MotoGP: Aprilia’s Aleix Espargaro Clinches Pole at His Final Catalan GP

Espargaro edged past Ducati's Bagnaia by 0.031 seconds to claim pole position while championship leader Jorge Martin lines up seventh on the grid following a crash late in Q2.

By Yashraj Singh


1 mins read


Published on May 25, 2024

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  • Aprilia’s Espargaro narrowly edged Bagnaia to claim pole position
  • Championship leader Jorge Martin crashed late in Q2, relegating him to seventh on the grid
  • Marc Marquez failed to advance from Q1 for the second consecutive round

Aleix Espargaro delivered a standout performance aboard his RS-GP to secure pole position for the MotoGP Catalan Grand Prix, setting a new lap record in the process. The achievement comes on the same weekend the 34-year-old Aprilia rider announced his retirement from full-time racing at the end of the 2024 season.

In a thrilling Q2 session on Saturday, Espargaro set a blistering lap time of 1m38.190s in the dying seconds of the session, narrowly edging out Ducati's reigning double world champion Francesco Bagnaia by 0.031 seconds. This pole position marks Espargaro's first of the season and sets the stage for an emotional home race for the veteran in Barcelona as this will be the final time the elder statesman will blast around the Catalunya circuit as a premier-class rider.


Source: Ducati Course


For much of the session, Bagnaia appeared poised to take pole after leading the timesheets with a 1m38.221s. However, Espargaro's final lap effort pushed him to the top. Trackhouse Racing's Raul Fernandez completed the front row, securing his team’s first front-row start in MotoGP after his lap time was reinstated following a yellow flag cancellation.

Championship leader Jorge Martin crashed his Pramac Ducati at Turn 2 in the final minutes of Q2, relegating him to seventh on the grid. Martin's crash disrupted his qualifying run, leaving him unable to challenge for a front-row position.
 Red Bull KTM Factory Racing

Source: RedBull KTM Racing


Eight-time world champion Marc Marquez struggled to find form for the second Grand Prix in a row, as he failed to advance from Q1 for the second consecutive round. The Gresini rider will start from 14th, having been out-qualified by his brother and teammate, Alex Marquez, who secured 13th place.

The qualifying session began with Ducati’s Enea Bastianini setting the early benchmark with a time of 1m40.335s. However, it was quickly surpassed by a series of fast laps, including a provisional pole from Bagnaia. Rookie Pedro Acosta also impressed on his Tech3 GasGas with a lap of 1m38.369s, placing him fifth overall.

Despite a strong start, Fabio Di Giannantonio's Q1 lap record of 1m38.208s was only good enough for sixth in Q2. Meanwhile, KTM's Brad Binder, who experienced two crashes on Friday, will start from fourth place.
 Yamaha Factory Racing


Yamaha’s Alex Rins secured eighth place, a notable performance given the struggles of his teammate Fabio Quartararo, who could only manage 17th. KTM’s Jack Miller, Franco Morbidelli, Bastianini, and Aprilia's Maverick Vinales completed the top twelve.

Johann Zarco, the top Honda rider, qualified in 16th despite crashing at the end of Q1. Marco Bezzecchi and Miguel Oliveira will start from 18th and 19th respectively, with Bezzecchi notably slower than his VR46 teammate Di Giannantonio.


Espargaro's pole position sets the stage for an exciting Catalan GP, particularly as it coincides with his farewell season. The battle for the championship remains intense, with Martin looking to recover from his crash, Bagnaia aiming to capitalise on his front-row start, as well as Marquez and Bastianini hoping to pull off a similar recovery ride as last weekend. Fans can expect a thrilling race as the grid lines up in Barcelona, with Espargaro eager to shine for the last time in front of his home crowd.

Starting Grid:

  1. A. Espargaro (Aprilia)
  2. F. Bagnaia (Ducati)
  3. R. Fernandez (Trackhouse Aprilia)
  4. B. Binder (KTM)
  5. P. Acosta (Tech3 KTM)
  6. F. Di Giannantonio (VR46 Ducati)
  7. J. Martin (Pramac Ducati)
  8. A. Rins (Yamaha)
  9. J. Miller (KTM)
  10. F. Morbidelli (Pramac Ducati)
  11. E. Bastianini (Ducati)
  12. M. Vinales (Aprilia)
  13. A. Marquez (Gresini Ducati)
  14. M. Marquez (Gresini Ducati)
  15. M. Oliveira (Trackhouse Aprilia)
  16. M. Bezzecchi (VR46 Ducati)
  17. F. Quartararo (Yamaha)
  18. J. Zarco (LCR Honda)
  19. A. Fernandez (Tech3 KTM)
  20. T. Nakagami (LCR Honda)
  21. J. Mir (Honda)
  22. L. Marini (Honda)
  23. S. Bradl (Honda Test Team)
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