Zarco smashes Silverstone lap record for pole
A stunning Q2 sees eight riders beat Marc Marquez’s old lap record as Aleix Espargaro rescues a second row after a huge FP4 crash
Johann Zarco (Prima Pramac Racing) will start from pole position at the Monster Energy British Grand Prix after producing a new all-time lap record at Silverstone. A magnificent 1:57.767 saw the Frenchman beat second place Maverick Viñales (Aprilia Racing) by 0.098s as Jack Miller (Ducati Lenovo Team) claimed a front row in P3. And after huge crash in FP4, Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing) rescued a heroic P6 and finished just 0.199s away from pole – sensational from the Spaniard.
In the battle to make it into the pole position fight, early drama unfolded for Alex Marquez (LCR Honda Castrol) as the Spaniard crashed down at the Vale chicane. Enea Bastianini (Gresini Racing MotoGP™) went fastest and went faster again on his final flying lap to cement P1, as Ducati counterpart Marco Bezzecchi (Mooney VR46 Racing Team) snatched P2 away from Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) on his last lap to sail into Q2.
A Q2 stunner at Silverstone
After a huge highside at Turn 12 in FP4, a bruised Aleix Espargaro was back out on track after medical checks confirmed he’d suffered no fractures. Meanwhile, Martin laid down a quality early banker to edge teammate Zarco by less than a tenth after the first flying laps – a 1:58.377 was the time to beat.
Quartararo did then better the time by 0.118s as Miller rose to P2, 0.001s off the Frenchman. Espargaro’s first effort was 1.6s away from Quartararo’s pace, but that was just an exploratory run to see how he was feeling. New tyres were fitted and the number 41 was back out to see how far up the grid he could get – just being out there was impressive enough.
Thankfully the Aprilia rider has been declared fit since the incident and will line up in Q2 on Saturday afternoon
It was Espargaro’s teammate Viñales who occupied provisional P3 heading into the final five minutes of the session, Martin and Zarco had been shuffled down to P4 and P5, with Alex Rins (Team Suzuki Ecstar) P6 ahead of seventh place Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati Lenovo Team).
Attention then turned to Aleix Espargaro. Three red sectors were set and unbelievably, a 1:57.966 was set – a new all-time lap record. A phenomenal attempt, but it wasn’t going to be enough for pole position because a flurry of rapid times were about to be set. Quartararo briefly returned to P1 before Miller then bettered the Yamaha star. However, Zarco’s stunner put the Frenchman on top and it wasn’t beaten by Bagnaia, who slotted into P4 ahead of Espargaro.
The last rider to cross the line on a flying lap was Viñales – and it was a belter. Top Gun’s 1:57.865 was enough to shoot him up to second place, earning the Spaniard his best qualifying result with Aprilia and his first front row since claiming pole at the 2021 Dutch TT.
How the top 12 finished
In the end though, Zarco’s new all-time lap record gives the man third in the World Championship chase his second pole position of the season. Quartararo will be praying for a great getaway from P4 as he faces the much-talked-about Long Lap penalty on Sunday afternoon, as three main title contenders line up on the second row. Bagnaia starts P5, Aleix Espargaro starts P6.
After coming through Q1, Bezzecchi starts seventh ahead of fellow Q1 graduate Bastianini – amazingly, both of the Ducati riders were under Marc Marquez’s (Repsol Honda Team) old lap record at Silverstone. That’s just how competitive MotoGP™ is in 2022.
Martin has to settle for P9 despite being less than half a second away from pole position, as Luca Marini (Mooney VR46 Racing Team), Rins and Joan Mir (Team Suzuki Ecstar) round out the Q2 places in P10, P11 and P12 respectively.
All this means we’re set up for a spell-binding Sunday at Silverstone. Don’t miss a crucial title race battle at 13:00 local time (GMT+1)!
1. Johann Zarco (Prima Pramac Racing) – 1:57.767
2. Maverick Viñales (Aprilia Racing) + 0.098
3. Jack Miller (Ducati Lenovo Team) + 0.164
4. Fabio Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP™) + 0.171
5. Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati Lenovo Team) + 0.194
6. Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing) + 0.199
7. Marco Bezzecchi (Mooney VR46 Racing Team) + 0.334
8. Enea Bastianini (Gresini Racing MotoGP™) + 0.339
9. Jorge Martin (Prima Pramac Racing) + 0.407
10. Luca Marini (Mooney VR46 Racing Team) + 0.550