Bastianini on pole after Portimao MotoGP qualifying thriller


Ducati MotoGP rider Enea Bastianini took pole position for the Portuguese Grand Prix in an absolute nail-biter of a qualifying session at Portimao.

Uncharacteristically, Bastianini has thrived over a single lap but lacked race pace so far at Portimao – and that balance has translated into his second career pole.

It comes at the track where last year a crash with Luca Marini effectively ruined his season by leaving him with a shoulder blade fracture.

A last-gasp effort from Aprilia’s Maverick Vinales came up 0.082s short of denying Bastianini but still granted Vinales a place in the middle of the second row.

Vinales has struggled with gastroenteritis during the weekend, but was the only Aprilia rider in Q2.

Pramac Ducati rider Jorge Martin completed the front row, ahead of his 2024 title rival Pecco Bagnaia.

Bagnaia led the way after the opening runs in Q2 but could only manage a marginal improvement on his second soft rear tyre.

Joining him on row two will be his former Ducati team-mate Jack Miller, now at KTM, and his good friend Marco Bezzecchi (VR46 Ducati).

Rookie Pedro Acosta fought through Q1 alongside Alex Marquez before placing seventh in qualifying, 0.009s ahead of Marc Marquez.

The elder Marquez was compromised by a fast crash in the downhill Turn 15 right-hander on his first run, having looked like a potential pole contender for much of the weekend.

Fabio Quartararo led the way for the series’ Japanese manufacturer contingent in ninth, 0.616s off pole.

He was followed by KTM’s Brad Binder – who, like Marquez, was badly hindered by a Q2 crash – and Yamaha team-mate Alex Rins.

Alex Marquez completed the Q2 order in 12th, having failed to get a representative lap in.

Vinales’ works Aprilia team-mate Aleix Espargaro was the fastest of those riders eliminated in the first qualifying segment, but was still over two tenths off advancing.

He will head row five over VR46 Ducati’s Fabio Di Giannantonio, whose underwhelming weekend continued, and RNF Aprilia’s home hero Miguel Oliveira.

It was a truly dreadful showing from Honda, at a track that had been tipped to suit it better than the Lusail circuit that had hosted the opener.

LCR’s Johann Zarco headed the intra-Honda battle by 0.021s over works rider Joan Mir, but was still over nine tenths off even advancing into Q2 – with only Tech3 Gas Gas sophomore Augusto Fernandez anywhere near within reach for the Honda quartet (who slotted in from 19th to 22nd).





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