REUTERS: Home favorite Fabio Quartararo edged out Jack Miller of Pramac Ducati to claim his third MotoGP pole position of the season at the French Grand Prix at Le Mans on Saturday.
Championship leader Quartararo crossed the last section of the Bugatti circuit to produce an almost flawless lap of one minute 31.315 seconds, finishing 0.222 ahead of Miller.
Petronas Yamaha’s Quartararo will lead the grid for the first time since the second round in Jerez in July.
“It’s special because the conditions were really tough,” said the 21-year-old.
“I was very confident after yesterday’s practice sessions. I knew where we needed to improve and where we could take the risk.
“I think we have the pace to fight for the win tomorrow. “
Although he had to go through the Q1 session for the pole shootout, Ducati rider Danilo Petrucci set the third fastest time to secure his first front row start since the 2019 Italian Grand Prix.
Italian great Valentino Rossi signed a late charge for a pole on his factory Yamaha motorcycle, but could only manage 10th place on the grid for Sunday’s race.
Championship contender Joan Mir had a tough qualifying phase on his Suzuki as he finished 14th after a crash in the final practice session.
The first eight rounds of the successful COVID-19 season produced six different winners, with Quartararo winning the first two races in Jerez and the Catalan Grand Prix last month in Barcelona.
Quartararo leads the championship with 108 points – eight ahead of Mir and 18 ahead of Yamaha’s Maverick Vinales.
(Reporting by Hardik Vyas in Bengaluru; Editing by Ken Ferris)