Hat-trick hero Bagnaia riding wave of Rossi praise as Texas showdown awaits

By Sports Desk October 02, 2021

All eyes will be on Francesco Bagnaia at the Grand Prix of Americas after the Ducati star claimed his third successive pole position.

Bagnaia became the first Italian rider to clinch a hat-trick of poles since MotoGP great Valentino Rossi in 2009, while he is first Ducati to do so in consecutive events since Jorge Lorenzo in 2018.

The 24-year-old achieved the feat after snapping Honda superstar Marc Marquez's run of seven straight poles at the Grand Prix of Americas in Texas on Saturday.

Bagnaia's last lap of two minutes, 02.781seconds left six-time world champion Marquez in third as Yamaha championship leader Fabio Quartararo earned second spot.

As Bagnaia seeks to become the second Ducati rider to clinch three straight victories along with Casey Stoner (2007 and 2008), Yamaha's Rossi lavished his countryman in praise.

"Pecco is impressive, it's his third consecutive pole position, with an incredible lap," seven-time MotoGP champion Rossi said after qualifying 20th fastest.

"He's in great shape and it's a real pleasure to see him ride. It's really been a long time since I've seen the Ducati ridden so well, so I'm very happy for him."

It is set to be another showdown between Quartararo and Bagnaia, who is 48 points adrift of the Frenchman ahead of Sunday's main race with crucial championship points on the line.

Quartararo is the only MotoGP rider who has collected points in the 14 races held so far in 2021. In fact, he has picked up points in his last 15 races – his best historical run in all categories and the best of any MotoGP rider since Maverick Vinales' 16 between 2020 and 2021.

But Bagnaia said: "I took some risk to do it because this morning I was more in trouble. Then we decided to stop and try to let the bike follow the bumps better. 

"I started getting a better feeling in FP4 and in the Q2 I was able again to have the same feeling. 

"It was easier for me to push more. Then when I saw I was down [faster] in the first sector by two tenths I tried to push more and I'm very happy because we started this weekend a bit in trouble and now we are again on top."

 

Qualifying results

1. Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati) 2:02.781
2. Fabio Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamaha) +0.348secs
3. Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda) +0.428
4. Jorge Martin (Pramac Racing) +0.497
5. Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda) +0.511
6. Johann Zarco (Pramac Racing) +0.598
7. Alex Rins (Suzuki Ecstar) +0.672
8. Joan Mir (Suzuki Ecstar) +0.747
9. Luca Marini (Avintia) +0.765
10. Jack Miller (Ducati) +0.939
11. Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) +1.000
12. Pol Espargaro (Repsol Honda) +1.094

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