The premier class started battle for pole position in the hottest conditions of the weekend at Le Mans and the expected fight between Pecco Bagnaia and Fabio Quartararo was just as hot as the track. The Italian started strong, straight into the 1:30s, but the Frenchman was quickly back ahead to lead after the first run. Bagnaia retaliated on the second run with a new all-time lap record, presumably in a rush to get back in time for Eurovision. The Italian also gave himself a nice buffer zone on the front row by helping teammate Jack Miller with a tow into second position, six hundredths behind the poleman. Quartararo got one final chance to respond but while he was doing that, a consistently impressive Aleix Espargaro pushed him off the front row and the world champion lost time in the final sector, being forced to start his home race from fourth on the grid.
Enea Bastianini finally managed to avoid anything too eventful on this particular outing and climbed as high as fifth on the grid, while Johann Zarco lost his record and a front row start in the last few minutes of Q2, dropping to sixth and possibly due a visit to the stewards’ office for getting in Pol Espargaro’s way. Despite a good showing from Alex Rins in the morning sessions and a successful escape from Q1 for Joan Mir, the Suzukis didn’t play a big part in the fight for pole, spending the whole session in the bottom half of the timing screens and opening third row, Mir ahead of Rins and Q1 leader Jorge Martin.
Meanwhile, in the Honda camp, things were about as gloomy as the weather prediction for the race, with Marc Marquez having to run his second machine following a late tumble in FP4 and then poor timing leaving him without a good reference for his final time attack. All he could do in clean fresh air - with added mistakes - was tenth on the grid, seven tenths off pole and top Honda rider. Teammate Espargaro and colleague Takaaki Nakagami will join him on the fourth row of the grid, while Marco Bezzecchi missed out on Q2 by seven thousandths of a second and not from a lack of effort, with a fast off-road adventure at turns 3-4 before joining the no-longer-that-exclusive 1:30 club.
|16||49||Fabio Di Giannantonio||Ducati||1:31.487||0.683||0.124|