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Last-gasp Quartararo takes pole for French MotoGP

Championship leader Fabio Quartararo will start his home French MotoGP from pole position, after a thrilling final lap Saturday that put him ahead of Jack Miller and Danilo Petrucci in qualifying.

The Frenchman edged Miller in the dying seconds of the qualifying session.

“It feels special because the conditions were really tricky, it was really cold and it took me a while to warm up the front tyre,” said the 21-year-old Yamaha rider, who leads Joan Mir by eight points in the title race.

“I was confident I knew where we needed to take risks.  

“I am so happy to exit from the front row. We have two Ducatis there as well so we will struggle but we have the base to do well tomorrow.” 

It is the ninth pole of the young Frenchman’s MotoGP career and the first since the Andalusia GP at the end of July.

Mir crashed his Suzuki late in the morning practice session and missed out on an automatic pass to Q2. Instead he went into Q1, but failed to grab one of the last two places in Q2, leaving him to start from 14th. 

Miller also crashed during the morning session but the Australian reached Q2 and seized an unexpected spot on the front row.

“I gave the maximum especially that last lap when the front was bouncing,” he said. “After the crash this morning I am happy to take second.”

American rider Joe Roberts produced some late heroics to claim pole in the Moto2 race, his final lap of 1min 36.256 just outside the lap record. 

It was 87 thousandths of a second quicker than British rider Sam Lowes with Aussie Remy Gardner completing the front row.

Jaume Masia on a Honda took pole for the Moto3 race, edging Albert Arenas by 0.20 seconds with the Honda of John McPhee completing the front row. Championship leader Ai Ogura crashed on his opening lap and faces a big fight back on Sunday.

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