Teruel MotoGP: Nakagami takes maiden pole, points leader Mir 12th

Lewis Duncan
·4-min read
Nakagami takes maiden pole for Teruel GP
Nakagami takes maiden pole for Teruel GP

Takaaki Nakagami claimed an historic maiden MotoGP pole position in a Teruel Grand Prix qualifying in which championship leader Joan Mir was 12th and Andrea Dovizioso only 17th.

Japan has not had a MotoGP polesitter in the premier class since Makoto Tamada in 2004, with Nakagami ending that barren run on his LCR Honda with a 1m46.882s to deliver on the searing pace he has shown all weekend at Aragon.

Nakagami set the benchmark time with a 1m48.139s at the start of Q2, before Yamaha's Maverick Vinales took over with a 1m47.908s.

Suzuki's Alex Rins fired in a 1m47.593s to take a turn on provisional pole, before Nakagami returned to the top of the order with a 1m47.072s.

Having backed out of his first lap as Fabio Quartararo followed him, Mir had his first flying lap cancelled and was 12th at the end of the opening runs.

As the session reached its conclusion, improvements were minimal, with Nakagami making the biggest improvement on his own time.

Nakagami hooked the lap together to produce a 1m46.882s to claim pole to celebrate his new two-year Honda deal signed on Thursday.

The Japanese rider came close to being denied pole by Petronas SRT's Franco Morbidelli, though the Italian missed out by 0.063 seconds in second.

Rins leaped up to third on his final lap, putting him in a strong position to go for back-to-back Aragon wins having won last weekend from 10th.

Nakagami takes maiden pole for Teruel GP
Nakagami takes maiden pole for Teruel GP

Vinales jumped to the head of the second row with his final effort, while Q1 graduate Johann Zarco was fifth and top Ducati runner on a miserable Saturday for the Italian marque.

Zarco did crash at the last corner at the end of the session, which led to a number of yellow flag infringements and subsequent lap cancellations.

SRT's Quartararo missed the yellow flag zone and was sixth on his Yamaha, with Q1 pacesetter Pol Espargaro on the KTM promoted to seventh from ninth after LCR's Cal Crutchlow and Tech3's Miguel Oliveira had their best laps cancelled.

Iker Lecuona was ninth on the sister Tech3 KTM, the rookie also benefitting from late cancellations to be promoted from 11th ahead of team-mate Oliveira.

Alex Marquez equals his best qualifying result of 2020 on his Honda after his best lap, which put him 10th, was cancelled, while Mir had his fastest time deleted and was resigned to 12th with his initial banker of 1m51.670s.

Jack Miller led Q1 after the opening runs and looked set to get a place in Q2, but late improvements for the Espargaro brothers and Zarco pushed him down to 14th.

Aleix Espargaro on the Aprilia held a Q2 place for a few seconds with his 1m47.372s, but was denied by Zarco and will start from 13th.

Improvements for Brad Binder on the KTM and Honda's Stefan Bradl meant Dovizioso was relegated to a equal-worst qualifying result of the season of 17th as his Aragon misery continues.

Francesco Bagnaia on the Pramac GP20 was 18th ahead of works counterpart Danilo Petrucci, with the grid completed by Avintia's Tito Rabat and Bradley Smith on the sister Aprilia.

MotoGP Teruel Grand Prix qualifying results

Pos

Rider

Team

Bike

Gap

1

Takaaki Nakagami

LCR Honda

Honda

1m46.882s

2

Franco Morbidelli

Petronas Yamaha

Yamaha

0.063s

3

Alex Rins

Suzuki

Suzuki

0.273s

4

Maverick Vinales

Yamaha

Yamaha

0.359s

5

Johann Zarco

Avintia Ducati

Ducati

0.415s

6

Fabio Quartararo

Petronas Yamaha

Yamaha

0.444s

7

Cal Crutchlow

LCR Honda

Honda

0.495s

8

Pol Espargaro

KTM

KTM

0.637s

9

Iker Lecuona

Tech3 KTM

KTM

0.739s

10

Miguel Oliveira

Tech3 KTM

KTM

0.872s

11

Alex Marquez

Honda

Honda

1.042s

12

Joan Mir

Suzuki

Suzuki

4.788s

13

Aleix Espargaro

Aprilia

Aprilia

0.490s

14

Jack Miller

Pramac Ducati

Ducati

0.512s

15

Brad Binder

KTM

KTM

0.596s

16

Stefan Bradl

Honda

Honda

0.703s

17

Andrea Dovizioso

Ducati

Ducati

0.865s

18

Francesco Bagnaia

Pramac Ducati

Ducati

0.877s

19

Danilo Petrucci

Ducati

Ducati

0.973s

20

Tito Rabat

Avintia Ducati

Ducati

1.232s

21

Bradley Smith

Aprilia

Aprilia

1.520s


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