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Bagnaia on pole as Ducati dominate French MotoGP qualifying

14 May 2022 - 20:39 By Reuters
Francesco Bagnaia celebrates winning pole position for Sunday's French MotoGP.
Francesco Bagnaia celebrates winning pole position for Sunday's French MotoGP.
Image: Steve Wobser/Getty Images

Ducati's Francesco Bagnaia claimed pole position for the French Grand Prix after finishing on top in Saturday's qualifying session, while world champion Fabio Quartararo of Yamaha could only manage fourth place on the grid in front of his home fans.

Italian Bagnaia posted a new lap record at Le Mans of 1:30.450 seconds, 0.069 seconds ahead of team mate Jack Miller as Ducati dominated the last qualifying session.

It was a second straight pole position for Bagnaia, who also earned top spot in qualifying for the Spanish GP in Jerez before bagging his first victory of the season.

Aprilia's Aleix Espargaro will start third for Sunday's race after finishing 0.159 seconds behind Miller.

Home favourite Quartararo got fans excited when he set the pace in FP4, but the Frenchman could not keep it up in Q2 and had to settle for the second row on the grid.

"I am not disappointed, we are not in P20, so it's okay and I feel our pace is great so I have no reason to be disappointed," Quartararo said.

"I feel really confident that even though Pecco (Bagnaia) will start first, we can fight for the victory."

Gresini Racing's Enea Bastianini completed the top five.

Johann Zarco, the other local favourite, finished sixth on his Pramac Ducati but was later handed a three-place grid penalty for riding slowly and "disturbing another rider at the exit of Turn 4" after he got in Pol Espargaro's way.

Six-times MotoGP world champion Marc Marquez of Repsol Honda was left frustrated after he made a mistake on his final lap and could only finish 10th.