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Bagnaia breaks lap record to take pole in Aragon MotoGP

1. Bagnaia breaks lap record to take pole in Aragon MotoGP
Ducati Italian rider Francesco Bagnaia rides his bike during the third MotoGP free practice session ahead of the Moto Grand Prix of Aragon at the Motorland circuit in Alcaniz on September 17, 2022. (Photo: AFP)

ALCAÑIZ, Spain — Francesco Bagnaia set a MotorLand lap record on Saturday as he topped qualifying for the Aragon Grand Prix and grabbed his fifth pole position of the MotoGP season.اضافة اعلان

The Italian, who has won the last four races to surge up the rider standings, took pole with a lap of 1min 46.069sec to lead a Ducati sweep of the front row.

Australian Jack Miller, on the other factory bike, was second at 0.09sec with Italian Enea Bastianini on a Gresini-Ducati third at 0.154sec.

Bagnaia broke the course lap record of 1:46.322 he set in qualifying last year, when he went on to win from pole.

“This is my best lap time ever,” he said. “I never did a lap time like this. So I’m so perfect like this, I am very, very happy. Tomorrow we have to finish the job.”

Bagnaia is 30 points behind leader and reigning champion Fabio Quartararo.

The Frenchman squeezed onto the second row on his Yamaha, just 0.05sec faster than Italian Marco Bezzecchi on a Ducati VR46

Spaniard Aleix Espargaro, who rides an Aprilia and is third in the championship three points behind Bagnaia, and Frenchman Johann Zarco on a Pramac-Ducati are just ahead of Quartararo on the second row.

“I gave it my best shot,” said Quartararo who has struggled to match the Ducatis for pace in recent races. “To get sixth position was the maximum, maximum, maximum that we could do, but I think that we can still do well tomorrow.”

“I’ll have to make some aggressive overtaking. And if we have to make contact, we will do it. That will be my only solution for this race”.

Six-time world champion Marc Marquez, racing for the first time this season after a fourth surgery on his right arm qualified 13th.

Sprint races

Qualifying took place in front of a sparse crowd on a day when MotoGP organizers Dorna announced that next season there would effectively be two races each weekend with sprint races on Saturdays.

Riders will gain half the points for racing half the distance.

Qualifying on Saturday mornings will determine grid positions for both the sprint and the main race on Sunday.

Time will be added to the second qualifying session on the Friday which will be one-hour long.

Meanwhile, Suzuki announced that Joan Mir, who took part in free practice on Friday and Saturday morning, had chosen not to take part in qualifying and will also sit out the Japanese Grand Prix on September 25.

The 2020 world champion, who is 13th in the championship, injured his right ankle in a violent crash at the start of the Austrian GP in August. The Spaniard then missed the San Marino GP in early September. 

Mir was suffering “a severe lack of mobility and an increase in pain”, the team said.

In Moto3, championship leader Izan Guevara took pole position on a GasGas but the weekend marks the return after five years of fellow Spaniard Maria Herrera who is riding as a wild-card for the MTA Angeluss team with an all-female pit crew.

Herrera, 28, raced 53 times in Moto3 from 2013 to 2017. She has been competing in MotoE this season on heavier electric bikes.

“We decided to create an all-female team because our desire is to increase the number of women working in the paddock, from riders to mechanics,” team manager Aurora Angelucci told Spanish newspaper Marca.

Riding for a team that has struggled in the middle of the pack, Herrera qualified 15th out of 16 riders.

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