Bagnaia bags third straight MotoGP pole at Austin GP

Ducati Lenovo Team's Francesco Bagnaia celebrates winning the San Marino Grand Prix in Misano, Italy September 19, 2021.  — Reuters pic
Ducati Lenovo Team's Francesco Bagnaia celebrates winning the San Marino Grand Prix in Misano, Italy September 19, 2021. — Reuters pic

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AUSTIN, Oct 3 — Ducati’s Francesco Bagnaia ended Marc Marquez’s run of seven straight poles at the Grand Prix of Americas on Saturday as he topped qualifying and sealed a third consecutive pole this MotoGP season.

Bagnaia’s last lap of two minutes 02.781 seconds was just enough to push six-times world champion Marquez into third, with world championship leader Fabio Quartararo of Yamaha taking second place.

“We worked a lot this week. I really enjoy qualifying... I gave it my all in the second attempt, the last corner was a bit wide, but very happy,” said Bagnaia, who trails Quartararo by 48 points in the race for the championship.

Quartararo said: “We are struggling a little more than usual in qualifying. Pecco (Bagnaia) was really fast but it is always great to start in the first row. Let’s see what we can do tomorrow.”

Rookie Jorge Martin of Pramac Ducati will start fourth ahead of LCR Honda’s Takaaki Nakagami, while Bagnaia’s team mate Jack Miller, despite being fast all weekend, could only manage 10th.

A number of riders, including former world champion Valentino Rossi, crashed during qualifying following concerns this week that the Circuit of the Americas in Texas was too bumpy, with Quartararo calling it “a joke” and “unsafe”.

Reigning world champion Joan Mir on Friday said that he would take up the matter with MotoGP’s Safety Commission and try to find a solution.

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