An incredible fast lap awards the Spaniard Pol Espargaro the pole position of the European GP held in Valencia. Yamahas far off the top.
By Daphne Seberich
A wet Ricardo Tormo circuit defined the polesitter of the 2020 MotoGP European Grand Prix. Difficult conditions challenged the drivers to be brave on the brakes and gentle with the throttle to maximize lap times and squeeze everything out of their motorcycles for one flying lap that would assure them the front grid spot. Many frontrunners were outlined from the previous free practice sessions, in particular Miller, Oliveira and Zarco.
Viñales, due to an engine swap, will start from the pit lane tomorrow, 5 seconds after the last driver crossing the line. Nevertheless, Maverick crashed in FP4 and proved not to be at the peak of his shape, falling far behind the top two drivers and his teammate Valentino Rossi, who’s finally back after testing positive for Covid-19.
Oliveira proved right away to have a great qualifying pace on the Ricardo Tormo circuit. Lap after lap he would better his time by half a second during his five attempts. Zarco, Bagnaia and Alex Marquez all tried to steal the top spot from the KTM biker, but their attempts couldn’t push the Portuguese off the throne. The battle to second got messy with Bradl securing his place to access the next qualifying round for most of Q1, but crashing on the last attempt, permitting Avintia driver, Johann Zarco, to beat the German’s time, after a brilliant last sector, where he regained one-tenth of a second on his opponent, to enter Q2.
Morbidelli, Rins and Quartararo challenged each other right away at the start of the second qualifying round, but a surprising Nakagami swept provisional pole. Pramac biker Miller chose to get on track just at the last minutes available, to try and have a drier tarmac for his attempts. His strategy paid off as he secured second place behind the Japanese, even though he almost fell off his Ducati. Unexpectedly, an outstanding lap by KTM driver Pol Espargaro settled the fight for the grid and assured him the front spot for the race. Rins and Nakagami follow in the qualifying ranking to complete the top three.
Who will win the race? Only time will tell, but Suzuki and KTM drivers, including Johann Zarco to the list with his Avintia, are the favorites to take the crown. Yamahas see a tough race ahead with all their drivers at the back of the grid.
This is a crucial race for the championship contenders Mir, Quartararo and Viñales.
Will the Suzuki driver further his lead or can the Yamahas catch up with the Spaniard?
We’ll find out…