Sachsenring pole for Bagnaia as Ducati star edges ahead of Quartararo

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Francesco Bagnaia set a scorching pace to earn pole position for the German Grand Prix, but championship leader Fabio Quartararo served notice he is "ready to fight" for the win.

After setting Sachsenring lap records earlier in the day, a time of one minute and 19.931 seconds by Ducati's Bagnaia clinched first place on the grid for Sunday's race.

Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamaha) was next quickest, with Johann Zarco (Pramac Racing) completing the front row.

Bagnaia has won twice in his last four races but failed to finish on the other two occasions. The Italian rider has chalked up an unfortunate three abandonments this season in nine MotoGP outings, one more failure to finish than he suffered in last year's 18-race campaign.

"Today the qualifying wasn't easy. It was very hot and the wind was disturbing us a bit," Bagnaia said. "I'm very happy about this pole position."

Frenchman Quartararo has finished on the podium in four of his last five races, with the 23-year-old taking the win last time out at the Catalan Grand Prix and going 22 points clear of nearest rival Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia) in the process.

Espargaro blundered in that race by celebrating a podium a lap too early, having miscounted, and dropped from second place to fifth as a consequence.

This time Espargaro will start fourth on the grid, no doubt counting the laps more carefully.

Quartararo senses threats from his rivals but is up for the challenge.

"They look so competitive. Aprilia and Ducati are looking fast, but I feel ready to fight with them," Quartararo said. "I think we are able to make great pace, not only in one lap, so I'm super happy to qualify in the front row today."

Quartararo experienced the rare mishap of seeing his visor break during free practice early on Saturday, and he swallowed up the responsibility.

"I'm always the first rider to do something strange," he said. "I think I didn't close it well, and when I turned around the visor came up, and then with the speed it came off, but I think it was my mistake."

Alex Rins pulled out of the race early on Saturday after feeling discomfort from the fractured left wrist injury he suffered in Barcelona, while Marc Marquez remains absent.

Six-time MotoGP champion Marquez has won the last eight editions of the German Grand Prix.

PROVISIONAL GRID

1. Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati) – 1:19.931
2. Fabio Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamaha) + 0.076
3. Johann Zarco (Pramac Racing) + 0.099
4. Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia) + 0.189
5. Fabio Di Giannantonio (Gresini) + 0.197
6. Jack Miller (Ducati) + 0.219
7. Luca Marini (Mooney VR46) + 0.237
8. Jorge Martin (Pramac Racing) + 0.288
9. Maverick Viñales (Aprilia) + 0.537
10. Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda) + 0.631

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