Motorcycling-Quartararo fastest in Catalunya for fifth straight MotoGP pole


MotoGP - Catalunya Grand Prix - Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, Barcelona, Spain - June 5, 2021 Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP's Fabio Quartararo celebrates getting pole position REUTERS/Albert Gea

BARCELONA (Reuters) - Yamaha's world championship leader Fabio Quartararo claimed his fifth straight pole position of the MotoGP season after going fastest in qualifying at the Catalunya Grand Prix on Saturday.

Quartararo became the first rider in seven years to achieve the feat, and the Frenchman is joined on the front row by Ducati's Jack Miller and Pramac Racing's Johann Zarco.

Quartararo looked to go faster on a second run with a different tyre strategy and was left frustrated when yellow flags were waved at the end of the session following a tumble by Miller and Pol Espargaro's crash.

"The pace was great on medium and hard (tyres), I had a great first run but I thought the lap was not perfect," Quartararo said.

"On the second run I prepared really well with the rear tyre but I (encountered) yellow flags. But the most important is we are on the front row in P1."

Red Bull KTM's Miguel Oliveira will start fourth on the grid alongside Petronas Yamaha's Franco Morbidelli, while Quartararo's team mate Maverick Vinales starts in sixth.

Ducati's Francesco Bagnaia, who is third in the championship standings, had his lap struck off when he exceeded track limits and he will start ninth on the grid.

Suzuki's defending champion Joan Mir could not finish his final run either due to the yellow flags and he starts 10th, ahead of Valentino Rossi who fell early in Q2.

Mir's team mate Alex Rins is not racing after sustaining a wrist fracture that required surgery on Friday. He is expected to return for the German Grand Prix in two weeks.

Earlier, six-times world champion Marc Marquez failed to qualify for Q2, finishing third fastest in the session to earn 13th place on the grid.

Marquez looked to benefit from a tow by riding in Miller's slipstream in Q1. Although Miller set the fastest time, it was Marquez's Repsol Honda team mate Espargaro who went second fastest to qualify for Q2.

(Reporting by Rohith Nair in Bengaluru; Editing by Hugh Lawson)

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