Bagnaia returns to teach his teaching in one lap

Francesco Bagnaia celebrates his pole at Le Mans. / JEAN-FRANCOIS MONIER / AFP

French GP

The Italian signed his second consecutive pole position in Le Mans with a record time and challenges the dominator in France, the leader Fabio Quartararo

Everything that happened at the Le Mans circuit during the two days of testing could come to nothing if the weather forecasts are right and the rain visits the French track this Sunday, something not uncommon. In fact, the last two MotoGP races were held in those conditions. But in the meantime, the tests left several details. The first, that of the exhibition in terms of pace by Fabio Quartararo, whose only hindrance will be the position on the grid.

“I know that my ideal time was better, but I am so much at the limit that in one lap I have to make some mistakes, it is normal. Regarding the race pace, I know that we have something else, and above all that we have the opportunity to fight for victory", corroborated the Yamaha rider after signing the fourth fastest time, which even left him out of the front row where he They placed, in reverse order, Aleix Espargaró, Jack Miller and Pecco Bagnaia. Espargaró again showing why he is where he is in the general standings; Miller marking his time at the wheel of his partner, Bagnaia, who, like in Jerez, set a record lap on a day in which the pilots dedicated themselves to pulverizing the stopwatch.

Already on Friday afternoon Enea Bastianini had set a record better than the absolute record that had been in the hands of Johann Zarco since 2018: a 1'31.148 compared to that 1'31.185. A pole, that of the Frenchman, while the Italian had been a simple fast lap in free practice. This Saturday the bar was raised: precisely Zarco lowered the limit to 1'30.537, a brutal bite, with eight other riders also improving what Bastianini set on Friday. In the official Bagnaia he finished the job: 1'30.450.

"It wasn't a perfect lap like the one in Jerez, but I'm very happy," said the Italian from Ducati, who preferred to keep the sensations that his bike had left him with, good enough to believe in his chances of being able to beat again to the favorite Quartararo. "If Fabio was much faster before, I think we are closer now," he acknowledged, after some changes made to his bike that he hopes to be able to take advantage of especially when the tires begin to lose performance, in a race scheduled for 27 laps.

«We will see what the weather conditions are, because it looks like everything can be very changeable. I wish and hope that it doesn't rain, because we really have a good pace to fight ahead”, said Aleix Espargaró, before the opportunity to fight for a podium again. Joan Mir and Álex Rins, involuntary protagonists of the weekend due to the announcement of Suzuki's abandonment, will start seventh and eighth, respectively, with Jorge Martín ninth, while Marc Márquez had to settle for tenth position, again having to resort to the references of his rivals, Quartararo in the morning and Mir in the afternoon.

Marquez resigns

"History will not change much, although it is true that with rain the whole range opens up, of being able to do a race, also of falling, of taking more risks or even suffering," explained the six-time MotoGP champion, asked if In this situation, a more uncontrolled scenario could be appropriate. “A long race in the water is very uncomfortable, but if we think about a dry race with a good start, I think we can be fifth, sixth or seventh. Finishing later would be a gift », he predicted.

And it is that, and as has been previously mentioned, in the pits it is considered very likely that the water will become the protagonist of the day. Something that would not do Pedro Acosta very well, who finally really stuck his head out to sign his first pole position in Moto2, a position that gives him air to fight for everything in the race and thus debut his record in the category. “It seems that we have arrived in this race, but we have been arriving in each race. In Qatar, despite the bad start, I went back to 12th, in Indonesia I was ninth after a penalty, in Argentina I started seventeenth and finished seventh, Austin was ahead after starting tenth and although we crashed, we were there, which was the important thing... In Jerez I was ahead, even starting tenth I was coming back and after the crash we were fast. It has not been a thing from Jerez to here, but rather a process that has taken us longer than we would have liked, but in the end we have arrived”, concluded the Murcian.

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