2022 Portimão MotoGP Qualifying Result: Two Sessions Packed With Drama

After a miserable set of practice sessions in Portugal, the large silver clouds held back enough to allow for some rays of sunshine to touch the track but that provided an even more daunting prospect ahead of qualifying, with a drying track causing a fair share of drama in Q1 and leaving the top men in the championship looking quite shabby. With conditions more settled at the start of Q2, slick tyres were a less controversial choice and riders were steading building up towards a last lap showdown. Quite predictably, the last rider to take the chequered flag was the one to steal pole, Johann Zarco timing it just right to gift Pramac Racing their third pole position of the season. The Frenchman demoted Joan Mir to second but the Suzuki man still celebrated his best qualifying result in the premier class and looks pretty keen to break the win-from-pole trend at the Algarve circuit. Aleix Espargaro was also in the right place at the right time (and with the right speed, of course) to make a return to the front row, only three hundredths of a second off pole.

Jack Miller looked good in the changing conditions but couldn’t quite threaten pole on a fully dry track and had to settle for fourth, opening the second row ahead of Fabio Quartararo and remarkable rookie Marco Bezzecchi, who posted identical times – after the world champion got his top time cancelled for a yellow flags issue. Despite the star-studded Q1 session, the drama of the mixed conditions saw the rather unlikely duo of Alex Marquez and Luca Marini mastering the slicks at the right time and the two went on to climb onto the third row of the grid, around a second off pole. Marc Marquez waited for the right time to pounce but found himself in the wrong place at the wrong time, his pole-worthy lap cancelled due to late yellow flags caused by teammate Pol Espargaro. That dropped the elder Marquez to ninth, while the younger Espargaro closes the top ten and shares fourth row with the rather anonymous KTM duo of Miguel Oliveira and Brad Binder.

Now to the tale of Q1, where despite early gambles on slick tyres ending in the gravel trap, Pecco Bagnaia still hoped to avoid that faith and the experiment promptly ended on a puddle at turn three, before the Italian even set a time. To make matters worse, the Ducati man needed some attention from the medics after landing quite heavily on his shoulder and will be hoping to pull a Marquez from last on the grid. Although championship leader Enea Bastianini managed to put a few times on the board before going for slicks, he suffered a similar faith on his final flying lap and got stuck with 18th grid position. While Alex Rins avoided anything too dramatic on track, 23rd on the grid was pretty dramatic on the timesheets, starting one row ahead of Bagnaia.

Results:

Pos No. Rider Bike Time Diff Prev
1 5 Johann Zarco Ducati 1:42.003    
2 36 Joan Mir Suzuki 1:42.198 0.195 0.195
3 41 Aleix Espargaro Aprilia 1:42.235 0.232 0.037
4 43 Jack Miller Ducati 1:42.503 0.500 0.268
5 20 Fabio Quartararo Yamaha 1:42.716 0.713 0.213
6 72 Marco Bezzecchi Ducati 1:42.716 0.713 0.000
7 73 Alex Marquez Honda 1:42.903 0.900 0.187
8 10 Luca Marini Ducati 1:43.179 1.176 0.276
9 93 Marc Marquez Honda 1:43.575 1.572 0.396
10 44 Pol Espargaro Honda 1:43.832 1.829 0.257
11 88 Miguel Oliveira KTM 1:44.066 2.063 0.234
12 33 Brad Binder KTM 1:44.710 2.707 0.644
    Q1 Results:        
Q2 73 Alex Marquez Honda 1:46.316    
Q2 10 Luca Marini Ducati 1:47.199 0.883 0.883
13 89 Jorge Martin Ducati 1:47.936 1.620 0.737
14 12 Maverick Viñales Aprilia 1:49.332 3.016 1.396
15 49 Fabio Di Giannantonio Ducati 1:49.639 3.323 0.307
16 4 Andrea Dovizioso Yamaha 1:49.695 3.379 0.056
17 30 Takaaki Nakagami Honda 1:49.889 3.573 0.194
18 23 Enea Bastianini Ducati 1:50.618 4.302 0.729
19 21 Franco Morbidelli Yamaha 1:50.702 4.386 0.084
20 87 Remy Gardner KTM 1:50.953 4.637 0.251
21 32 Lorenzo Savadori Aprilia 1:51.308 4.992 0.355
22 40 Darryn Binder Yamaha 1:51.639 5.323 0.331
23 42 Alex Rins Suzuki 1:52.300 5.984 0.661
24 25 Raul Fernandez KTM 1:53.603 7.287 1.303
Not Classified
25 63 Francesco Bagnaia Ducati   0.000 0.000
Round Number: 
5
2022
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Comments

The riders on the front row have only two MotoGP wins between them. In fact only 5 of the top 10 have won!

Mir looks in very good form, as long as he can get past the Ducs.

In order of interest:

Conditions. Sheesh!

Dry Race after wet Fri - Sat. Technical ballsy track. Grid order putting fast riders in back. Wide open Championship. Close field. Everyone as hungry as ever. What do you get? A race for the ages. I think this is going to be BRILLIANT. 

Bezzecchi! Looking great.

Mir is really looking solid this season, as is his consistent way. The Suzuki having enough power to stay with the Ducati may be growing their race plan options. Staying posted.

The curious case of Ducati early 2022 wobbles continues. For now. The word I have for Bagnaia is particular. Opposite of Jack. 

Marc keeps charging. At times not when needed objectively. But subjectively? NEEDED! Careful beautiful cracked skittle. You could win this Championship and have half a dozen more excellent years with us. First FP1 outing and the dude is qualifying. People crashing like popcorn pops. Does Red Bull come in chamomile?

Black, still impressing and working hard. Aleix P3! Maverick had some strength. Nice to see Savadori out here cranking out the Test program for a race weekend. Encouraging and interesting.

Rins, Bastiannini -- enjoy running the field Sunday, I sure will watching. Keep beverages down on the table and at a distance so they don't fly about the room.

A few Bagnaia details, he was in an ambulance after the big T2 crash (first push on slicks after wets). They took him to hospital. Right shoulder. Hope you are OK Pecco! Will get checked in the AM for fitness.

Bastiannini, he hurt his right wrist. Nothing broken, but not a good injury for controlling a big motorcycle. His attitude is encouraging. Fingers crossed especially for him. 

It's almost as if the universe wants Marc to be a title favourite by the mid-season break. I hope Jack has a strong race because I find it quite sad see him so dejected in the pressers after being let go. I really hope he lands on a competitive seat next year.

I think you're right about Mir too.. he may firm as the favourite if he has a strong race here, especially if it's a win.