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

Maverick Vinales is full of confidence after putting his disastrous German Grand Prix showing behind him to claim pole position for Sunday's Dutch TT.

The Monster Energy Yamaha rider finished last at Sachsenring last week, but stuck with the same bike at Assen and dominated qualifying on Saturday.

Vinales topped FP1, FP1 and FP3 before setting a new lap record of 1:31.814 seconds in qualifying, the 26-year-old finishing 0.071s ahead of team-mate Fabio Quartararo.

It was the perfect response on the back of last week's calamity, but Vinales insists the dominant showing at Assen should not come as a surprise.

"Honestly this should be the norm all weekends," he said. "I think we have a good level, our confidence is high.

"I have a really high confidence in what we are able to do but just we didn't find the way to do it before.

"This weekend we didn't touch anything. I said, 'don't touch the bike, it's perfect'. And working on that, it was good, I'm quite happy and now we'll see.

"Tomorrow we have a good chance, we will push at the maximum. For me the result isn't important – for me it's important to give the maximum from one to lap 25."

Ducati's Francesco Bagnaia will join Yamaha pair Vinales and Quartararo on the front row for Sunday's race, while Takaaki Nakagami and Johann Zarco are on row two.

Quartararo tops the riders' standings and has a 22-point lead on Johann Zarco, but the Frenchman accepts he faces a tough task overhauling Vinales on Sunday.

"I think with Maverick we need to be clever, because it's true that on the paper we have really good pace," he said.

"So, I think if we need to play something in my opinion it's great to be clever on the first lap and see at the end.

"But it will depend. I feel great to fight for the victory. It's not that because my main contenders are behind me that I need to be careful.

"For me, it’s the beginning of the championship, we are not even in the middle. So, if I have one chance to fight for the victory I will go for it."

Marc Marquez came out on top in Germany last week, but he will start from 20th in Sunday's 26-lap Dutch TT after crashing in qualifying.

The Repsol Honda rider was flung from his RC213V early on in Friday's FP2 session and admits that accident affected him the following day.

"It's true that today I started the morning and the first thing was I was like, 'OK, it will be impossible to ride the bike' because after the crash from yesterday I had a lot of pain," he said.

"Then it was very difficult. This was in the morning, then in the afternoon step by step I felt better, and this makes me happy because it looks like now if it's in a better way.

"But it's true that the crash from yesterday affected me a lot today."

Provisional classification

1. Maverick Vinales (Monster Energy Yamaha) 1:31.814
2. Fabio Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamaha) +0.071s
3. Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati) +0.302s
4. Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda) +0.500s
5. Johann Zarco (Pramac Racing) +0.580s
6. Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM) +0.636s
7. Alex Rins (Suzuki Ecstar) +0.783s
8. Jack Miller (Ducati) +0.795s
9. Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia) +0.852s
10. Joan Mir (Suzuki Ecstar) +0.934s
11. Pol Espargaro (Repsol Honda) +1.016s
12. Valentino Rossi (Petronas Yamaha) +1.105

Marc Marquez dedicated his German Grand Prix victory to all those who had helped him during his recovery from a broken arm.

Six-time MotoGP champion Marquez sustained the injury following an accident in the opening race to the 2020 season in Jerez, before then suffering a further setback when a plate inserted into his fractured humerus became damaged.

After sitting out all of last year and then also the opening two rounds of the 2021 campaign, the Spaniard finished seventh and ninth upon his return before enduring three successive retirements, leaving him short of form and way down the list in the standings.

However, a visit to Sachsenring saw Marquez rediscover his best form as he completed an 11th successive win at the track, with this latest triumph his eighth in a row in the top category.

There were understandably emotional scenes after he crossed the finishing line as he not only ended his own personal drought but also the long wait for success for his team, Honda having not prevailed at a race since Valencia in 2019.

"It's true that it was, and still is, a hard time in my career, so this victory helps a lot," said Marquez, who appeared in tears on the track before joining in emotional celebrations with his team ahead of the presentation ceremony.

"When you are in a hard situation, when you have had three crashes in a row, it's not easy mentally or physically. But when I crossed the line I thought of all the people who had helped me be there, because in such a situation it is impossible to do it alone.

"You need the team, the doctors, the physios, the manager, your family and friends, everybody that helps you. They were helping me a lot, and have helped me a lot to come back.

"Today is a time to enjoy and say thanks to all of them, specifically Honda. The respect they gave me during all of this year was something I appreciated a lot. 

"This will be a great and important victory for me, but also for the Honda family."

Honda have won 17 of the past 23 MotoGP races at Sachsenring, with Marquez's latest victory making it 11 in succession at the venue.

Marquez moves up to 10th in the championship standings as Frenchman Fabio Quartararo leads the way, his advantage over compatriot Johann Zarco extended to 22 points thanks to securing third place in Germany.

"I knew we were going to struggle, turns six and seven we were extremely slow," Quartararo, who had started the race from sixth position after a difficult qualifying session, said in his news conference.

"On other parts of the track we were okay, but this corner where we stayed a long time on the angle we struggled a lot.

"It was quite clear with the team this morning. We said that we had good pace, but to fight for the victory looks difficult.

"The goal was trying to finish in front of the Ducati and finish on the podium, so we achieved that."

Marc Marquez claimed his first race win since returning from injury as he ended Honda's MotoGP drought with a dazzling ride at the German Grand Prix.

A six-time world champion who missed nearly all of the 2020 season – as well as the start of this year's campaign – due to a broken right arm, Marquez had failed to finish in his three previous races, a career first. 

However, the Spaniard clearly felt right at home around a Sachsenring track where he had won his previous 10 outings, including seven in a row in the top category between 2013 and 2019.

Further success on German soil appeared a tall order considering both his form and also his starting position following qualifying, yet Marquez burst off the line to go from fifth to second in a flash and was out in front by the end of lap one.

It was a lead he retained for the remainder of the race to become just the second rider ever to take eight consecutive premier class wins at the same circuit.

Aleix Espargaro put the early pressure on as pole-sitter Johann Zarco slipped back, though the former's challenge faded as the laps ticked by.

Instead it was Miguel Oliveira – winner of the Catalan Grand Prix last time out – who headed the chasing pack, the Portuguese getting inside a second of the frontrunner at one stage, but Marquez remained calm under pressure and was even able to pull away in the closing laps.

His victory means Honda have now won 17 of the 23 MotoGP races at the venue, though this is the first triumph for the manufacturer since the 2019 Valencia Grand Prix, a barren run of 21 outings – the worst in their history – that is finally over.

Emotions were understandably high at the result. There were tears on the track and in the garage, while Marquez dropped to his knees after dismounting his bike and looked skywards appearing to offer a prayer.

As for the championship standings, leader Fabio Quartararo extended his lead thanks to a third-place finish. The Frenchman is now 22 points clear of compatriot Zarco, while Jack Miller sits a further nine back in third place.

Fabio Quartararo does not consider himself the favourite at the German Grand Prix after his run of poles ended as he qualified in second on Saturday.

MotoGP world championship leader Quartararo was pipped by 0.011 seconds as Johann Zarco secured his place at the front of the grid.

That denied the Monster Energy Yamaha star a sixth consecutive pole position, with Marc Marquez (seven between 2013 and 2014) the last rider to enjoy such a streak.

Quartararo will still be expected to challenge for the victory on Sunday, though, having tied his career best with three top-category wins already this season.

The 22-year-old crashed out of his only previous appearance at the German GP in 2019 but is enjoying a run of eight races without a retirement.

But when asked about his chances, Quartararo instead backed Miguel Oliveira and said: "I think we will struggle a bit."

Oliveira, who qualified in sixth, just behind Marc Marquez, won the Catalan Grand Prix last time out for his second consecutive podium for the first time.

Quartararo added: "We are not feeling so great on that track. We can see the others struggling also quite a lot.

"But I give 100 per cent and I'm happy because it's not that far from pole position. Our pace is not that bad, so I will give my all tomorrow."

Zarco is still waiting on his first MotoGP win despite 11 podiums – including four this year.

He also discussed the difficulty of the circuit at the Sachsenring, having crashed in Q2 after setting his fastest lap.

"I'm all fine and pretty happy," Zarco said. "The emotion was particular, with the pole but then the crash.

"You have so much adrenaline in the body that then I need a bit of time to bring everything down to get my spirit clean. I'm okay now and pretty happy, because it will be important to start in pole tomorrow.

"It's a difficult track, but I'm finding the confidence on it and I hope tomorrow to get also this pleasure for all the race to play with the others and get a nice rhythm."

Marquez has won on all seven of his previous appearances in Germany, but he also started from pole on each occasion.

"I cannot pretend tomorrow to fight for the victory, because we are not ready," he said. "But to finish in the top five can be an optimistic and realistic result."


Provisional classification

1. Johann Zarco (Pramac Racing) 1:20.236
2. Fabio Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamaha) +0.011s
3. Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia) +0.211s
4. Jack Miller (Ducati) +0.272s
5. Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda) +0.331s
6. Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM) +0.353s
7. Jorge Martin (Pramac Racing) +0.381s
8. Pol Espargaro (Repsol Honda) +0.423s
9. Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda) +0.574s
10. Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati) +0.575s
11. Alex Rins (Suzuki Ecstar) +0.713s
12. Alex Marquez (LCR Honda) +0.899s

Fabio Quartararo was left baffled as to why his leather race suit split open as he slipped from pole position to a fourth-place finish at the Catalan Grand Prix.

MotoGP championship leader Quartararo was aiming to seal back-to-back wins in Barcelona following his triumph on the circuit in 2020, but the Monster Energy Yahama driver slipped up early on and failed to finish on the podium.

Miguel Oliveira got Red Bull KTM's first win of the season, and the third race victory of his career, with Johann Zarco and Jack Miller completing the top three.

Quartararo was second until the final three laps, when Zarco made a daring overtake and caught the Frenchman out.

To complicate matters, Quartararo's suit had opened, with the 22-year-old's chest protector also slipping out.

He cut two corners as he battled with Miller for third, and was handed a three second penalty which cost him a third straight podium position at the Catalan Grand Prix.

"What happened I don’t know, I just know that I had the leathers completely open," he explained to reporters.

"I tried to just put it in a normal position again, I couldn't do it. So was difficult to ride, but unfortunately, it happens.

"It happened today, so Alpinestars is looking at how it's possible because at the end of the race it was possible to close it again.

"But it's like this, it was not our day but I can be happy with this fourth position… well, third, but finishing fourth."

Former MotoGP champion Casey Stoner tweeted his thoughts on the incident, insisting Quartararo should have been disqualified from the race.

"Well, I think I already have a penalty that I don't agree [with], demoted three seconds from P3 to P4," Quartararo said when Stoner's comments were put to him.

"I think this penalty is quite enough. It's finished, the race is finished, everything is safe.

"So, I think right now it's not enough to talk anymore because the race is finished. I think there's no point to talk anymore about these possible things."

It was a race which belonged to Oliveira, with the Portuguese rider holding the lead for 23 laps.

"The most difficult thing about the race was the mental ability to stay calm, it was so easy to be aggressive or to just override the tires at the beginning," he said in a news conference.

"I felt like that was the key, stay calm and the race will come to me."

Elsewhere in a frantic race, six-time MotoGP champion Marc Marquez crashed out on Turn 10, which also claimed Valentino Rossi and Aleix Espargaro.

Marquez has now failed to finish the last three races, a career first for the 28-year-old.

Marc Marquez did not finish a MotoGP race for the third straight time, a career first, as Miguel Oliveira triumphed at the Catalan Grand Prix.

Six-time MotoGP champion Marquez has not had the best of luck since returning from an injury that kept him out for the majority of 2020 and, after crashing in the Italian Grand Prix last week, the Spaniard suffered a similar fate on Sunday.

Marquez, aiming for a fifth consecutive podium finish in his home grand prix, spun out of control at turn 10, shortly after Danilo Petrucci and Pol Espargaro had crashed out, with Aleix Espargaro soon joining his younger sibling.

Aleix Espargaro, sixth at the time, fell foul of the same corner that did for Marquez, who desperately tried to right his bike but was swiftly ushered away by track emergency staff as he followed up retirements in France and Italy.

Turn 10 subsequently claimed another big name, Valentino Rossi, who managed his best finish of the season at the Italian Grand Prix (10th) but ended up skidding off the track here.

Yet up ahead, it was a demonstration of complete control from Oliveira (Red Bull KTM), who led for 23 laps in total after capitalising on a mistake from early front-runner Jack Miller.

The Australian had himself pounced on an error by championship leader Fabio Quartararo, who had claimed his fifth consecutive pole and was aiming for a career-first fourth win of a single season.

Yet despite fighting back to close the gap on Oliveira, Quartararo could not win in Barcelona as he did in 2020, and ultimately had to settle for fourth place, missing out on a third straight podium finish at the circuit.

Johann Zarco's daring overtake with three laps to go did the initial damage for Quartararo, who lost part of his protective leathers as he attempted to hold off Miller's challenge for third, but the Monster Energy Yamaha driver was handed a three second penalty.

It is Miller's first appearance on the Barcelona podium in seven attempts in MotoGP, while Zarco has surpassed his previous best tally of three top-three finishes in a single season.

Yet the day belonged to Oliveira, the Portuguese rider holding steady to clinch a third MotoGP race win.

TOP 10
1. Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM)
2. Johann Zarco (Pramac Racing) +0.175
3. Jack Miller (Ducati) +1.990s
4. Fabio Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamaha) +4.815s
5. Joan Mir (Suzuki Ecstar) +5.325s
6. Maverick Vinales (Monster Energy Yamaha) +6.281s
7. Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati) +8.175s
8. Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM) +8.378s
9. Franco Morbidelli (Petronas Yamaha) +15.652s
10. Enea Bastianini (Reale Avintia Racing) +19.297s

CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS

Riders

1. Fabio Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamaha) 118
2. Johann Zarco (Pramac Racing) 101
3. Jack Miller (Ducati) 90
4. Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati) 88
5. Joan Mir (Suzuki Ecstar) 76

Teams
1. Monster Energy Yamaha 192
2. Ducati 178
3. Pramac Racing 124
4. Suzuki Ecstar 99
5. Red Bull KTM 97

What's next?

The MotoGP schedule takes in Germany, with Chemnitz's Sachsenring hosting the German Grand Prix in two weeks' time.

Fabio Quartararo claimed his fifth consecutive pole position on Saturday and revealed he is preferring qualifying sessions to races right now, even as he leads the MotoGP world championship.

Having won three of the first six events this season – including the Italian Grand Prix last time out – Quartararo is 24 points clear at the top of the standings. He has never won more than three races in a campaign in the top category.

But the Monster Energy Yamaha sensation is arguably reserving his best displays for Saturdays.

After another outstanding performance in qualifying at the Catalunya Grand Prix, Quartararo will again line up on the front row.

This career-best run of poles means the Frenchman becomes the 15th rider to reach 15 in the premier class and he is well placed to repeat his impressive past race performances in Barcelona.

Quartararo's first ever podium came at the event in 2019, while he won in 2020.

Yet even another victory might not be as enjoyable as the qualifying session in which he bettered Jack Miller with a time of a minute and 38.853 seconds. He had remarkably already lapped in under 1:40 seven times in FP4.

"Qualifying is the best thing to do on a race weekend," he said. "I enjoy it much more than the race because you push yourself to the limit."

Quartararo even felt he could have performed better as he took pole, although his level of performance on both medium and hard tyres means there is a decision still to make on Sunday.

Jorge Lorenzo, in 2012 and 2013, was the last man to celebrate back-to-back Catalunya GP wins.

"The pace was great, medium and hard," Quartararo said. "The qualifying was great and I did a great first run. But actually, my lap was not that perfect.

"I thought I could improve a little bit more and on my second run I prepared really well the rear tyre, but I went on the yellow flag in sector three.

"But the most important thing is we're on the front row, P1. I'm so happy to see the fans back and I think it's giving a boost for everyone."

The previous rider to have five successive poles was Marc Marquez, with seven across 2013 and 2014.

But the six-time MotoGP champion failed to even make Q2 on Saturday and explained that a circuit where he has four podiums in a row is not suited to his Repsol Honda.

"Our weak point is the traction, and at this circuit, if you don't have the traction, it's impossible to be fast," said Marquez, who is aiming to avoid three straight retirements for the first time in his top category career.

"At the other circuits, you can brake later, stop, go, pick up. But here, at Turn 2, Turn 3, Turn 4, if you don't have the grip, it's impossible.

"Even in '19, when I was in a sweet moment, I was struggling here. Okay, you can say, 'You win the race', but I won the race because there was a strike in Turn 10. If not, I wasn't able to win the race.

"But anyway, let's see if tomorrow we can finish the race and continue this calendar."


Provisional classification

1. Fabio Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamaha) 1:38.853
2. Jack Miller (Ducati) +0.037s
3. Johann Zarco (Pramac Racing) +0.196s
4. Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM) +0.246s
5. Franco Morbidelli (Petronas Yamaha) +0.256s
6. Maverick Vinales (Monster Energy Yamaha) +0.304s
7. Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia) +0.365s
8. Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM) +0.490s
9. Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati) +0.506s
10. Joan Mir (Suzuki Ecstar) +0.578s
11. Valentino Rossi (Petronas Yamaha) +0.752s
12. Pol Espargaro (Repsol Honda) +2.938s

Fabio Quartararo acknowledged his win at Sunday's Italian Grand Prix did not leave him with a "great feeling" following the death of Moto3 rider Jason Dupasquier.

Swiss rider Dupasquier, 19, was struck by another bike after falling and slid along the track at Mugello in qualifying on Saturday. 

It was announced before Sunday's MotoGP race that he had died in hospital from his injuries. 

Quartararo became the first rider to win in Mugello after starting from pole position since 2014, extending his lead over Johann Zarco at the top of the championship standings to 24 points with five races completed. 

Quartararo was in no mood to celebrate, though, the 22-year-old revealing he thought about Dupasquier every time he went past the part of the course where the fatal incident happened. 

"Strange, strange day," Quartararo told reporters. "Honestly, there were a lot of emotions before starting the race.

"I get emotional really fast in every condition, so to start the race during that one minute of silence was really difficult and every time I crossed turn nine, I was thinking about Jason.

"This one is for him. It's not a great feeling. You achieve a win, but we lose one of our friends. So, it's not easy."

Meanwhile, Marc Marquez's hopes of securing a strong result in his fourth race since returning from a broken arm were ended at turn three on the second lap when he made contact with Brad Binder.

Marquez accepted responsbility for his early exit and said he is looking forward to getting his season back on track at the Barcelona-Catalunya circuit next weekend.

"If someone is to blame it is me because he was coming from behind," he told DAZN. "I tried to overtake him on turn two. Several riders from the lane have fallen in that chicane.

"I was going to one side and he was coming to the other and he closed in front of me. Fortunately, I fell by myself.

"We have taken a little step this weekend. We have understood several things and we are lucky that next week we will be running again. I have not completed 23 laps at Mugello and I want to see if I can continue with my progression."

Marc Marquez crashed out on the second lap as championship leader Fabio Quartararo claimed a third MotoGP victory of the season at the Italian Grand Prix on Sunday. 

In a race overshadowed by the death of Moto3 rider Jason Dupasquier after a crash in qualifying on Saturday, Quartararo became the first rider to win in Mugello after starting from pole position since 2014. 

Meanwhile, Marquez's hopes of securing a strong result in his fourth race since returning from a broken arm were ended at turn three on the second lap when he made contact with Brad Binder.

Quartararo started from his fourth consecutive pole, but he was usurped by Francesco Bagnaia almost immediately. 

Ducati rider Bagnaia fell from the front on just the second lap, though, handing the advantage back to Quartararo, who fought off the threat of fellow Frenchman Johann Zarco to seal a third win in six races.

This latest victory extended his lead at the head of the standings to 24 points over Zarco, who was leapfrogged by Miguel Oliveria into second with eight laps remaining, with Joan Mir pushing him off the podium soon after. 

Alex Rins pushed Zarco further down the standings, but he was denied a push at a podium place when he crashed on the final corner. 

Oliveira beat Mir to the line for second, although the Portuguese rider was initially demoted to third for exceeding track limits on the final lap. It later transpired Mir had also committed the same offence and they were returned to their original positions. 


TOP 10
1. Fabio Quartararo (Monster Yamaha)
2. Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM) +2.592s
3. Joan Mir (Suzuki Ecstar) +3.000s
4. Johann Zarco (Pramac Ducati) +3.535s
5. Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM) +4.903s
6. Jack Miller (Ducati Team) +6.233s
7. Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Gresini) +8.030s
8. Maverick Vinales (Monster Yamaha) +17.239s
9. Danilo Petrucci (KTM Tech3) +23.296s
10. Valentino Rossi (Petronas Yamaha) +25.146s

CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS

Riders

1. Fabio Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamaha) 105
2. Johann Zarco (Pramac Racing) 81
3. Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati Lenevo) 79
4. Jack Miller (Ducati Lenevo) 74
5. Joan Mir (Suzuki Ecstar) 65

Teams

1. Monster Energy Yamaha 169
2. Ducati 153
3. Pramac Racing 102
4. Suzuki Ecstar 88
5. KTM Factory Racing 64

What's next?

The Barcelona-Catalunya circuit plays host to the next race in the championship next weekend, with Quartararo looking for a repeat performance of his win there last year. 

Marc Marquez apologised to Maverick Vinales for his persistent towing at the Italian Grand Prix as Fabio Quartararo secured a fourth consecutive pole position in style. 

Vinales was visibly frustrated after Marquez followed him out of the pits for the final Q1 run and stuck with him when he abandoned his out-lap. 

After moving ahead of Vinales in the pit lane Marquez then dropped back in behind him for their flying lap knowing the Monster Yahama rider could not pull in again. 

It worked perfectly for Marquez, who pulled to the top of the timesheets ahead of Vinales with only a lap to go.

Vinales, meanwhile, was pushed down to third by Aleix Espargaro, leaving him 13th on the grid and out of Q2.

Marquez, who will start Sunday's Grand Prix from 11th, apologised to Vinales but insisted what he did was in the rules. 

"We checked the list, the fastest guy was Vinales, so we chose him because he was the fastest guy [not to get into Q2 directly], but if it was another one [faster] we would choose another one," the six-time world champion said. 

"And then just I followed him, it was the tactic because it was the only way to improve.

"I would like to be in another level and another position to push in front and have the others follow me, like many times in the past. But I'm not like this.

"But I know, because I had that feeling in the past, how Maverick can feel. For that reason, I saw Vinales after the session and we spoke about it and I apologised.

"But in the end, it's inside the rules. In the limit but inside the rules, and what I did was try to find the perfect situation to do my 100 per cent and to take the best result possible."

Vinales' team-mate Quartararo, meanwhile, was in supreme form, sealing another pole position courtesy of a new lap record of one minute and 45.187 seconds. 

Quartararo became the first Yamaha rider to secure pole at Mugello in the premier class since Valentino Rossi, and the 22-year-old hailed his record lap as the best of his life. 

"This was probably the best lap I have ever done in my life," he said. "This is the type of track where you can really feel the adrenaline. I was on the limit everywhere. In the first sector, I was moving all the time, but I just said 'I'm going to send it'. 

"I really wanted to do the fastest lap today, and it worked. I'm actually really looking forward to seeing the onboard lap, because for sure it will look amazing.

"Today was a good day. I really wanted this pole position, because I know it's important for us for the race. I enjoyed that lap."


Provisional classification

1. Fabio Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamaha) 1:45.187
2. Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati Team) +0.230s
3. Johann Zarco (Pramac Ducati) +0.245s
4. Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Gresini) +0.351s
5. Jack Miller (Ducati Team) +0.411s
6. Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM) +0.556s
7. Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM) +0.558s
8. Alex Rins (Suzuki Ecstar) +0.809s
9. Joan Mir (Suzuki Ecstar) +0.889s
10. Franco Morbidelli (Petronas Yamaha) +0.897s
11. Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda) +0.938s
12. Pol Espargaro (Repsol Honda) +1.206s

Marc Marquez had forecast the need to "gamble" on Sunday, but he was angry with his execution after crashing twice at a flag-to-flag French Grand Prix he briefly led.

The Repsol Honda superstar was hoping for a wet race to give him the best chance of a first victory since his injury at Le Mans.

The looming dark clouds delivered early in Sunday's race and Marquez, starting from sixth on the grid, stormed into contention.

Aiming for a fourth French GP win – only he and Valentino Rossi have three MotoGP victories – Marquez emerged from the pit lane in the lead after switching bikes.

That advantage did not last long as a dramatic fall saw the Spaniard flip through the air after flying off the slippery surface.

Yet that was not the crash that upset Marquez, who continued the grand prix and had recovered to reach 11th when he skidded off the track a second time and was ruled out.

"In the rain, I had a better chance of having a good race, but also of crashing," he told Sky Sport. "In the dry, I saw that there was a limit, but after the flag-to-flag I felt good.

"In the first crash, the bike slid a lot. Even with the medium tyre, at the beginning, I had to be a bit calmer, but it can happen.

"Then I got back on the bike and I was running very fast. The second fall is the one that angers me most.

"The first could happen because it was wet, I was warming the tyres... it happened to many riders.

"The second makes me angry because I was pushing too hard even though I was struggling to stay 100 per cent focused on the bike. At that point, I was thinking more about getting back in to put on the dry tyres than about riding.

"That's why it made me angry. There is a risk and I need to manage it better."

Although Marquez shouldered his fair share of blame, he was disenchanted with the performance of his Repsol Honda bike.

He said: "If it is a step back, what can be used to take the races more calmly? If we look at the Honda crashes, it's not just me. All our bikes have crashed.

"We're working on it. It is true that I crashed twice in Jerez, though.

"Here, due to the conditions we had, we had a good weekend, but today was not a good Sunday. Today I was not good, I didn't risk when I had to risk and I risked too much when I didn't have to."

Marquez was not the only former champion to make a costly mistake, with 2020 title-winner Joan Mir unable to finish after his own crash.

The Suzuki Ecstar rider went down approaching the pit lane and then dashed towards his second bike on foot when the damaged first would not restart.

The failure to enter the pit lane with his machine meant Mir was not allowed to continue.

"I don't know what happened honestly," he said. "For my part, I have to say sorry to the team because I made a mistake.

"I saw that the bike was not running and I started to run to the box. I knew I had to come with the bike, but the bike was a bit damaged and I started to run.

"I don't know why, the adrenaline or something. But from this experience I will learn for the future, I will not repeat it, that's for sure."

Victory instead went to Jack Miller for the second race running, his tally of MotoGP wins swelling from one through 102 grands prix to three through 104.

Miller ran off into the gravel at one stage and later had to serve a double long-lap penalty, but he has back-to-back wins for just the second time in all categories, having also achieved the feat in Moto3 in 2014.

"That was hectic, very hectic," he said, adding: "It's absolutely amazing. I can't believe it.

"Back-to-back wins like this are just fantastic and I can't thank the team enough. They're awesome."

Jack Miller claimed a second consecutive MotoGP victory on Sunday after coming through a chaotic French Grand Prix in which Marc Marquez suffered a dramatic fall from first place and then crashed out.

Miller had just one win from 102 races in the top category heading into the Jerez event earlier this month but now has two from his past two.

The Australian's latest success was far from straightforward but then little was in a wet race at Le Mans.

Miller enjoyed a great start to get ahead of pole-sitter Fabio Quartararo, only for an error to let Maverick Vinales duck through into the lead.

However, after a dry start under looming black clouds, the rain Marquez had hoped for after qualifying duly arrived and Vinales swiftly fell back.

Six-time champion Marquez, without a podium since his return from injury this season, had trailed the front three until the white flag came out but was back tussling with Quartararo by the time the leaders arrived at the pit lane to swap bikes.

A costly error saw Quartararo approach the wrong mechanics, forced to sprint to his other bike as Marquez claimed the lead.

Meanwhile, Miller, who ran off into the gravel prior to the change, was then caught speeding in the pit lane and charged with a double long-lap penalty.

Marquez opted for the medium tyres and tore away from Quartararo into the lead, but the slipperiest section of the track proved his downfall as a brutal crash saw the Spaniard flip off his bike.

Quartararo, aiming to become the first French victor in the top category at this grand prix since 1954, could not hold off Miller despite the penalty, however, and was himself penalised for the earlier pit mix-up.

Miller built a healthy advantage, while Marquez's race was over when he crashed a second time attempting to recover from the back of the field, skidding off the track in 11th but walking away from the incident.

The drama was not quite done, though, as the track dried rapidly and Johann Zarco, who had passed compatriot Quartararo, closed on Miller in his own bid to end the wait for a home winner.

Miller did just enough to hold on, with French fans having to settle for a pair of riders on the podium, Zarco second and Quartararo third.

That was at least enough to take Quartararo – previously without a home podium in all categories – to the top of the 2021 standings as prior leader Francesco Bagnaia trailed him in fourth.

Marc Marquez is hoping for rain at the French Grand Prix in order to challenge pole-sitter Fabio Quartararo, although he acknowledges a tough, dry race may be better for his rehabilitation.

Repsol Honda superstar Marquez broke his arm at the first event of the 2020 season and failed to return, seeing his run of four straight MotoGP titles come to an end.

The six-time champion only made his comeback at the Portuguese Grand Prix and is still getting to grips with his bike again.

Marquez has finished P7 and P9 but will start from sixth on the grid at Le Mans on Sunday after a strong Q2 in which he briefly led the way and finished only 0.437 seconds off pace-setter Quartararo.

The Spaniard won on his past two appearances at Le Mans and has a joint-high three victories in France, but he recognises the weather will have to play in his favour this time.

"It's true that to have a dry race in a good pace is impossible at the moment, because only in six laps I struggled the last laps," he said after qualifying.

"But it's true that if it's wet it's more a gamble. Now is time to take that gamble."

He added: "On one side, I'd prefer a dry race, because like this I continue with my preparation, with my rehabilitation.

"But it's true that, if it's raining, it's not a problem for me. It will be less demanding for the physical condition and will be a lot better."

There is the potential for a wet race, according to the forecast, although similar was true of Saturday, resulting in "mixed" conditions.

When it was put to Marquez that he was "the master" in such scenarios, he corrected the reporter. "I was the master in those conditions," he said, emphasising the past tense.

Quartararo is now the man to catch, having secured pole position for a third consecutive grand prix for the first time in his career despite having surgery following an arm pump issue in a collapse last time out in Spain.

The 22-year-old is already the most successful French rider in MotoGP history with five race wins, yet the most recent home victor at the French GP in the top category was Pierre Monneret in 1954 and Quartararo has never reached the podium in any category at the event.

He started from pole last year, too, but came ninth, and said at Parc Ferme on Saturday: "In the last lap, I said I crash or I make front row.

"That was real, because in the last sector I pushed myself to the limit.

"I even didn't know until I arrived here that I made pole position. I saw the three bikes and I said, 'Oh, it's a shame we are not in the front row', and then I saw my mechanics moving.

"It's pole position and I'm so happy to make it two years in a row in my home GP."

An intriguing Sunday lies ahead, with world champion Joan Mir starting from 14th and 2021 leader Fabio Bagnaia 16th.


Provisional classification

1. Fabio Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamaha) 1:32.600
2. Maverick Vinales (Monster Energy Yamaha) +0.081s
3. Jack Miller (Ducati) +0.104s
4. Franco Morbidelli (Petronas Yamaha) +0.166s
5. Johann Zarco (Pramac Racing) +0.277s
6. Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda) +0.437s
7. Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda) +0.520s
8. Pol Espargaro (Repsol Honda) +0.550s
9. Valentino Rossi (Petronas Yamaha) +0.791s
10. Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM) +1.267s
11. Lorenzo Savadori (Aprilia) +1.658s
12. Luca Marini (Esponsorama) +1.665s

Marc Marquez completed just seven laps at Monday's Jerez test as he dealt with the after-effects of his crash in practice at the Spanish Grand Prix.

The six-time MotoGP champion was involved in a significant fall on Saturday for the first time since breaking his arm at the same track in the 2020 season opener.

Marquez slid off at Turn Seven in FP3, although medical checks cleared him for the rest of the weekend. He also fell in the warm-up but finished a respectable ninth in Sunday's race.

The series has remained in Spain for testing this week, but Marquez's involvement was cut short due to stiffness in his shoulder and arm.

"Today we didn't really test, just one run because on the second run my body was already locking up," the Repsol Honda man said.

"My neck and my right shoulder were stiff; it's similar to after Portimao but I was not as locked up as I was after Portugal.

"The crash I had on Saturday didn't help with my physical condition.

"I thought that maybe today when my body had warmed up it would be better, and I could try but straight away I could tell I wasn't at a good level for riding.

"We spoke as a team and decided to stop the test. We need to understand that we're improving step by step and the next target is Le Mans where we will try to improve again."

Maverick Vinales led testing with a time of 1:36.879 from one of his 101 laps, topping his qualifying effort from two days earlier.

His team-mate Fabio Quartararo, who faded spectacularly from pole on Sunday due to an arm issue, was absent.

Spanish GP victor Jack Miller and championship-leading Ducati team-mate Francesco Bagnaia completed a combined 84 laps.

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