Fabio Quartararo took pole right at the end of the session as the weather continually changed and evolved in qualifying for the French MotoGP Grand Prix, round five of the championship.

The Frenchman claimed his second consecutive home pole after he soon realised the Petronas Yamaha teammates had called it right by immediately risking slick tyres and went straight in for a change.

The Monster Yamaha team soon had him back on track with a quick bike swap and Quartararo, looking at ease after his arm pump operation between rounds, then went on to judge the wet and dry parts of the track best, giving everything on his final run with a 'win it or bin it' last lap to put in a session topping time of 1m 32.600s.

 

He will be joined on the front row by his team-mate Maverick Vinales, back at the scene of his first championship win a decade ago, the Spaniard was not far off pole pace - just 0.081s slower on his final lap.

Moments earlie,r before the weather changed yet again, an all Honda front row had looked locked in - but Jack Miller also took a lot of risks on his final run, avoiding the puddles to take third for Ducati to join the Yamaha 1-2 instead.

Franco Morbidelli had previously twisted his knee while practising his bike change at the end of FP3 but was back out for the changable FP4 and was third in that session ahead of qualifying. He kept his handle on the patchy track to claim fourth at the chequered flag for Petronas.

Johann Zarco survived a late scare, dangling off his bike he managed to right himself and recover to claim fifth for Pramac.

Marc Marquez had lead the way in FP4 and was sitting in first when Honda held the provisional front row lockout. The Repsol rider remained the top rider for the manufacturer in sixth.

LCR Honda’s Taka Nakagami started his Q2 cautiously, seeing how the early laps played out beofre starting his run, which saw him to seventh.

A late fall prevented Pol Espargaro from defending his then front row showing, he slipped back to eighth.

Though he was straight onto slicks Valentino Rossi didn’t benefit after also being the first person to discover the limit - resulting into a trip through the gravel to prevent a fall on his way to ninth.

Miguel Oliveira also fell in the session leaving him tenth, ahead of the Q1 graduates - Avintia’s Lorenzo Savadori capped an impressive Q1 performance where he topped the session to move to Q2 for the first time this season with eleventh, with Sky VR 46 Avinita Ducati rider Luca Marini twelfth.

With the rookie pair taking the Q2 progression places there will be several big names further down the grid come race day.

Both Suzuki riders, championship leader Francesco Bagnaia and Aleix Espargaro all featured in Q1 after a tricky Friday and the Q2 spots were hotly contested.

Aleix Espargaro found himself run out of the top two in Q1 by his Aprilia team-mate. Leading the way just before the chequered flag the Gresini rider pulled out of his final lap leaving him unable to answer as his time got shuffled down to third, which translates to 13th on the grid.

Neither of the Suzuki riders could make it count on their final laps either- 2020 title winner Joan Mir briefly held second before the last of the riders crossed the line but was fourth at the flag, just ahead of Alex Rins on the timesheets in fifth.

Francesco Bagnaia leads the way in the championship standings after three podium appearances in the last four rounds, but again gave a laboured performance in the wet and windy conditions. The Ducati man was clearly uncomfortable and could only manage a time good enough for sixth in Q1.

 

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