Sport MotoGP title rivals grid-locked in Emilia-Romagna practice
Two new tracks highlight the provisional MotoGP 2022 schedule
The provisional 2022 MotoGP calendar has 21 dates that begin in March in Qatar and end in November in Spain.The season kicks off in its accustomed location in Qatar under the lights on March 6-8, but quickly mixes things up with their first of two new venues two weeks later.
Title rivals Fabio Quartararo and Francesco Bagnaia will have to battle through the first qualifying session to have a chance of making the top 12 on the grid for Sunday's Emilia-Romagna MotoGP.
Both struggled in the morning session with title leader Quartararo finishing 15th overall and Bagnaia 11th.
The latter's poor final placing was in stark contrast to three other Ducati riders -- Johann Zarco, Jorge Martin and Jack Miller -- who filled the top three positions.
Quartararo eyes MotoGP title as Rossi waves goodbye to Misano
Fabio Quartararo is within touching distance of his first MotoGP world title at Sunday's Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix which will host Valentino Rossi's final farewell to his adoring Italian fans. Up to 35,000 fans are expected at the track on Sunday for Rossi's final MotoGP race on Italian soil, hoping for one last flourish in front of a yellow wall of supporters. Rossi has failed to set the track alight during his slow march towards retirement at the end of the season and sits 21st in the overall standings after only making the top 10 twice all season.
With both finishing outside the top 10 they must hope to fill the top two positions in Saturday's first qualifying session to contest the second one which decides the top 12 places on the grid for Sunday's race.
Quartararo is bidding to become the first Frenchman to be crowned world champion in the category and could seal the title this weekend.
The 22-year-old leads Italian rider Bagnaia by 52 points with three races remaining.
Bagnaia beat his French rival on the same circuit in the San Marino GP in September.
Overall placings after three practice sessions:
1. Johann Zarco (FRA/Ducati-Pramac) 1min 40.384sec, 2. Jorge Martin (ESP/Ducati-Pramac) at 0.087sec, 3. Jack Miller (AUS/Ducati) 0.136, 4. Miguel Oliveira (POR/KTM) 0.448, 5. Marc Marquez (ESP/Honda) 0.471, 6. Pol Espargaro (ESP/Honda) 0.541, 7. Franco Morbidelli (ITA/Yamaha-SRT) 0.558, 8. Aleix Espargaro (ESP/Aprilia) 0.580, 9. Danilo Petrucci (ITA/KTM-Tech3) 0.583, 10. Luca Marini (ITA/Ducati-Avintia) 0.601
11. Francesco Bagnaia (ITA/Ducati) 0.737, 15. Fabio Quartararo (FRA/Yamaha) 0.891, 23. Valentino Rossi (ITA/Yamaha-SRT) 2.217
Note: The top 10 move directly to the second qualifying session which determines the make-up of the top 12 on the grid for Sunday's race. The top two from the first qualifying session join them for session two.
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