Motorcycle Racing

Martin smashes lap record for pole in crash-strewn qualifying

Maverick Vinales, Aprilia Racing

With Enea Bastianini setting a new lap record to get through Q1, the tone was set for the first sub 1m30s lap of the Le Mans circuit.

Martin did so on his second flying lap with a 1m29.919s, which would ultimately cement him pole as the closing moments of Q2 turned into a crash fest.

The Pramac rider tumbled at Turn 4 late on, while factory Ducati counterpart Francesco Bagnaia slid off at Turn 9 while he was up on Martin’s best lap through the second sector.

There were also crashes for Aleix Espargaro and Jack Miller at the end.

Bagnaia held onto second behind Martin, while 2017 French GP winner Maverick Vinales completed the front row on the factory Aprilia.

There was drama in Q1 also, as Marc Marquez got knocked out of qualifying after getting caught out by late yellow flags having also survived a huge scare at Turn 2.

The Gresini Ducati rider will start 13th having been knocked out by Trackhouse Racing’s Miguel Oliveira.

Aprilia’s Vinales opened up the time attacks in the 15-minute Q2 session with a 1m30.685s, before Martin regained the lap record with a 1m30.141s on his first flying lap.

Maverick Vinales, Aprilia Racing

Photo by: Marc Fleury

Ducati’s Bastianini had beaten the lap record twice in Q1 to top that session, while Martin ensured it would go for a fourth time on his second flier in Q2.

The Pramac Ducat rider produced a 1m29.919s to cement top spot.

A mistake on his third flying lap on his second tyre halted another improvement, while his next effort ended at Turn 4 with an odd crash.

Ahead of him, Bagnaia was close through sector one to Martin’s best lap and set the best second sector of the session before crashing at Turn 9.

With numerous yellow flags waving around the circuit, further improvements were few and far between, with Martin holding onto his second pole of the year.

VR46 Ducati duo Fabio Di Giannantonio and last year’s French GP winner Marco Bezzecchi qualified fourth and fifth, with Espargaro sixth on the sister Aprilia after his late crash.

Pedro Acosta will start seventh on the Tech3 GasGas having been forced to check out of his final flying lap after coming across a slow Fabio Quartararo at Turn 12.

Pedro Acosta, Red Bull GASGAS Tech3

Pedro Acosta, Red Bull GASGAS Tech3

Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

The Yamaha rider appeared to have run out of fuel, but may face a stewards hearing on the incident.

Provisionally, the home hero has qualified eighth from Pramac’s Franco Morbidelli and…

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