2021 Aragon MotoGP Qualifying Result: No Time Is Safe

The dramatic setting of MotorLand Aragon begged for an equally dramatic qualifying session, hinted at by how close times have been throughout practice. Q2 did not disappoint. Pecco Bagnaia gave us a small taster of what’s to come when he started the session at the front but he was quickly demoted by a rampant Fabio Quartararo, who immediately got within reach of the lap record to lead after the first run. The Frenchman’s time looked nearly unbeatable but then Bagnaia was on fire right out the gates on his second outing and posted an all-time lap record, putting four tenths of a second between himself and the championship leader. Quartararo got one last go at glory but could not match Bagnaia’s incredible lap time and instead proved to be an excellent marker for Jack Miller to follow, the Australian eventually demoting Quartararo another position to add a Ducati one-two to the team’s 50th premier class pole.

After a strong – if somewhat crash-happy – display in practice, Marc Marquez needed no reference to follow in qualifying and briefly stood on the front row, all of his own doing, until Miller’s late charge pushed him to fourth. The Honda man will have high hopes from a season-best qualifying, but the fire might not be that friendly from the men he shares second row with, Jorge Martin and Aleix Espargaro, the three Spaniards sharing some overly enthusiastic encounters over the last few races.

Joan Mir struggled to threaten the front two rows once again, the reigning world champion eight tenths off pole and down in 7th position, sharing third row with Pol Espargaro and an increasingly impressive Enea Bastianini, who honoured his first trip directly into Q2 with ninth place on the grid.

After leading the way in/out of Q1, Johann Zarco was somewhat underwhelming in 10th place, ahead of a pretty anonymous Takaaki Nakagami and fellow Q1 escapee, Brad Binder, the KTM man running out of fresh soft rubber for Q2. However, he coped better than teammate Miguel Oliveira, who finished Q1 towards the bottom of the timesheets and dropped to 18th on the grid. There was even worse news for Suzuki, with Alex Rins qualifying in the middle of the 7th row, in between former teammates Maverick Viñales and Valentino Rossi.

Results:

Pos No. Rider Bike Time Diff Prev
1 63 Francesco Bagnaia Ducati 1'46.322    
2 43 Jack Miller Ducati 1'46.688 0.366 0.366
3 20 Fabio Quartararo Yamaha 1'46.719 0.397 0.031
4 93 Marc Marquez Honda 1'46.736 0.414 0.017
5 89 Jorge Martin Ducati 1'46.878 0.556 0.142
6 41 Aleix Espargaro Aprilia 1'46.883 0.561 0.005
7 36 Joan Mir Suzuki 1'47.162 0.840 0.279
8 44 Pol Espargaro Honda 1'47.194 0.872 0.032
9 23 Enea Bastianini Ducati 1'47.278 0.956 0.084
10 5 Johann Zarco Ducati 1'47.288 0.966 0.010
11 30 Takaaki Nakagami Honda 1'47.366 1.044 0.078
12 33 Brad Binder KTM 1'47.932 1.610 0.566
    Q1 Results:        
Q2 5 Johann Zarco Ducati 1'47.293    
Q2 33 Brad Binder KTM 1'47.344 0.051 0.051
13 27 Iker Lecuona KTM 1'47.508 0.215 0.164
14 73 Alex Marquez Honda 1'47.542 0.249 0.034
15 35 Cal Crutchlow Yamaha 1'47.613 0.320 0.071
16 9 Danilo Petrucci KTM 1'47.708 0.415 0.095
17 10 Luca Marini Ducati 1'47.741 0.448 0.033
18 88 Miguel Oliveira KTM 1'47.750 0.457 0.009
19 12 Maverick Viñales Aprilia 1'47.764 0.471 0.014
20 42 Alex Rins Suzuki 1'47.790 0.497 0.026
21 46 Valentino Rossi Yamaha 1'47.863 0.570 0.073
22 96 Jake Dixon Yamaha 1'48.146 0.853 0.283
Round Number: 
13
2021
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Comments

Beautiful Pole Lap Pecco! Is that a Moto2 bike? This Ducati can change direction and get into turns great. Steady and settled, including drive out. One small waggle mid corner, one sort of almost nearly starting to pump at the rear but doesn't. Nice balanced riding style, economical and tidy. The rear wheel blasting days are over. 

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=2pars6oV67Q

Without sector 3 and especially 4 they would struggle more i thinks. We'll have to see what the other 2 sectors take from their tyres in the race but FP4 looked good for Bagnaia and Miller. Think it's a Fabio, Marc, Peco, Jack mix for the race in no particular order.

Agreed on Aleix! The latest Aprilia engine has really made a big and crucial step. Fingers crossed on reliability, which hasn't been a strong point. But the drag race and top speed? Wow. Surely they are benefitting (and aren't we all except HRC/Yam) from the championship electronics, but just the Dyno war itself has gotten a Black beast this year. The bike looks to have lovely conventional handling, a V4 Suzuki w a salad box. 

So interesting watching a rider do what Vinales is, Suzuki/Yamaha for many yrs go to a V4. First go on hard fronts, experimenting with focus on later hard braking, finding torque to drive out. It is SO hard to change riding style, he goes into instinct and it is corner speed. Of all these riders, the one that has adapted themselves the most times has to be Rossi. 

Jack picked a nice tow from Quarty on a ripper. I like the guy, but his trajectory looks crested. Don't just listen to me, Bagnaia looks to have some potential that may come, and Martin has more that is coming. Miller is on the back foot. If you are Aussie, set your eyes on Remy. Remember your Stoner. You've not been starved for home heroes here, you churn out a steady trickle of our best. Wee France should get a turn while Spain and Italy take a brief break. Be thankful you aren't American, I have been placing hopes one non factory WSBK guy and one British Supersport Triumph kid. My family's Scotland has a couple out there doodling around. Australia isn't getting the short end of the stick. Jack needs to change his riding style away from the rear end bias, which Moto2 can prepare well unless skipped. He is a product of the previous generation Ducati. 

Btw, is does anyone else notice that Zarco has a permanent "I don't know!" shrug and raised eyebrow, head shaking expression? If we were going to dinner, I would have to choose the restaurant. Not centered in confidence. Also crested. 

Rins and Bastianini must have swapped transponders. Either that, or Rins is looking at a challenge for his seat. 11th w 64 points, and dropping. Occasional perk ups. The bike did not improve this yr, but can Suzuki rest upon his results for long? Nice guy, fast on his day, and has not been impressing for a while. This track suits him. Good Q Basti!

Iker signed with Honda WSBK. Decent pay for a while, but ouch. We are flush with fast motorcycle racers right now. Good time to refresh seats. The young ones coming in are quite interesting. 

KTM is the underperforming ginger this year. Oliveira must not be feeling fit, he says little. Brad makes Sunday work solidly, but for the 2nd pack. Personally I have put sights on Winter testing and the new F tire. Would love to be wrong! The two new kids w Herve AND tires better aligned? Healthy Oliveira? Binder bedded in w data? 2022. 

Marquez can still do a race to make many wide eyes on a L handed track. His weak R upper arm --> shoulder are on display, as are F end Honda crashes. But improving he is, and there is little reason to not expect a continued steady mild rise. That bike is a BEAST to ride race distance. He isn't doing badly. Esto es Lazarus numero dos amigos. The bigger surprise for me today was Alex M, he popped on the radar for a possible big weekend. Honda continues to serve it's own arse in hospitality. This makes me smile.

Vale 21st, just ahead of a nearly meaningless compulsory grid fill on a dusty customer Yamaha. Marini post break staying close to his brother. There is good news from the Ranch though in both Pecco AND the about to be announced Italian VR46 Team sans you know what. Bagnaia has gotten this historically unwieldy Red space rocket to the top of it's game again today. Cheers to you! And to Valentino as he adapts his post riding style from a single huge but poison pill funding source to a more organic and crafted/assorted familiar one. This is good for him. Wishing them well (albeit also Suzukis, but hey 1 for 2 isn't bad).