Marquez smashes lap record to take Mugello Pole

by Joshua Close
Marquez takes pole at Mugello

Marc Marquez used the inviting tow of Andrea Dovizioso to smash the lap record and take pole at Mugello.

The reigning champion didn’t look comfortable throughout the session but was in the right place at the right time on his final lap. The Spaniard slotted in behind Dovizioso and was towed down the final straight, posting a 1:45.519 – a new record.

Today’s pole edges Marquez closer to the all-time MotoGP pole position record, currently held by Mick Doohan. In addition to taking pole at Le Mans, he is now only two behind the Australian.

Fabio Quartararo joins Marquez on the front row. The young Frenchman became the first rider to dip into the 1:45 lap-times and therefore looked unbeatable for the majority of the session. Danilo Petrucci completes the front-row on the Ducati.

Franco Morbidelli heads row-two on the Petronas Yamaha, lining up alongside Jack Miller and Cal Crutchlow. Maverick Viñales had a relatively quiet session and will begin the race in seventh. Francesco Bagnaia and Dovizioso join him on row three.

Takaaki Nakagami completes the top 10. He is joined on the fourth row by Pol Espargaro and wildcard Michele Pirro on the Ducati.

Valentino Rossi’s homecoming was one to forget, with the fan favourite qualifying in 18th. Suzuki’s qualifying woes continued, with Alex Rins down in 13th and Joan Mir in 20th.

Qualifying 1 – The Pirro Factor

At the beginning of Qualifying 1 Pirro set his quickest lap of the weekend to go straight to the top. Meanwhile, Dovizioso’s first flying lap only put him third.

The danger for Ducati was that Pirro had taken a spot away from Dovizioso. Therefore, the team reacted by keeping Pirro in the garage in the second half of the session.

Dovizioso felt the pressure and bailed on his next flying lap. However, he would battle back and go quickest as the flag came out. Pirro joined him in Qualifying 2.

Many big names missed the cut, including Rins, Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo. Other riders who failed to make it through include: Tito Rabat, Aleix Espargaro, Karel Abraham, Johann Zarco, Hafizh Syahrin, Miguel Oliveira and Andrea Iannone

Qualifying 2 – Marquez Masterclass

Several riders bunched together at the beginning of Qualifying 2. In fact, Marquez and Dovizioso almost came too close to one another, with Marquez squeezing down the inside of his title rival. The championship leader would still set the early benchmark.

Quartararo stayed clear of any traffic and, as a result, made history on his first flying lap. The rookie became the first rider to post a 1:55 lap-time at Mugello – with a 1:45.992. He went even faster on his next lap too.

The field were slow to return to the circuit for their second runs, with everybody seeking the perfect towing opportunity.

Miller and Petrucci were quick in the first two sectors, losing time in the second half of the lap. Morbidelli popped up into third in the dying seconds, only to lose out to Petrucci.

Meanwhile, Marquez tucked in behind Dovizioso perfectly. At the final corner he was in the best position for a tow and smashed the lap record as a result.

Tomorrow’s race will begin at 13:00.

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