Christina Bulpett |
Image: GeeBee Pictures
Pramac’s Jorge Miller refused the factory Ducati duo the last MotoGP pole position of 2021 in Valencia.
Jack Miller and Pecco Bagnaia took turns to lead the grid before the two collapsed in the closing stages and their rookie colleague set the goal of 1’29.936. Valentino Rossi finished his farewell qualifying in 10th place for a start from the fourth row on Sunday.
MotoGP qualifying began without a Repsol Honda representative. Marc Marquez is out for the last two races and the Jerez 2022 test due to persistent concussion complications following a training accident, and Pol Espargaro has been flown to Valencia hospital after the Monster FP3 crash on Saturday morning. The conscious Catalan is examined on his ribs and wrist.
Suzuki’s Alex Rins took the lead in the first Q1 session after the first registered laps. Maverick Viñales took second place in the promotion before being displaced, first to ninth place before bouncing back to fifth place.
Brad Binder took the booty on his third lap, the factory KTM, followed by the Tech3s of Danilo Petrucci and Iker Lecuona, while Rins consolidated the front thanks to a 1: 30.675.
Andrea Dovizioso finished third on the first lap of his second run, three hundredths behind the promotion zone with a 1’30.999. Viñales is another 0.11 seconds behind fourth. However, the Yamaha man struck back with a 1’30.8 and briefly held his ticket for the pole battle before Binder struck again.
Marquez crashed from seventh on turn two as the penultimate minute began and the challenges subsided. Enea Bastianini further demoted the LCR before his Avintia teammate also improved to seventh and eighth. Miguel Oliveira continued to stall when the 2021 season got out of hand.
Rins maintained his dominance at a pace of 1’30.673 as the flag came out and Binder refined his own lap to ensure the upgrade and defend against the Dovizioso threat.
The last pole shootout of the season began with Bagnaia leaving with mentor and friend Rossi as VR46’s farewell weekend continued. The tow that failed as ‘the doctor’ ran far at turn one.
Miller took command with a 1’30.479, his team-mate finished second before Fabio Quartararo and Rins slipped in between. Franky Morbidelli joined the fun in second, three tenths behind the Ducati, with the Australian improving his lead to 1.30,325.
Bagnaia tried to keep up and just missed 0.015 seconds when a Suzuki duo led the factory Yamaha pair. Joan Mir led Rins on her third attempts, while Martin was able to equalize Miller’s provisional pole on lap four with an identical time.
Takaaki Nakagami shared the M1 in seventh place before the field returned to the pit lane. Johann Zarco, Aleix Espargaro, Rossi and Binder completed the top 12 at halftime.
The student who has become a master, Bagnaia tried again to help Rossi when the second runs got underway. The Ducati hit pole with a 1’30.118 when Rossi finished eighth, six tenths behind. The number 63 was on the rise the next time it improved with a 30 flat before dropping out on turn two and pulling out the yellow flags.
In the final endeavors, Martin and Miller battled for the honor, with the Pramac man winning the first 1:29 of the weekend. Miller fell from his own Pole-worthy lap when he had to be content with third place.
I finished fourth ahead of Zarco and Rins, with Binder defeating Quartararo and Nakagami in row three. Rossi started his last MotoGP race from 10th on the grid alongside Morbidelli and Espargaro.
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