Miller takes first pole in four years at San Marino MotoGP

·2-min read

Jack Miller claimed pole position at the San Marino MotoGP on Saturday to give the Australian his second premier class start at the head of the grid.

Ducati rider Miller, who last took pole in Argentina in 2018, posted a best time of one minute and 31.899 seconds on his eighth lap of an exciting, if damp qualifying charge at Misano.

It capped a perfect day for Miller who had also come out on top of the practice times earlier on Saturday.

The 27-year-old finished just 0.015sec ahead of his teammate Francesco Bagnaia who will however start Sunday's race in fifth after being hit with a three-place grid penalty on Friday.

Bagnaia was judged to have impeded Alex Marquez during Friday morning's practice, dealing a blow to the Italian's chances of closing the 44-point gap between him and championship leader Fabio Quartararo.

The 25-year-old will however start further up the grid than reigning world champion Quartararo after the Frenchman finished 0.347sec behind Miller and took ninth place on the grid.

He is one place ahead of Aleix Espargaro, who sits second in the overall standings and 32 points behind Quartararo.

Valentino Rossi's half-brother Luca Marini placed a respectable seventh after pipping Jorge Martin in the first qualifying session to claim a spot in the pole-deciding second session.

Martin had initially been set to take part in the second qualifying session until he was bumped back down to 15th after his best lap in Saturday's early practice session was scrubbed out.

The Spaniard then looked to have re-earned himself a chance to battle for pole but a perfectly-timed 1:32.004 from Marini just before rain started to fall on the track gave the Italian second place in Q1 and consigned Martin to 13th on the grid.

In Moto3 Deniz Oncu claimed the pole with a time of 1:42.448sec as championship leader Sergio Garcia finished way back in 13th, 0.649sec off the pace.

Garcia stands atop the Moto3 standings with 193 points, 15 ahead of teammate and fellow Spaniard Izan Guevara who claimed fifth spot on the grid for Sunday.

td/ea