MotoGP: Aleix Espargaro secures pole in Catalunya

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Spanish driver Aleix Espargaro claimed Suzuki’s first MotoGP pole position since 2007 in qualifying for the Catalunya Grand Prix on Saturday by setting a new lap record at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya.

Espargaro posted a fastest time of 1:40.546 to edge out teammate Maverick Vinales by just 0.083 seconds at the end of Q2 as the Japanese manufacturer got both of its bikes onto the front row of the grid.

This result marked Espargaro’s second pole position in MotoGP following his success at Assen last year, but the Spaniard will now be looking to convert it into his maiden victory in the championship.

Championship contender Jorge Lorenzo completed the front row of the grid for Yamaha, finishing one-tenth of a second behind Espargaro at the front of the grid but as the leading rider not using the soft tires.

“We made a great job during the two days of practice to save the tires for qualifying so we had three instead of two,” Lorenzo said. “This let us have another chance to be faster.

“But in turn three I went wide and I went on the bumps, losing three tenths. I could have done a 1:40.5. To be the first place with the normal tires is a great feeling as the Hondas are very fast over one lap.”

Defending world champion Marc Marquez will start the race from fourth as the leading Honda rider ahead of teammate Dani Pedrosa in sixth. Ducati’s Andrea Dovizioso split the duo in P5.

Nine-time world champion and current series leader Valentino Rossi had to settle for seventh at the end of the session. The Italian rider will be keen to stop Yamaha teammate Lorenzo’s streak of three straight wins this weekend so as to retain his lead, but will face a tough challenge from so far back on the grid.

To see the complete grid for tomorrow’s Grand Prix of Catalunya, click here.

Andretti United team names drivers for inaugural Extreme E season

Extreme E drivers Andretti
Extreme E
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The Extreme E team formed by Andretti Autosport and United Autosports named Catie Munnings and Timmy Hansen as its drivers Monday for the series’ inaugural 2021 season.

Munnings is a successful veteran of rally series. Hansen is a past winner and champion in the World Rallycross Championship.

They both will race in the environmentally conscious electric SUV series that will hold events in five areas around the world that are threatened by climate change. Chip Ganassi Racing and six-time Formula One champion Lewis Hamilton also are fielding cars in Extreme E, which will feature male and female co-drivers on every team.

Catie Munnings

“I’m so excited to join Andretti United Extreme E,” Munnings said in a release. ““I was really intrigued when I first heard about Extreme E, I just knew I had to be involved. The male / female racing partnership is a fantastic and exciting new concept. The season has incredible locations and the racing will be very exciting. It will be a new challenge for the teams and drivers, and I’m so thrilled to be working with such a strong team.

“The championship is a really innovative concept, it’s combining motorsport and science and will produce an important legacy in each race location. Bringing the platform that motorsport has in line with the awareness that the planet needs right now is awesome and a really important message.”

Timmy Hansen

Said Hansen: “Going into the Extreme E will be a new chapter in my career, one that I am extremely excited about. It is something brand new, not only for me, but the whole of motorsport. The format is something

we’ve never seen before. I’m also delighted to be able to carry the message of something bigger – talking about the environment and doing something good for the world – that’s something that really drives me. It’s going to be a big adventure in life to see these locations and I’m going to do my best in carrying this responsibility and hopefully making people aware of the challenges we have in the world, together with our passion for racing.”