The first qualifying of the 2021 MotoGP season was a spectacular one as seven riders all went faster than the Official lap record set by Marc Marquez in 2019. 

But there was only one rider who claimed the spoils, as Ducati’s Francesco Bagnaia took his maiden pole position in MotoGP. 

Speaking at the post qualifying press conference on the achievement, Bagnaia said: "I am very happy with this result as it is the first one and it is the best way to start a new chapter in my career with a new team. 

"Yesterday I was feeling that it was possible to arrive in the 1m 52s because in my best lap of yesterday I made some mistakes and I was thinking about it, so we can be happy about the result. 

"Tomorrow is the race and I think we are a great group fighting for the top positions. 

"Yamaha is very strong in sector two and three, but we can close the gap in sector four with our top speed. The balance is very close so the race tomorrow will be a nice battle for sure." 

The race simulation through Friday and in particular FP4 suggests the battle for the win could be a big one. 

When asked if there could be a big group fighting for the win, Bagnaia jokingly said ‘I hope not but it is a possibility’. 

Ducati, Yamaha and Suzuki and Aleix Espargaro on the Aprilia have all shown potential podium speed, and Bagnaia knows the race will be a long one.

"If we look at the pace, the Yamaha, Suzuki and Ducati are fighting at the same pace for the victory and looking at the FP4 all the other riders were so strong," added the Italian. 

"I made some mistakes on the FP4 and I didn’t feel well with the rear tyre that was from yesterday, and with the hotter temperature I suffered a bit. 

"Tomorrow will not be in the 1m 53s, it will be higher and we need to be more constant with the tyres, so let’s wait until tomorrow but I think eight or nine riders in the first laps can stay in front."

 

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