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Espargaro claims maiden pole for Aprilia at Argentine MotoGP

Aleix Espargaro dominated Saturday's practice, which was delayed after the air freight failed to arrive in time from the previous race in Indonesia, and took that form into qualifying to claim a first pole since he was a Suzuki rider in 2015.
Aleix Espargaro dominated Saturday's practice, which was delayed after the air freight failed to arrive in time from the previous race in Indonesia, and took that form into qualifying to claim a first pole since he was a Suzuki rider in 2015.
Image: Aprilia

Aleix Espargaro claimed a first MotoGP pole for Aprilia as the Spaniard held off a late charge from Pramac Ducati's Jorge Martin to earn top spot in qualifying at the Argentine Grand Prix on Saturday.

The two were joined on the front row at the Termas de Rio Hondo circuit by Luca Marini of VR46, the team owned by former world champion Valentino Rossi.

Pol Espargaro finished fourth on his Repsol Honda while Aprilia's Maverick Vinales was fifth and world champion Fabio Quartararo of Yamaha sixth.

Aleix Espargaro dominated Saturday's practice, which was delayed after the air freight failed to arrive in time from the previous race in Indonesia, and took that form into qualifying to claim a first pole since he was a Suzuki rider in 2015.

“I'm very happy, I think the word is proud,” said the 32-year-old. “We have been working very hard for the last five years. We are improving day by day and getting close to the best bikes in the world. This is an extra boost for tomorrow.”

Martin, whose lightning fast final lap briefly pushed Aleix into second, will be bidding for his first win of the season.

“Super confident for tomorrow. The pace is good and fast. We are ready for everything,” he said.

Ducati's Jack Miller will start Sunday's race from 14th on the grid after he was given a three-place grid penalty due to riding slow on the line and disturbing Quartararo at the entry of Turn 7 in Q2.

There was disappointment for championship leader Enea Bastianini, who won the season opener in Qatar, and 2021 runner-up Francesco Bagnaia as both failed to make it out of Q1.

But Miller's grid penalty meant Bastianini occupied the 12th spot while Bagnaia was 13th. 

SA's Brad Binder qualified 11th. His brother Darryn Binder qualified 23rd.


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