Pol Espargaro and Stefan Bradl kept their heads down and focused on Sunday as the first Qualifying of 2021 got underway in Losail, the pair lining up on the fourth and sixth rows of the grid.
Saturday in Qatar started under an even more punishing sky as track temperatures pushed 50°C, the MotoGP field made the most of the track time in Free Practice 3 regardless but the temperatures meant there were no changes on the combined times. As on Friday, the conditions would steadily improve throughout the evening.
As a result, Pol Espargaro earned direct passage to Q2 and accomplished the first goal of his opening weekend with the Repsol Honda Team. Saturday overall proved to be a more complicated day for Espargaro as he continued to learn the Honda in the varying conditions of the day. Regardless of the final result, Espargaro is ready for a fight when the lights go out on Sunday after showing improvements during his final run in Q2. Espargaro will line up on the fourth row of the grid for his first race in Repsol Honda Team colours. He and his side of the Repsol Honda Team are eager awaiting returning to track for Warm Up.
Stefan Bradl put together an overall impressive day on the Repsol Honda RC213V, eighth in Free Practice 4 with consistent times before heading out in Q1. Times in the 15-minute session were incredibly close, seven riders within half a second of each other. Only 0.418s off Nakagami’s best time and only 0.267s off a transfer spot, Bradl earned 17th on the grid for Sunday’s race. The German feels his race pace should see him advance up the order during the race.
The flag will drop on the inaugural race of 2021 at 20:00 Local Time on Sunday, March 27. The 22-lap race looks set to be a thrilling one to open the new season.
Qatar GP Qualifying Classification
|1||Bagnaia Francesco||63||ITA||Ducati Lenovo Team||Ducati||1'52.772|
|2||Quartararo Fabio||20||FRA||Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP||Yamaha||0.266|
|3||Vinales Maverick||12||SPA||Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP||Yamaha||0.316|
|4||Rossi Valentino||46||ITA||Petronas Yamaha SRT||Yamaha||0.342|
|5||Miller Jack||43||AUS||Ducati Lenovo Team||Ducati||0.443|
|6||Zarco Johann||5||FRA||Pramac Racing||Ducati||0.514|
|7||Morbidelli Franco||21||ITA||Petronas Yamaha SRT||Yamaha||0.541|
|8||Espargaro Aleix||41||SPA||Aprilia Racing Team Gresini||Aprilia||0.543|
|9||Rins Alex||42||SPA||Team Suzuki Ecstar||Suzuki||0.718|
|10||Mir Joan||36||SPA||Team Suzuki Ecstar||Suzuki||0.910|
|11||Nakagami Takaaki||30||JPN||LCR Honda||Honda||0.949|
|12||Espargaro Pol||44||SPA||Repsol Honda Team||Honda||1.158|
|13||Bastianini Enea||23||ITA||Avintia Esponsorama||Ducati||0.156 Q1|
|14||Martin Jorge||89||SPA||Pramac Racing||Ducati||0.263|
|15||Oliveira Miguel||88||POR||Red Bull KTM Factory Racing||KTM||0.338|
|16||Marquez Alex||73||SPA||LCR Honda||Honda||0.381|
|17||Bradl Stefan||6||GER||Repsol Honda Team||Honda||0.418|
|18||Marini Luca||10||ITA||SKY VR46 Avintia||Ducati||0.545|
|19||Binder Brad||33||RSA||Red Bull KTM Factory Racing||KTM||0.663|
|20||Petrucci Danilo||9||ITA||Tech 3 KTM Factory Racing||KTM||0.866|
|21||Lecuona Iker||27||SPA||Tech 3 KTM Factory Racing||KTM||1.050|
|22||Savadori Lorenzo||32||ITA||Aprilia Racing Team Gresini||Aprilia||1.606|
The fabulous Losail International Circuit lies on the outskirts of Doha, the capital city of Qatar. Built in little over a year, the track cost $58 million USD and required round-the-clock dedication from almost 1,000 workers in order to get it ready for the inaugural event – the Marlboro Grand… read more.
|Length||5.380 kilometres / 3.343 miles|
|Longest straight||1.068 kilometres / 0.664 miles|
Losail International Circuit, Al Daayen, Qatar - View in Google Maps
|Pole Position||1m 52.772s (171.7km/h) Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati, 2021)|
|Race Lap||1m 54.624s (168.9 km/h) Maverick Viñales (Yamaha,2021)|
|Race Time||42m28.452 42s (167.1km/h) Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha, 2016)|
|2021 Race Winner||Race 1: Maverick Viñales (Yamaha) || Race 2: Fabio Quartararo (Yamaha)|