Miller takes Misano pole, 'angry' Espargaro to start in ninth

·2-min read

Jack Miller claimed a long-awaited pole position and Aleix Espargaro was left "angry and disappointed" after he could only qualify in ninth at the San Marino Grand Prix.

Ducati rider Miller will start at the front of the grid for the first time in four years after he clocked a quickest lap of one minute and 31.889 seconds on a rainy Saturday in Misano.

Francesco Bagnaia was second-fastest - but will start in fifth after being handed a three-place grid penalty - and Enea Bastianini third, with MotoGP championship leader Fabio Quartararo only eighth.

Espargaro, who trails Quartararo by 32 points, will begin Sunday's race in ninth place and says he was not prepared to take any risks in tricky conditions after a crash at Silverstone last month left him with a fractured heel.

Aprilia Racing's Espargaro knows he will have to take a more aggressive approach on race day.

He said: "My guys said, 'Fabio is [just] in front of you'. But I don't care. This is a very special GP. I want to finish on the podium because it's the home race of Aprilia."

The Spaniard added: "When I left pit lane I felt a mix of angry and disappointed. Because to ride in these conditions is very tricky, very dangerous,

"I touched a white line in the first lap and almost flew [off]. So I tried to focus and make no mistakes, go as fast as possible but without risk. And maybe I had to risk a little bit more because ninth place is not good.

"I didn't want to make a stupid mistake like I did in Silverstone, because there are still a lot of points, a lot of races, a lot of days in front of us. It's just qualifying.

"But obviously if it rains tomorrow, I will have to risk a bit more because you get the points, not today.

"I know that if I want to fight for the championship, I need to finish on the podium. So this is what I'm aiming for."

Andrea Dovizioso will start his final MotoGP race before retiring back in 18th.

PROVISIONAL GRID

1. Jack Miller (Ducati) 1:31.889
2. Enea Bastianini (Gresini Racing) + 0.115
3. Marco Bezzecchi (Mooney VR46 Racing Team) + 0.149
4. Maverick Vinales (Aprilia Racing) + 0.219
5..Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati) + 0.115
6. Johann Zarco (Prima Pramac Racing) + 0.270
7. Luca Marini (Mooney VR46 Racing Team) + 0.327
8. Fabio Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamaha) + 0.347
9. Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing) + 0.678
10. Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) + 0.876