Marco Bezzecchi stormed to pole position just 0.043 seconds ahead of Jorge Martin for the inaugural Indian Grand Prix MotoGP race here at the Buddh International Circuit on Saturday.
The Italian rider did a best time of 1:43:947, with Martin a few milliseconds behind after dominating the early part of the session. Championship leader Francesco Bagnaia rounded the front row in his factory Ducati bike, two-tenths behind the pole-sitter.
Bezzecchi had shown good form right from the start of the weekend as he topped Free Practice-1, while his VR46 teammate Luca Marini clinched the Practice session on Friday afternoon.
On Saturday, Marini qualified fourth, ensuring Ducati bikes sealed the top-four spots in qualifying.
The surprise package was the two Repsol Honda riders who qualified fifth and sixth, with 2020 champion Joan Mir ahead of six-time champion Marc Marquez.
Johan Zarco (Pramac Racing) was seventh fastest ahead of Yamaha’s Fabio Quartararo. The Aprilia riders of Maverick Vinales and Aleix Espargaro completed the top-ten.
Earlier in the first qualifying session (Q1), Gresini Racing’s Alex Marquez in the customer Ducati and RNF MotoGP team’s Raul Fernandez in the Aprilia bike were the two riders who qualified for Q2.
Unlucky Alex to miss rest of weekend
However, Alex, who had done enough to get into the top two in that session, which slid and suddenly gripped, throwing him over the bike.
The Spanish rider walked away in pain, and later tests revealed he had suffered three broken ribs, forcing him to miss the rest of the weekend.
Brad Binder in the KTM Factory Racing team was the big loser in qualifying as he set his fastest time under yellow flag conditions after Alex’s crash and failed to qualify in the top-two in that session. With Marini and Alex Marquez out of the weekend, Sunday’s race will see only 20 riders take the start.
Qualifying results (Q2): 1. Marco Bezzecchi (VR46 Racing) 1:43.947; 2. Jorge Martin (Pramac Racing) +0.043; 3. Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati) 0.256; 4. Luca Marini (VR46 Racing) 0.268; 5. Joan Mir (Honda) 0.507; 6. Marc Marquez (0.522); 7. Johan Zarco (Pramac Racing) 0.568; 8. Fabio Quartararo (Yamaha) 0.777; 9. Maverick Vinales (Aprilia) 0.794; 10. Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia) 0.803; 11. Raul Fernandez (RNF Team) 1.247; 12. Alex Marquez (Gresini Racing) no time.