It was a session full of surprises today that included highs for our leading championing as well as a returning favourite but also heartache and disaster for a home hero.
After a challenging weekend in which he hasn’t shown a huge amount of pace, reigning champion Pecco Bagnaia came from nowhere to steal pole position in the dying moments of the session. He crossed the line and instantly punched the air, showing he knew just how good his lap time of 1:30.705.
Pecco Bagnaia takes pole! #FrenchGP pic.twitter.com/kLSigZak9y
— MotoGP on BT Sport (@btsportmotogp) May 13, 2023
He will be joined on the front row by Marc Marquez, who is returning to the action after missing the last 3 races thanks to breaking a metacarpal at the Portuguese GP. He took provisional pole with 1 minute remaining on the clock, setting, at that time, the fastest lap of the weekend so far. He clearly gave this lap everything he had as he ran out of fuel shortly after, delaying his return to the paddock to meet the media!
Having fought his way through from Q1, Luca Marini was able to snatch 3rd place away from Jack Miller shortly after the chequered flag fell, bumping the Australian down to 4th. On his final lap, Miller was following Augusto Fernandez as a marker but was sadly too close to him and this ended up slowing him down. He was unable to improve on his time and was forced to settle for 4th – a disappointing result given his impressive ride in Friday’s P1 and P2.
Maverick Vinales was an early leader in Q2 and spent time in provisional pole. This was until he left the garage for his second run, with 6 minutes remaining on the clock. He faced issues on the pit exit – the onboard shot seemed to suggest the bike was stuck on the pit limiter. He was twisting the throttle but nothing happened. He was met in the pit lane by Moto3 rider, Riccardo Rossi, who gave him a helpful push back to the garage whilst the team rushed to prepare the spare bike for him. He will line up in 7th for the sprint and main races.
What's happened here?! 😱
Provisional pole man Maverick runs into trouble at the end of pit lane! 🤯
This could cost him pole position! 🛑#FrenchGP 🇫🇷 pic.twitter.com/21S0B6reMP
— MotoGP™🏁 (@MotoGP) May 13, 2023
As Vinales waited for his second bike to be readied, his teammate Aleix Espargaro had a huge off at the high-speed turn 1. He lost the front of the bike and slid, which some speed, out into the gravel trap. Thankfully, he was able to walk away and he will line up 11th on the grid.
Home hero, Fabio Quartararo had a disastrous session as he was unable to progress up from Q1. This means he will line up in gut-wrenching 13th place for his home sprint race later today and the main race tomorrow. The record-breaking crowds will undoubtedly be willing him on as the lights go out later today.
Full Starting Grid:
|1st||Pecco Bagnaia||Ducati Lenovo|
|2nd||Marc Marquez||Repsol Honda|
|3rd||Luca Marini||Mooney VR46|
|4th||Jack Miller||Red Bull KTM|
|5th||Jorge Martin||Prima Pramac|
|7th||Marco Bezzecchi||Mooney VR46|
|9th||Johann Zarco||Prima Pramac|
|10th||Brad Binder||Red Bull KTM|
|12th||Augusto Fernandez||GASGAS Tech3|
|13th||Fabio Quartararo||Monster Energy Yamaha|
|14th||Takaaki Nakagami||LCR Honda|
|15th||Fabio Di Giannantonio||Gresini|
|16th||Joan Mir||Repsol Honda|
|17th||Franco Morbidelli||Monster Energy Yamaha|
|18th||Alex Rins||LCR Honda|
|19th||Danilo Petrucci||Ducati Lenovo|
|20th||Lorenzo Savadori||CryptoDATA RNF|
|21st||Jonas Folger||GASGAS Tech3|
Feature Image Credit: MotoGP