2021 MotoGP Round Four – Jerez
Gran Premio Red Bull de España
Fabio Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) has now taken every MotoGP pole position that he’s contested at Jerez, as the Frenchman made it four in a row since he entered the premier class in 2019 – including two last year, both of which he converted into wins.
It was close as ever though, with Franco Morbidelli (Petronas Yamaha SRT) pulling a stunner to take second, just half a tenth back, and Jack Miller (Ducati Lenovo Team) taking third and with it his first front row of the year. The three are split by just 0.105.
First, however, came a blockbuster Q1 with a good few key names looking to move through – including eight-time World Champion Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team), Morbidelli, Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) and nine-time World Champion Valentino Rossi (Petronas Yamaha SRT). Marquez found himself there after a high speed trip into the gravel in FP3 and via a double-check at local hospital, but the Spaniard was fit to contest the session and that he did.
However, neither he nor fellow frontrunner Binder had an answer for Morbidelli as the Italian got into the 1:36s, topping the session to bounce back from a late cancellation of his best lap in FP3. Binder took second and slammed past Alex Marquez (LCR Honda Castrol) at the final corner in more of a Sunday move than a Saturday one, but the South African moved through as Marc Marquez languished, suffering his worst qualifying ever in the premier class so far in P14.
Once the pole shootout of Q2 was on, it was a familiar duo at the top though: Quartararo and Morbidelli. Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda Idemitsu) was hanging on in third as his impressive Jerez pace continued, but Miller was on a charge and tagged onto the back of teammate Francesco Bagnaia. That would prove the key change in the final minutes as Quartararo found himself competing against only himself, shaving a little off his best but looking impervious and imperious as the Ducati duo pipped Nakagami down to fifth.
And so it’s four from four in Jerez for Quartararo now, even though the Frenchman said the lap wasn’t perfect, and it’s his former teammate Morbidelli alongside him on the front row in a familiar but now different liveried sight. Miller takes his first front row of the season in third and pips Bagnaia to the honour as the Italian is forced to settle for fourth, but both Bologna bullets will likely be huge threats once the lights go out.
Nakagami’s return to the 2020 chassis seems to be going rather well as he lines up fifth, with Johann Zarco (Pramac Racing) for company on the outside of Row 2. Maverick Viñales (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) had a more muted day at the office and lines up seventh, with Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini) and Alex Rins (Team Suzuki Ecstar) for company in P8 and P9 respectively.
Reigning Champion Joan Mir (Team Suzuki Ecstar) starts tenth despite some FP3 heroics to make a big leap up the timesheets, with more work to do on race day once again… although he’s no stranger to a podium taken from further back. Binder shook off his final corner divebomb to take P11 in Q2, and HRC test rider and wildcard Stefan Bradl impressed as ever, taking 12th.
Pol Espargaro (Repsol Honda Team) bounced back from a carbon copy of his teammate’s Turn 7 crash, and not long after him, to qualify 13th, just ahead of said teammate Marc Marquez. Rookie Enea Bastianini (Avintia Esponsorama) takes P15 as Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) saw himself relegated to 16th after having a lap scrubbed for track limits. Rossi starts alongside the Portuguese rider, down in P17.
Fabio Quartararo – P1
“It felt really good today. Jerez is one of the tracks that I really like. I have ridden a Yamaha four times at this track and four times I got pole position. It‘s quite an amazing moment, I‘m really happy about this. But I will say that today‘s Q2 session was a qualifying where I was more on the limit. I thought I was going to crash in Turn 6 and Turn 13. I made a mistake in Turn 6, but ultimately what matters is that we got the pole position today. Tomorrow it‘s not going to be easy, but I feel prepared and that I have good potential. The medium and hard tyre are both working well, so we will use the Warm Up tomorrow to decide which one we will use.“
Franco Morbidelli – P2
“The feeling with the bike has been great today and I knew that if I had the right chance I could do something good. We had good potential today, but we had to go through many difficulties to get there. We were able to overcome them though and I’m really happy about that, plus the team did a great job as well today. I wanted to go all or nothing on one lap in qualifying, to be on the limit, and I ended up folding the front. I was prepared for it though and was able to recover it, which I’m really happy about. I have a good feeling going into tomorrow and I’m able to maintain my rhythm for quite a lot of laps, so I’m quite confident about what I can do. I need to see what the other riders can do but starting from the front row is good for our podium chances.”
Jack Miller – P3
“Starting from the front row here will definitely be a big help: Jerez is a very tight and technical track where it’s quite difficult to overtake and, if I can get a good start, I can then try to manage the race in the best way possible, and stay calm especially in the first laps. After a complicated start to the season, it is a relief to be back at the front for me. Obviously, this was only qualifying, and we still have the race tomorrow to look forward to, but for now, I’m happy to have been able to tick this first target off the list.“
MotoGP Combined Qualifying Results
|13||Pol ESPARGARO||HONDA||Q1||(*) 0.491|
|14||Marc MARQUEZ||HONDA||Q1||(*) 0.573|
|15||Enea BASTIANINI||DUCATI||Q1||(*) 0.759|
|16||Miguel OLIVEIRA||KTM||Q1||(*) 0.830|
|17||Valentino ROSSI||YAMAHA||Q1||(*) 0.999|
|18||Luca MARINI||DUCATI||Q1||(*) 1.009|
|19||Danilo PETRUCCI||KTM||Q1||(*) 1.149|
|20||Alex MARQUEZ||HONDA||Q1||(*) 1.153|
|21||Iker LECUONA||KTM||Q1||(*) 1.223|
|22||Lorenzo SAVADORI||APRILIA||Q1||(*) 1.409|
|23||Tito RABAT||DUCATI||Q1||(*) 1.725|
Remy Gardner (Red Bull KTM Ajo) may have only described his pole position lap at the Gran Premio Red Bull de España as “decent”, but the 1:40.667 is actually a new lap record and secures the Australian his first pole of the season.
It was close though, with Fabio Di Giannantonio (Federal Oil Gresini Moto2) just 0.071 off and Marco Bezzecchi (Sky Racing Team VR46) within 0.086 as they complete the front row. Polesitter in the first three races, Sam Lowes (Elf Marc VDS Racing Team) crashed out but will start the fourth showdown of the season from fifth.
Q1 saw rookie Cameron Beaubier (American Racing) take to the top and the American moved through along with teammate Marcos Ramirez, Bo Bendsneyder (Pertamina Mandalika SAG Team) and Nicolo Bulega (Federal Oil Gresini Moto2) as the Italian denied compatriot Stefano Manzi (Flexbox HP 40) on his last push for the top.
So the stage was set for Q2, and the pace was hot from the off as Gardner slammed in a 1:40.667 to lead the way. Di Giannantonio and Bezzecchi got within a tenth, but the Australian held on at the top as the clock ticked down. Some drama then hit for Aron Canet (Inde Aspar Team) as he slid off, although he was able to get back out, before Joe Roberts (Italtrans Racing Team) also hit the deck but was also able to rejoin.
Meanwhile, red sectors started to appear for Lowes. Two tenths under in the third split, the Brit was making a march for the top – but a bobble at the final corner put paid to that. He did improve but stayed fourth, and not long after suffered more drama as he crashed at Turn 2, out the fight. And that was all she wrote, with the front row unchallenged and Raul Fernandez (Red Bull KTM Ajo) then pushing Lowes down a place further to fifth.
That means Championship leader Gardner takes his first pole of the season and becomes the first rider other than Lowes to start from the front this year. ‘Diggia’ takes second, with Bezzecchi back in the mix in a big way on Saturday to take a front row in third and within 0.086 of the top. Raul Fernandez is fourth, ahead of Lowes who is at least in sight of some of his biggest rivals. Xavi Vierge (Petronas Sprinta Racing) completes the second row.
Augusto Fernandez (Elf Marc VDS Racing Team) took P7 ahead of Roberts and rookie Ai Ogura (Idemitsu Honda Team Asia), with Jake Dixon (Petronas Sprinta Racing) completing the top ten despite an earlier crash. Canet, another crasher, took P11 ahead of Jorge Navarro (Lightech Speed Up).
Remy Gardner – P1
“I guess I could say I know this track really well! I’ve done a few laps around here. Everyone’s fast here so it’s always tough in Jerez, but I feel good, the bike was working pretty well from FP1, there wasn’t much to play around with on the bike side. The lap was decent, wasn’t perfect but enough to get me on pole so I’m happy.”
Moto2 Combined Qualifying
|2||Fabio DI GIANNANTONI||KALEX||Q2||+0.071|
|19||Stefano MANZI||KALEX||Q1||(*) 0.175|
|20||Hector GARZO||KALEX||Q1||(*) 0.213|
|21||Lorenzo BALDASSARRI||MV AGUSTA||Q1||(*) 0.249|
|22||Somkiat CHANTRA||KALEX||Q1||(*) 0.293|
|23||Lorenzo DALLA PORTA||KALEX||Q1||(*) 0.328|
|24||Tony ARBOLINO||KALEX||Q1||(*) 0.367|
|25||Simone CORSI||MV AGUSTA||Q1||(*) 0.397|
|26||Thomas LUTHI||KALEX||Q1||(*) 0.533|
|27||Yari MONTELLA||BOSCOSCURO||Q1||(*) 0.666|
|28||Hafizh SYAHRIN||NTS||Q1||(*) 0.816|
|29||Celestino VIETTI||KALEX||Q1||(*) 0.851|
|30||Taiga HADA||NTS||Q1||(*) 1.706|
|31||Tommaso MARCON||MV AGUSTA||Q1||(*) 1.963|
Tatsuki Suzuki (SIC58 Squadra Corse) seemingly can’t stop taking pole position at the Circuito de Jerez-Angel-Nieto. The Japanese rider took a stunning third straight pole at the venue in qualifying for the Gran Premio Red Bull de España, hitting the top early and no one able to depose him. Via a trip through Q1, Jeremy Alcoba (Indonesian Racing Gresini Moto3) nabbed a late second place, with the front row completed by Portimão polesitter Andrea Migno (Rivacold Snipers Team) after more impressive speed from the Italian on Saturday.
On a sunny but cool day at Jerez, Q1 got qualifying going and the first big question since his pitlane start in Doha was asked of Championship leader Pedro Acosta (Red Bull KTM Ajo) as the Spaniard found himself looking to move through. Seemingly immune to the pressure, however, the number 37 topped the session with his last flying lap and headed for Q2 ahead of fellow rookie Izan Guevara (Solunion GASGAS Aspar Team), Carlos Tatay (Avintia Esponsorama Moto3) and eventual front row starter Alcoba to fight for the top 18 positions on the grid.
Once Q2 was underway, it was 2020 Spanish and Andalucia GP polesitter Suzuki on top with exactly two tenths in hand over Migno after the first runs for most, but there was one bit of drama not long coming for Darryn Binder (Petronas Sprinta Racing). The South African had a mammoth highside at Turn 7 – rider perfectly ok – but lost his chance to improve further, stuck watching the timesheets to see how far his 1:46.288 for a provisional P4 would get shuffled down the order.
As it turned out, it wouldn’t be by that much. The field headed back out with only a couple of minutes remaining on the clock but only a handful of riders were able to make it count, with many missing the cut once again. The first improvers were Ayumu Sasaki (Red Bull KTM Tech3) and teammate Deniz Öncu as they moved into the top ten, but as the clock ticked down there was a dearth of red sectors and only a few more riders to cross the line. Gabriel Rodrigo (Indonesian Racing Gresini Moto3) was one of the few improvers as he shot up into third for a provisional front row, with Romano Fenati (Sterilgarda Max Racing Team) and Alcoba looking like the only two remaining threats on the top – in that order on the road. Could they make an assault for pole?
Fenati was first over the line and he did enough to shoot up into fourth at least, but it was short-lived as Alcoba blasted over the line just behind him. From Q1, the Spaniard took second and with that just pushes teammate Rodrigo onto Row 2, to start just ahead of Fenati.
And so Suzuki remained unthreatened at the front and the Japanese rider takes a third straight pole at the Circuito de Jerez-Angel Nieto, ahead of Alcoba in second and another impressive Saturday from Migno as the veteran Italian completes the front row. Rodrigo is shuffled down to head Row 2, which is completed by Fenati and Petronas Sprinta Racing’s John McPhee.
Binder, despite his earlier crash, was seventh quickest and only lost a few places to his forced exile on the sidelines, and he’s joined on Row 3 by Sasaki and 2019 Jerez winner Niccolo Antonelli (Avintia Esponsorama Moto3). Öncü completes the top ten ahead of the last of the late lunges from Q1 graduate Izan Guevara, who pipped Filip Salaç (Rivacold Snipers Team).
That means that Acosta is forced to settle for P13 for his first Moto3 race on home turf, with veteran teammate Jaume Masia (Red Bull KTM Ajo) also facing a fight back from 15th.
Tatsuki Suzuki – P1
“During the winter I got Covid just one week before the winter test in Qatar so I missed the three days of testing, and that’s why I wasn’t quite competitive form the beginning of the season. I was struggling at the end of races on a used tyre, so this weekend me and the team worked a lot on the used tyre, normally we use two or three new tyres in FP1 and 2 but we used only two. As you see on Day 1 I wasn’t fastest but we knew with a new tyre we were quite competitive, so this afternoon in Q2 I really focused for the first flying lap, cause you know it can be a big mess In Moto3, especially in the last moments, so we decided to do good a lap as soon as possible. Unfortunately I took the flag and couldn’t improve on the last lap but let’s say I was a bit lucky and it’s nice to be here on pole position again this year.”
|19||Ryusei YAMANAKA||KTM||Q1||(*) 0.441|
|20||Andi Farid IZDIHAR||HONDA||Q1||(*) 0.599|
|21||Sergio GARCIA||GASGAS||Q1||(*) 0.616|
|22||Adrian FERNANDEZ||HUSQVARNA||Q1||(*) 0.625|
|23||Dennis FOGGIA||HONDA||Q1||(*) 0.639|
|24||Riccardo ROSSI||KTM||Q1||(*) 0.692|
|25||Stefano NEPA||KTM||Q1||(*) 0.701|
|26||Kaito TOBA||KTM||Q1||(*) 0.729|
|27||Maximilian KOFLER||KTM||Q1||(*) 0.976|
|28||Lorenzo FELLON||HONDA||Q1||(*) 1.548|
Eric Granado (One Energy Racing) will start his 2021 FIM Enel MotoE World Cup campaign from pole position at the Gran Premio Red Bull de España, the Brazilian putting in a stunner in E-Pole to head the grid by two and a half tenths. Lukas Tulovic (Tech 3 E-Racing) returns to the front row in Spain as the German made a big step forward from Friday to take second, with rookie sensation Fermin Aldeguer (Openbank Aspar Team) starting third for his debut race in MotoE.
As the first few riders put in their times, it was Maria Herrera who set the first benchmark that outlasted a few rivals, with the Openbank Aspar Team rider cutting two tenths off her previous best during Free Practice. Next the rider to beat was Mattia Casadei (Ongetta SIC58 Squadra Corse) as he took another two tenths off the top, before drama hit for his compatriot Matteo Ferrari (Indonesian E-Racing Gresini MotoE).
2019 Cup winner Ferrari was up, setting red sectors, before the Italian made a key E-Pole mistake: track limits. Seemingly just on the green at Turn 4, everyone held their breath to wait for the official confirmation of whether Ferrari was in or out, and when it came it was bad news: he has to start from the back.
Back on track, Alessandro Zaccone (Octo Pramac MotoE) was the next to head the timesheets as he shaved another chunk off for provisional pole, but it wouldn’t last long as rookie Aldeguer headed out. Faster still, he took over on top. Next out was Jordi Torres (Pons Racing 40) but the Spaniard slotted in behind Zaccone, so there were just three riders left: Tulovic, Dominique Aegerter (Dynavolt Intact GP) and Granado.
Tulovic was up first, the German putting his almost signature Saturday speed on display to take another slice of time off provisional pole, setting a 1:48.012 and taking over. So could Aegerter do it? Surprisingly, not quite. The Swiss rider took third behind Aldeguer, so a front row would all come down to whether the last man out could leapfrog Aegerter or all three: Granado.
Despite fearing the green after falling foul of track limits in 2020, it was something special as the Brazilian lit up the rear tyre and took a stunning four tenths out of the time to beat by the end of the third sector, with pole his if he could hold on. A sideways trip into the final corner saw him lose a little time, but keeping it well within track limits and pinned to the line saw him take E-Pole by a quarter of a second.
That’s a full house of sessions he’s now topped this weekend, the best case scenario as Granado aims to repeat his Jerez win last year. Tulovic, who recovered from a small allergy that dampened his progress on Friday, takes second and aim at his first podium as rookie Aldeguer impresses once again on the outside of the front row.
Aegerter heads up Row 2 ahead of Zaccone, with Torres taking sixth. Seventh went to Casadei, joined on the third row by Xavi Cardelus (Avintia Esponsorama Racing) and Herrera as she took a step forward up the timesheets. Rookie Miquel Pons (LCR E-Team) completes the top ten.
2021 Gran Premio Red Bull de España Schedule