Espargaro takes pole in his final Catalunya MotoGP, Binder in third

motorsport25 May 2024 10:50| © AFP

Spaniard Aleix Espargaro will start from pole in what will be his final Catalunya MotoGP on Sunday after posting the fastest time on his Aprilia in qualifying.

The 34-year-old Spaniard – who hails from Catalonia – announced on Thursday he will retire at the end of the season.

But that decision has taken none of the edge off his competitiveness as he claimed the sixth pole of his career on Saturday.

Espargaro is seeking to achieve the double of the sprint and the race itself as he did last year.

"I do not have 100 pole positions to my name," said Espargaro, who is seeking a fourth MotoGP success.

"Therefore even if it is just the qualifying I am very happy to have achieved this at home.

"I made several errors on my first fast lap but my second is perhaps the best one of my life."

Ducati's two-time defending world champion Francesco Bagnaia and South African Brad Binder on a KTM complete the first row.

Championship leader Jorge Martin, who has a 38-point advantage over Bagnaia heading into the sixth race of the season, is on the second row on his Ducati-Pramac.

However, six-time world champion Marc Marquez will have to battle his way from 14th spot if the Spanish legend is to secure his third successive podium finish on his Ducati satellite bike.

The 31-year-old Ducati-Gresini rider – whose last MotoGP win dates back to October 2021 – starts just behind his younger brother and teammate Alex.