahead of Brad Binder. Pecco Bagnaia’s issue with respecting track limits cost him quite a bit and the Italian will start the race from the back of row three.

Joan Mir met a similar challenge down in 10th place and will share fourth row with Valentino Rossi and Pol Espargaro, both of whom suffered crashes in Q2. Rossi slid out at turn 4 early on and struggled to go quicker than 11th on his second machine, while Pol Espargaro benefited from a second-hand tow from Miller and Marquez to escape Q1, only to crash out at turn 10 on his final flying lap of Q2. As any good equal opportunities employer, Marc Marquez picked a new Ducati friend to follow in Q1 this time around but ultimately missed out on Q2 by one hundredth of a second after the strategy backfired and his teammate snatched second in his tow. The Spaniard starts his home race from 13th grid position, sharing row five with Takaaki Nakagami and the returning Jorge Martin.

Results:

Pos No. Rider Bike Time Diff Prev
1 20 Fabio Quartararo Yamaha 1'38.853    
2 43 Jack Miller Ducati 1'38.890 0.037 0.037
3 5 Johann Zarco Ducati 1'39.049 0.196 0.159
4 88 Miguel Oliveira KTM 1'39.099 0.246 0.050
5 21 Franco Morbidelli Yamaha 1'39.109 0.256 0.010
6 12 Maverick Viñales Yamaha 1'39.157 0.304 0.048
7 41 Aleix Espargaro Aprilia 1'39.218 0.365 0.061
8 33 Brad Binder KTM 1'39.343 0.490 0.125
9 63 Francesco Bagnaia Ducati 1'39.359 0.506 0.016
10 36 Joan Mir Suzuki 1'39.431 0.578 0.072
11 46 Valentino Rossi Yamaha 1'39.605 0.752 0.174
12 44 Pol Espargaro Honda 1'41.791 2.938 2.186
    Q1 Results:        
Q2 43 Jack Miller Ducati 1'39.153    
Q2 44 Pol Espargaro Honda 1'39.170 0.017 0.017
13 93 Marc Marquez Honda 1'39.181 0.028 0.011
14 30 Takaaki Nakagami Honda 1'39.347 0.194 0.166
15 89 Jorge Martin Ducati 1'39.532 0.379 0.185
16 27 Iker Lecuona KTM 1'39.567 0.414 0.035
17 23 Enea Bastianini Ducati 1'39.590 0.437 0.023
18 9 Danilo Petrucci KTM 1'39.744 0.591 0.154
19 10 Luca Marini Ducati 1'39.942 0.789 0.198
20 73 Alex Marquez Honda 1'40.009 0.856 0.067
21 32 Lorenzo Savadori Aprilia 1'40.158 1.005 0.149
Round Number: 
7
2021
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Comments

Qualifying used to be fun, now it's a bitching tow fest. Watching it felt like wasted time today.

... but not allowed in Moto 3? Blind Freddy (saw that recently, nasty but funny) and his compatriots should be paying some attention. It would only take one or two serious penalties to stop the practice in Moto GP. Having said that, Miller's reaction to MM was hilarious.

Mm93 followed directly from pits. There was no loitering on track waiting. Especially no loitering with jack leading. He just got on and did his thing. Even when he screwed up the first lap and Marquez waited for him to come back onto the track...he just did it. If anyone needed a penalty it was MV12 and MM93 last week when they were carrying on mid lap. 
on the subject of Top Gun....when are Yamaha going to acknowledge that he is more fragile than a porcelain doll and move him on? 

He will always find a way to put his cat amongst the pigeons.

Also, you can be sure Repsol and Honda are ecstatic to have so much television coverage after a year of anonymity.

Miller handled MM perfectly--knew it was coming, and teased him leaving the paddock. Are you listening Mav?

As the last flying lap of Q1 was underway, with the majority of the Q1 pack right behind him, I was yelling for Jack to just park it in the middle of the last turn, ruining everyone's lap. He had P2 locked, and how could Marc possibly complain? Oh, and props to Pol!

"...Miller handled MM perfectly--knew it was coming, and teased him leaving the paddock. Are you listening Mav?"

That was priceless, and the way not to let it get under your skin. My estimation of JM43 went up another notch.

Maverick. So much talent, but so much that could be better between the ears, too. (At least for a MotoGP racer, that is). This changing of crew chief yet again smacks of desperation, TBH.