Second row start for ever-improving Pol Espargaro

Second row start for ever-improving Pol Espargaro

06.11.2021: Grande Premio do Algarve MotoGP 2021 Round 17 Pol Espargaro was just 0.333s off pole position as he demonstrated the gains made this season while Stefan Bradlís pace continued to improve in Portugal.

Grande Premio do Algarve
MotoGP 2021   Round 17



Pol Espargaro was just 0.333s off pole position as he demonstrated the gains made this season while Stefan Bradl’s pace continued to improve in Portugal.



A thrilling Free Practice 3 session started the Saturday action at the Algarve GP, the 22-rider field leaving it until the final moments of the morning session to push for a fast time.



Pol Espargaro protected his position in the top ten with a 1’39.552 in the closing minutes of the session. Although Stefan Bradl did not make the combined top ten, the German still improved his personal best time by another half a second.



Falling at Turn 1 during Free Practice 4 interrupted Espargaro’s plans for the session slightly, but the #44 escaped any injury and was able to quickly return to the circuit. Ending the 30-minute session in 11th, Espargaro prepared himself for Q2.



A well-timed run earned him a 1’39.058 on his penultimate lap, good enough for a sixth place start to Sunday’s race. Top Honda on the grid, this is Espargaro’s fourth time launching from the front two rows on the grid in 2021 – two of the previous starts leading to top five finishes.



Espargaro qualified in 14th for the Portuguese Grand Prix earlier in the year with a time of 1’39.710, his results today clearly showing the progress he and the Repsol Honda Team have made this season.



On the other side of the Repsol Honda Team garage, Stefan Bradl’s forward progress steadily continued as be placed himself among the regular Grand Prix riders. Half a second away from the top ten in FP3, Bradl would improve his best time down to a 1’39.907 for 10th in Q1.



Since first stepping on the bike on Friday, the Honda HRC Test Rider has improved his time with each session on track. Bradl is hoping for a consistent race in order to add further to his 2021 points haul, having scored in all four of his previous appearances this season.



Sunday’s race begins at 13:00 Local Time, just after the Moto3 race and will run over 25 laps.   
    
       


    
Pol Espargaro  44
SIXTH  1'39.058



“Today showed the progress we have made this year with the bike, with me and with the team. I made a mistake at T1 during my fastest lap so maybe I could have found another tenth but otherwise I was feeling good on the bike – even after our crash in FP4.

 

The front two rows are our target every weekend, when you’re here you can be there in the group in the race with a good start. I’m happy we’ve made this step, but we can be there. Still, we need to look a bit at what tyre to use in the race because there’s a lot of possible options here.”         

    
    

    
    
Stefan Bradl  6
20TH  1'39.907


“Qualifying was OK, of course I would have liked to be further ahead but in the end I am still missing something over one lap. This is probably the area where I see the biggest difference between myself and the other riders, pushing to get the most out of the tyre over one lap.



In the end I think we have done and are doing a good job, the distance to the front is not very big because the times are so tight. Let’s see what happens tomorrow, the plan is to stay in the group and see what happens.”         

    
       
    
Algarve Grand Prix Qualifying Results




1    BAGNAIA Francesco     63    ITA    Ducati Lenovo Team    Ducati    1'38.725
2    MILLER Jack     43    AUS    Ducati Lenovo Team    Ducati    0.104
3    MIR Joan     36    SPA    Team Suzuki Ecstar    Suzuki    0.168
4    MARTIN Jorge     89    SPA    Pramac Racing    Ducati    0.191
5    ZARCO Johann     5    FRA    Pramac Racing    Ducati    0.193
6    ESPARGARO Pol     44    SPA    Repsol Honda Team    Honda    0.333
7    QUARTARARO Fabio     20    FRA    Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP    Yamaha    0.406
8    MARQUEZ Alex     73    SPA    LCR Honda    Honda    0.466
9    MORBIDELLI Franco     21    ITA    Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP    Yamaha    0.596
10    LECUONA Iker     27    SPA    Tech 3 KTM Factory Racing    KTM    0.662
11    RINS Alex     42    SPA    Team Suzuki Ecstar    Suzuki    0.924
12    MARINI Luca     10    ITA    SKY VR46 Avintia    Ducati    1.103
13    BASTIANINI Enea     23    ITA    Avintia Esponsorama    Ducati    0.153 Q1
14    ESPARGARO Aleix     41    SPA    Aprilia Racing Team Gresini    Aprilia    0.259
15    PETRUCCI Danilo     9    ITA    Tech 3 KTM Factory Racing    KTM    0.465
16    ROSSI Valentino     46    ITA    Petronas Yamaha SRT    Yamaha    0.474
17    OLIVEIRA Miguel     88    POR    Red Bull KTM Factory Racing    KTM    0.494
18    VINALES Maverick     12    SPA    Aprilia Racing Team Gresini    Aprilia    0.608
19    BINDER Brad     33    RSA    Red Bull KTM Factory Racing    KTM    0.729
20    BRADL Stefan     6    GER    Repsol Honda Team    Honda    0.777
21    DOVIZIOSO Andrea     4    ITA    Petronas Yamaha SRT    Yamaha    0.788
22    NAKAGAMI Takaaki     30    JPN    LCR Honda    Honda    0.879
    

    
    
 Repsol Honda Team - MotoGP, also photos

 


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06.11.2021 / MaP

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