Tuscany [Italy], May 28 (ANI): Gresini Racing Moto GP rider Fabio Di Giannantonio had the first premier class pole position of his career after a dream Q2 session for the home fans at the Gran Premio d'Italia Oakley.
Di Giannantonio set a 1:46.156 with the chequered flag out to head up a front row which is comprised of three Italians from two Italian teams, riding Ducati's Bologna bullets. Marco Bezzecchi was second-fastest and fellow Mooney VR46 Racing Team rider took third on the starting grid at the Autodromo Internazionale del Mugello.
Prima Pramac Racing's Johann Zarco qualified fourth, one spot ahead of the Ducati Lenovo Team's Francesco Bagnaia. Best of those not riding a Ducati was Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP's Fabio Quartararo, the World Championship leader taking sixth on the starting grid.
Indian fans can catch all the action from MOTOGP 2022- Gran Premiod'Italia Oakley Main Race which will be live on Eurosport on Sunday, 29th May, 2022. The Eurosport channel can now be streamed on the discovery+ app.
Di Giannantonio came through Q1, when the arrival of light rain spiced up proceedings, but it was clear by the end of that session that slick Michelin tyres had to be the choice for Q2 despite persistent showers. That meant the battle for pole would be less about strategy and more about a straight fight to set the quickest pace in the hills of Tuscany.
After a red flag interruption for a nasty Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) crash, Di Giannantonio kicked things off with a 1:49.124, then moved the marker to a 1:47.163 and a 1:46.607 on his following laps. The Gresini rider continued to be the pace-setter until Zarco put in a 1:46.875, but that time would not stack up as the pace continued to hot up.
Bezzecchi got in a 1:46.616, then Bagnaia a 1:46.471 and Di Giannantonio a 1:46.410 just before the chequered flag, although Zarco was not done yet. The Frenchman clocked a 1:46.383 to go to provisional pole, before it looked like being a VR46 one-two when Bezzecchi set a 1:46.244 and team-mate Luca Marini moved his time to a 1:46.327. The dream scenario did not quite come to pass when Di Giannantonio subsequently found even more time, but VR46 still has a double front row start in the hours after Valentino Rossi's famous #46 was officially retired.
Zarco was therefore shuffled back to fourth and Bagnaia to fifth, while Quartararo lifted after the chequered flag with a 1:46.471 to take sixth, a commendable achievement for a YZR-M1 rider against the Desmosedicis which are virtually made for the long pit straight at Mugello. Aprilia Racing's Aleix Espargaro claimed seventh, although he looked far from pleased with that outcome when he got back to his box after the session.
Joining him on Row 3 will be Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda Idemitsu) and Pol Espargaro (Repsol Honda Team), while Enea Bastianini (Gresini Racing MotoGP™) rounds out the top 10 on yet another Ducati. Jorge Martin (Prima Pramac Racing) qualified 11th-fastest but is set to start 14th as a result of a grid penalty for irresponsible riding in FP3.
Q2 was red flagged barely more than a minute in as a result of a scary crash for Marquez at Turn 2. Despite having some knowledge of the conditions due to riding in Q1, the Spaniard highsided on his first lap out of the pits, virtually tearing the front wheel off his RC213V. Marquez was able to walk away but his bike caught fire and fluid spilt onto the track, necessitating a stoppage so that the surface could be cleaned up.
He would later get back out on his second bike and set a personal-best lap time of 1:47.468, but will start 11th due to Martin's penalty. The Ducati Lenovo Team's Jack Miller similarly moves up to 12th on the grid, despite missing out on advancing from Q1. (ANI)