Marc Marquez grabs first Ducati pole in damp qualifying

Taking a first front row since his switch to Gresini Ducati last time out at the Americas GP, Marquez went one better in front of his home crowd at Jerez on Saturday morning.

Setting the initial pace in the damp Q2 session, a late switch to a medium wet tyre allowed Marquez to produce a 1m46.773s securing him a first pole since last year’s Portuguese Grand Prix.

This result comes a day after the eight-time world champion told media that his adaptation time to the Ducati had «finished».

Bezzecchi held onto second on his GP23 run by the VR46 squad, while championship leader Jorge Martin completed the front row for Pramac.

Brad Binder came through a wet Q1 to qualify fourth, while last year’s Spanish GP winner Francesco Bagnaia was shuffled down to seventh on his factory Ducati.

While the rain that fell during the final practice session – which was also topped by Marc Marquez – had eased by the time Q2 got underway, the track would never be dry enough for slicks.

To begin with, only KTM’s Binder – who came through Q1 with Pramac’s Franco Morbidelli – and the Aprilia duo of Maverick Vinales and Aleix Espargaro opted for the media wet tyre.

Marquez went top of the soft with a 1m48.016s to begin with, before Binder took over with a 1m47.807s.

This forced most to go with the medium for their second runs, with Tech3 rookie sensation Pedro Acosta setting the timing screens ablaze on the first flying lap of his second run after his tyre switch.

Over six tenths up on the current session best as he came into the final corner, Acosta crashed after the front slid away from him under braking.

With just under three minutes to go, Bezzecchi threw in a 1m47.044s to take over provisional pole but could do nothing to halt Marquez’s charge.

Watch: What we learned on Friday! | 2024 #SpanishGP

The Gresini rider found a 1m46.773s on what would turn out to be his final flying lap, as Marquez lost the front end of his Ducati into Turn 1 seconds later.

While he stayed mounted, he’d run out of time to get a final lap in, though it proved no matter as he held onto his 93rd career pole.
Martin, who admitted in parc ferme that he didn’t feel good in the wet conditions of third practice, will start third from Binder and the sister VR46 Ducati of Fabio Di Giannantonio.

Alex Marquez jumped up to sixth late on the sister Gresini Ducati, pushing reigning champion Bagnaia down to seventh ahead of Morbidelli and Enea Bastianini (Ducati).

Acosta ended up 10th after his late crash, while Vinales and Espargaro slid to 11th and 12th having switched to the soft wet tyre for their final runs.

Johann Zarco led the Honda charge in 13th after narrowly missing a place in Q2, with the LCR rider beating Trackhouse Racing’s Miguel Oliveira and the factory KTM of Jack Miller.

Miller was late to the circuit in Q1 due to an issue with his KTM team fitting his rear wheel, and a lack of additional tyres for later in the session meant he could be no more than 15th ahead of KTM wildcard Dani Pedrosa.

Joan Mir was the leading factory team Honda rider in 20th, while Yamaha endured a shocker with Fabio Quartararo in 23rd and Alex Rins last.

Cla   Rider   Bike   Time   Delay 
Marc Marquez Ducati 1’46.773  
Marco Bezzecchi Ducati 1’47.044 0.271
Jorge Martin Ducati 1’47.381 0.608
Brad Binder KTM 1’47.730 0.957
Fabio Di Giannantonio Ducati 1’47.778 1.005
Alex Marquez Ducati 1’47.840 1.067
Francesco Bagnaia Ducati 1’47.962 1.189
Franco Morbidelli Ducati 1’48.116 1.343
Enea Bastianini Ducati 1’48.362 1.589
10  Pedro Acosta KTM 1’48.528 1.755
11  Maverick Vinales Aprilia 1’48.595 1.822
12  Aleix Espargaro Aprilia 1’49.417 2.644
13  Johann Zarco Honda 1’48.102 1.329
14  Miguel Oliveira Aprilia 1’48.418 1.645
15  Jack Miller KTM 1’48.672 1.899
16  Dani Pedrosa KTM 1’48.699 1.926
17  Raul Fernandez Aprilia 1’48.728 1.955
18  Augusto Fernandez KTM 1’49.229 2.456
19  Stefan Bradl Honda 1’49.659 2.886
20  Joan Mir Honda 1’49.765 2.992
21  Lorenzo Savadori Aprilia 1’49.860 3.087
22  Luca Marini Honda 1’49.978 3.205
23  Fabio Quartararo Yamaha 1’50.100 3.327
24  Takaaki Nakagami Honda 1’50.245 3.472
25  Alex Rins Yamaha 1’50.302 3.529

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