Martin crushes lap record to grab pole from Bezzecchi, Bagnaia

Going without a pole since last year’s Valencia GP, Martin was a dominant force in qualifying at Misano on Saturday morning, as he set two outright lap records to seal the deal.

A final effort of 1m30.390s moved him miles clear of the competition, with VR46 Ducati rider Marco Bezzecchi his closest rival in second, 0.397 seconds.

One week on from his horror crash in Barcelona, championship leader Francesco Bagnaia completed the front row on his factory Ducati.

The circuit lap record went on Friday afternoon in second practice, suggesting whoever took pole had to dip underneath this to do so.

Bezzecchi led the early part of Q2 with a 1m31.027s, but Martin would ensure a lap record was needed to take pole after firing in a 1m30.832s with eight minutes to go.

On the first laps of the riders’ second runs, nobody was doing anything to trouble the top of the timesheets, before Martin started to light up the timing screens.

Finding time on his benchmark, a massive final sector for the Pramac rider saw him produce a 1m30.390s which would secure him pole.

Bezzecchi, carrying injury from being involved in the Turn 1 pile-up in Barcelona, wasn’t able to put any pressure on Martin, ending the session with a 1m30.787s to claim second.

Bagnaia did threaten Martin’s lap with his final effort, setting an outright fastest sector two. But the fast right-handers towards the end of the lap worked against the Italian’s injured leg and he could do no more than third with a 1m30.836s.

Martin’s pole marks Ducati’s eighth in a row this season.

Maverick Vinales heads row two on the factory Aprilia ahead of KTM wildcard Dani Pedrosa, who went one better than he managed in qualifying in his last appearance in 2023 at Jerez.

Aleix Espargaro was dumped into Q1 after a late crash in second practice left him with whiplash.

Despite this, the Barcelona winner managed to progress into Q2 and qualified his Aprilia sixth ahead of KTM’s Brad Binder.

VR46 Ducati rider Luca Marini will start the sprint and grand prix at Misano from eighth ahead of Honda’s Marc Marquez and Q1 pacesetter Miguel Oliveira on the RNF Aprilia.

Alex Marquez (Gresini Ducati) and RNF’s Raul Fernandez completed the top 12, with Yamaha’s Fabio Quartararo missing out on a Q2 spot in 13th.

Ducati wildcard Michele Pirro was 14th from Honda test rider Stefan Bradl, while Johann Zarco on the sister Pramac Ducati struggled to 16th.

Augusto Fernandez was 17th on his Tech3 KTM, with Jack Miller only 18th on his factory KTM ahead of Yamaha’s Franco Morbidelli.

Takaaki Nakagami was 20th on the sole LCR Honda, after stand-in team-mate Takumi Takahashi failed to make it into the 105% cut-off after practice to continue the weekend.

Fabio di Giannantonio (Gresini), Honda’s Joan Mir and Tech3’s Pol Espargaro after two crashes completed the field.

Source link