Aussie MotoGP star sent flying in qualifying

MotoGP points leader Fabio Quartararo set the fastest lap in qualifying for the Catalonia Grand Prix on Saturday, becoming the first rider in seven years to win five consecutive pole positions.

The Frenchman steered his Yamaha bike through a flying lap in 1 minute, 38.853 seconds on the Barcelona-Catalunya Circuit. Jack Miller clocked the second-fastest time despite a crash that he emerged from unscathed. Johann Zarco was third.

After qualifying second Miller’s session was cut short after a huge highside sent him flying from his Ducati. The Townsville product wasn’t bothered by the hiccup though.

“I just got a bit carried away on the ol’ throttle!” Miller said.

“This afternoon in qualifying, I felt comfortable on the bike, and maybe I got a bit carried away in the second flying lap, making a mistake in the first sector.

“Luckily, the bike threw me forward and not up, so I didn’t get hurt. During the day, we managed to find something that allowed us to take a step forward, helping me to move from Q1 to Q2.

“In FP4, I did 17 consecutive laps on the same tyre and stayed within 1:40, so I think our pace for the race is good. Of course, 24 laps is a lot, but I think we can manage them well, so I’m confident for tomorrow.”

Miller said he was thankful to escape the crash without any injuries, walking away with nothing but some ruined leathers.

“I was able to get out there and do what I needed to do in Q1,” he told reporters.

“I had that little wobble and I knew I had a bit more in the tank but to have a highside at turn 3 isn’t too much fun, but I’m happy to say I’m in one piece.

“Which if you told me I was having a highside at turn 3, I assume normally you wouldn’t be [in one piece].

“But the leathers did their job and plus plenty of asphalt on the outside helped me just to slide off, hence why the leathers looked so torn up.”

The 22-year-old Quartararo leads the competition after six races with 105 points, followed by Zarco with 81.

“We know that we still have some margin for improvement, but I am a thrilled to be on pole once again,” Quartararo said.

“I did a great first run. But actually my lap was not that perfect.

“I was developing a pretty good one.

“Unfortunately there were a lot of yellow flags”.

Quartararo previously took pole at the Portuguese, Spanish, French and Italian races. The last rider to make it five-of-five in qualifying was former champion Marc Márquez in 2014.

Six-time former MotoGP champion Márquez continued to struggle after returning from a long injury layoff.

He failed to make the cut for the final qualifying session of the top 10 riders. He will start Sunday’s race from 13th on the grid.

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