Bagnaia to hope? Or Quartararo to fly away? The Italian and the Frenchman will set off again leather against leather, accompanied by the Spaniard Jorge Martin (Ducati-Pramac) on the front row, at the start of the 11th round (out of 20) of this season on Sunday at 12:00 GMT. Last week, in the same configuration, Bagnaia sank. He had left the lead to the Frenchman then fell on the 8th lap.
Without wanting the fall of the Italian, “Quarta” will want to make the same move as in Germany, to gain a third victory in a row. On “one of the most legendary circuits on the calendar”, where he won last year, Quartararo can hope to make his lead in the championship even more comfortable – he has 34 points more than Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia) and 61 on Johann Zarco (Ducati-Pramac). These two starting 5th and 7th, his opponent should nevertheless be Bagnaia.
Fourth pole in six races
“Pecco was just amazing as usual in qualifying,” Quartararo applauded. “I did my best so I’m happy, our pace is good for tomorrow” on Sunday, he continued. Obviously vindictive, the Turinese indeed recalled that on a lap, he was often the fastest. With the new track record as a bonus, he achieved his fourth pole in the last six Grands Prix.
But while he reigns over qualifying, the vice-world champion does not convert in the race. He no longer has the right to make mistakes if he wants to preserve title chances. Despite his two victories in May (Spain and Italy), “Pecco” Bagnaia is only 6th in the championship, already 91 points behind Frenchman Quartararo, the very man who beat him last year.
The duel they fought in 2021 could resurface in the second half of the season. Perhaps as early as Sunday, in the “cathedral of speed” in Assen, before hanging up the leather during the five weeks of the summer break. Provided that Bagnaia does not fall back into its failings. In ten races, he had to retire four times. Conversely, Quartararo is the only driver to have entered the top 10 in each race. A regularity that pays: Quartararo finds himself, despite a complicated start to the season, with the same total of points at mid-season (172) as in 2021. Bagnaia, he is behind on this crossing point.
Espargaro, the other driver to have scored points in each race, will still be in the fight for the podium starting from the second row. Behind, it’s open, as often in MotoGP, and the other Frenchman Zarco, 7th on the grid, hopes to continue his rise in power.
Fifth in France, fourth in Italy, third in Spain, second in Germany… First in the Netherlands? To achieve this logical continuation and achieve his first victory in the premier class, the double Moto2 champion is hoping for one thing on Sunday: the return of the rain, which had soaked the track on Friday.