Silverstone (United Kingdom) (AFP)
Pol Espargaro had to wait a bit longer for pole position which could revive his disastrous first season with Honda at Silverstone on Saturday.
The Spaniard had the fastest time of 1:58.889 seconds when his compatriot Jorge Martin was credited with an astonishing 1h58 just after qualifying for the British Grand Prix.
As the two riders circled the track making incredulous gestures, it took a few minutes for the timekeepers to realize that the Pramac Ducati rider had cut the chicane on his lap.
This left Italy’s Francesco Bagnaia of the Ducati factory team in second place with 1.58.911. The leader of the French championship Fabio Quartararo completed the first row of the grid for Yamaha.
Martin was fourth after a time earlier. He is joined in the second row by the second Honda Spanish Marc Marquez and the older brother of Pol Aleix Espargaro d’Aprilia.
Valentino Rossi, during his last British Grand Prix, finished eighth and will start from the third row.
Pol Espargaro, who has never won a MotoGP race, moved to Honda this season and had not recorded a pole position or podium in his new team’s first 11 races.
“We were just celebrating like I won the race,” he said.
“For me, it’s more than that. Okay, tomorrow is also the points race, but it’s a big step for me, not just this year but in my whole career, taking pole position is already a winning weekend after this difficult season. “
“I struggled so much. Psychologically, it’s a big bubble of oxygen. Sometimes hard work doesn’t pay off, but in the end it does. “
After two hot summer races in Austria, the cooler weather and the more grippy surface of Silverstone helped Espargaro but caused problems for the other riders in the one-lap ‘attack against the clock’ with new tires. .
“I don’t feel good on the bike,” Quartararo said after battling on the front row. “On the pace, I feel good but the bike shakes everywhere on one lap. We have to see why. “
“I’m in the front row but really not happy because I didn’t feel comfortable on the time trial. “
“But we are quick in the pace and that is the most important. “
Bagnaia, whose consistency has propelled him to second in the championship even though he has yet to win a MotoGP race, echoed that sentiment.
“Qualifying was not easy because on this track we are suffering a bit more with new tires,” he said. “But when I saw that everything was happening to me, I was happy. “
Italy’s Lorenzo Savadori, who tried to get back on his Aprilia on Friday after being operated on for a broken right ankle in early August, has retired for the remainder of the weekend.
Silverstone, one of the longest and fastest circuits on the calendar, was not on the program in 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic but is back this year sold out.
© 2021 AFP