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Miller pips Pecco for first pole in four years as Misano stages stunning Q2 | Superbike News - Our Archive Motorcycle News Site
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Miller pips Pecco for first pole in four years as Misano stages stunning Q2

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Miller pips Pecco for first pole in four years as Misano stages stunning Q2

Miller pips Pecco for first pole in four years as Misano stages stunning Q2
Miller pips Pecco for first pole in four years as Misano stages stunning Q20.015 decides pole in Miller vs Bagnaia, with Bastianini third and Quartararo eighth after a breathtaking Q2 race against the rain.

Jack Miller (Ducati Lenovo Team) has become the eighth different polesitter of the season after a true thriller of a qualifying session at the Gran Premio Gryfyn di San Marino e della Riviera di Rimini, with rain threatening and some falling but slicks winning out in the end. It’s Miller’s first pole in four years and second ever in the premier class, and he took it by just 0.015 to become the eighth different polesitter of 2022, equalling the record of most in one season.

The rider Miller pipped to the post was teammate Francesco Bagnaia, and behind the two, Gresini’s Enea Bastianini was third quickest exactly a tenth off the number 63. Still, the ‘Beast’ will start second as Pecco takes a three-place grid penalty for being slow on the line in FP1. Rookie Marco Bezzecchi (Mooney VR46 Racing Team), who made a late lunge into fourth, will therefore complete the front row ahead of Maverick Viñales (Aprilia Racing) and Bagnaia in P5.

Jorge Martin (Prima Pramac Racing) set the initial benchmark in the opening 15 minutes of qualifying before Bezzecchi set a 1:31.961 to go top. Having been threatening all afternoon, spots of rain then started to fall with eight minutes to go, with Bezzecchi and Martin sitting inside the all-important top two.

With three and a half minutes to go, Luca Marini jumped ahead of Martin to make it a Mooney VR46 Racing Team 1-2 – and the Italian couldn’t have timed it any better. The rain had started to fall heavier as the riders all had to pull out of their final flying laps, meaning Bezzecchi and Marini were heading into Q2, seeing Martin miss out by 0.011s.

Miller Pips Pecco For First Pole In Four Years As Misano Stages Stunning Q2Q2
Tensions were high ahead of the 15-minute pole position fight, with most of the riders starting the session on wet Michelin tyres – all but Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing). And straight away the Portuguese rider was three seconds quicker than Bagnaia with the Italian on wet tyres, it was now clear the slick tyres were the correct choice.

Bagnaia, Fabio Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP™) and Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing) – the top three in the World Championship – were some of the last to venture out on slicks. Meanwhile, Bezzecchi had gone fastest by half a second before Miller moved the goalposts, the Australian briefly sat 0.7s quicker than anyone before Oliveira cut the gap to 0.2s.

As expected, the times were tumbling lap by lap. Bezzecchi blitzed his way to provisional pole before Bastianini found a 1:33.812 to go quickest. Miller then split the Italians to slot into P2, 0.021s off Bastianini’s time, as red sector times littered to timing screens. Miller and Bastianini exchanged P1 again before Bagnaia took over top spot with a 1:32.413, as Johann Zarco (Prima Pramac Racing) decided it was his turn to lead the session. Viñales then gatecrashed the Ducati party to go second, 0.090s off Zarco, as Championship leader Quartararo found himself P7 with just over a minute to go.

That became P5 heading onto his final lap, but the Frenchman was half a second away from provisional pole. A 1:31.899 from Miller was the new time to beat but teammate Bagnaia was 0.083s under his time at the third split. Was it enough? Not quite. Pecco went into P2 with Bezzecchi going third, Marini made a late charge into the top six before Viñales jumped up to P5, but no one was able to better Miller on Saturday in Misano.

Miller Pips Pecco For First Pole In Four Years As Misano Stages Stunning Q2The Grid
Despite qualifying second, Bagnaia will launch from P5 for the San Marino GP after his mistake in FP1. That means Bastianini will start from the middle of the front row in P2, and fourth qualifier Bezzecchi moves up a row to line up third. Viñales is the final rider to benefit from Pecco’s penalty, the Spaniard will be eyeing at least a podium from P4 with Bagnaia – crucially – starting ahead of his main title rivals in fifth. Zarco joins Viñales and Bagnaia on the second row in sixth.

Marini leads the third row ahead of the top two in the World Championship: Quartararo and Aleix Espargaro. It wasn’t the Q2 they would have been looking for, but it will make for very interesting viewing to see how the Yamaha and Aprilia stars progress on Sunday afternoon. Oliveira, Franco Morbidelli and Alex Rins (Team Suzuki Ecstar) complete the top 12.

All the drama from Q2 gears us up for a tantalising encounter at 14:00 local time (GMT+2) on the Riviera di Rimini. Don’t miss it as Bagnaia aims to become the first Ducati rider to win four in a row, Miller wants a win, Aleix Espargaro aims to cut the gap, Bastianini could clinch a fifth successive Misano podium… and Quartararo faces a fight back!

Miller Pips Pecco For First Pole In Four Years As Misano Stages Stunning Q2MotoGP™: TOP THREE
1 Jack Miller (Ducati Lenovo Team) – Ducati – 1’31.899
2 Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati Lenovo Team) – Ducati – +0.015
3 Enea Bastianini (Gresini Racing MotoGP) – Ducati – +0.115

Jack Miller: ” The track wasn’t in too bad condition, the rain had sort of disappeared there. But as soon as I rolled out, pit lane at the beginning of the session was completely wet, this old asphalt, but as soon as I got on the new stuff, I was like, ‘Wow, this is completely dry; I’ve made the wrong decision here, I might miss the window,’ so there was some urgency to get back, get on the other bike and get back out there. But no, we were able to get the job done, lap after lap after lap just feeling it out, and to do that lap time in these kind of conditions, I was pretty happy with that. I messed up the next one so I was just hoping and praying that it was enough, but it was finally. I was cruising around, trying not to get in anyone’s way, and trying to watch the tele at the same time to sort of understand where I was and I had a few nervous moments. But, awesome to have my second pole in MotoGP™, it’s been a long time since the last one, so it’s an awesome feeling, especially to do it here at home for Ducati.”

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