Championship leader Marc Marquez set an incredible lap time of 2’00.691 to clinch pole position for Sunday’s Hertz British Grand Prix. The Repsol Honda Team rider went head-to-head with reigning World Champion Jorge Lorenzo, who will start second from Cal Crutchlow (Monster Yamaha Tech3) in third position.
Marquez’s remarkable effort sees the Spaniard take his fifth pole of the season and third in five Grand Prix weekends, beating Lorenzo (Yamaha Factory Racing) by just over one tenth of a second while third-placed Crutchlow was a further six tenths in arrears; however this came after two separate crashes for Crutchlow during third practice this morning.
Marquez was quick to point out he did not foresee such record pace.
“If I’m honest, I didn’t expect that lap time…especially with the first (rear) tyre,” the 20-year-old Spaniard smiled immediately after qualifying. “I had many slides and was pushing 100% but, despite that, the lap time was still really good.
Then, with the second tyre, I thought I could maybe be one or two tenths faster, but it was immediately half a second faster on the first lap. On the second lap, I said, ‘I will not push more because I have already done a good lap time!’ For tomorrow, we will see. It will be interesting to see the race because at this circuit both types of rear tyre are working quite well, so it will be interesting to see which is the best one.”
Having pole position snatched away in the closing moments, Lorenzo is confident as he heads into race day with the knowledge that he has won two of his three premier class races at Silverstone.
Jorge Lorenzo: “It’s not fantastic because we didn’t make pole position. I was surprised about the improvement from the pace lap to the qualifying lap, it was a big jump, almost one second and a half. When I saw my lap time on my bike I thought I made pole position but when I saw the classification I saw P2 and was disappointed as I put all my effort into the lap, but it wasn’t enough. Race pace is good but we have to see where the others are tomorrow.”
The top five was completed by LCR Honda MotoGP’s Stefan Bradl and Marquez’s teammate Dani Pedrosa, who was the final rider within one second of the pole position time – a new qualifying record. Second Yamaha Factory Racing rider Valentino Rossi will complete Row 2 in sixth position.
Stefan Bradl: “For sure this is the position we deserve because we improved a lot from yesterday and we finally achieved our target. This is a good sign because, in the last two rounds in Indianapolis and Brno, we were fast on Friday but we dropped off a bit on Saturday so I am quite happy about this qualifying session. I could push and ride the bike as I would like and must thank the team for their efforts: it’s nice to start from the front again.”
Pedrosa appeared to languish a worrying nine tenths of a second adrift, but has explained why the eventual gap to the front was much larger than expected.
“We improved our pace today and drew some positive conclusions from practice. However, in qualifying things didn’t go that well for us. I made a couple of mistakes and was unable to get a better starting position. We will start from fifth, so the important thing for us will be to focus on getting the set-up right, putting in the maximum effort to get a good start and have a strong race.”
Third row will consist of Ducati Team duo Andrea Dovizioso and Nicky Hayden who sandwich GO&FUN Honda Gresini’s Alvaro Bautista in seventh, eighth and ninth places.
Alvaro Bautista: “Today we worked to solve the grip problem that we have been having, and we found a partial solution this morning. In the afternoon we continued in the same way, trying out the hard rear tyre, but we couldn’t find any improvement. In qualifying we went back to the setting from the morning, but the bike didn’t replicate the performance that it had this morning, and that made things difficult again.”
The top ten was completed by Tech3’s Bradley Smith, while NGM Mobile Forward Racing’s Colin Edwards appeared in Q2 for the third successive event and achieves his best qualifying result of the year so far in 11th.
CRT counterpart Aleix Espargaro was absent from Q2 following a crash in final practice; having injured his neck and the fourth finger of his left hand, the Power Electronics Aspar rider’s race participation will now be subject to a Sunday medical check-up.
Espargaro’s teammate Randy de Puniet missed out on Q2 by just six thousandths of a second and is therefore set to line up 13th, while Avintia Blusens’ Hector Barbera also improved at the end of Q1 and will be 14th on the grid.
Britain’s Michael Laverty, who like compatriot Crutchlow crashed in morning practice, has qualified 19th for PBM while Australian Bryan Staring completes the grid on the Gresini CRT machine.
Ducati test rider Michele Pirro is again replacing the re-injured Ben Spies at Pramac. Cardion AB Motoracing’s Karel Abraham is not at Silverstone, having elected to skip the race in order to recover from injuries he received in an Indianapolis crash.
1. Marc Marquez ESP Repsol Honda Team (RC213V) 2m 0.691s
2. Jorge Lorenzo ESP Yamaha Factory Racing (YZR-M1) 2m 0.819s
3. Cal Crutchlow GBR Monster Yamaha Tech 3 (YZR-M1) 2m 1.425s
4. Stefan Bradl GER LCR Honda MotoGP (RC213V) 2m 1.558s
5. Dani Pedrosa ESP Repsol Honda Team (RC213V) 2m 1.624s
6. Valentino Rossi ITA Yamaha Factory Racing (YZR-M1) 2m 2.109s
7. Andrea Dovizioso ITA Ducati Team (GP13) 2m 2.123s
8. Alvaro Bautista ESP Go&Fun Honda Gresini (RC213V) 2m 2.252s
9. Nicky Hayden USA Ducati Team (GP13) 2m 2.289s
10. Bradley Smith GBR Monster Yamaha Tech 3 (YZR-M1) 2m 2.409s
11. Colin Edwards USA NGM Forward Racing (FTR-Kawasaki CRT)* 2m 4.032s
12. Aleix Espargaro ESP Power Electronics Aspar (ART CRT) No Time
13. Randy De Puniet FRA Power Electronics Aspar (ART CRT) 2m 4.114s
14. Hector Barbera ESP Avintia Blusens (FTR-Kawasaki CRT)* 2m 4.236s
15. Michele Pirro ITA Ignite Pramac Racing (GP13) 2m 4.680s
16. Andrea Iannone ITA Energy T.I. Pramac Racing (GP13) 2m 4.692s
17. Yonny Hernandez COL Paul Bird Motorsport (ART CRT) 2m 4.749s
18. Danilo Petrucci ITA Came IodaRacing Project (Suter-BMW CRT)* 2m 4.798s
19. Michael Laverty GBR Paul Bird Motorsport (PBM-ART CRT)* 2m 4.936s
20. Claudio Corti ITA NGM Forward Racing (FTR-Kawasaki CRT)* 2m 5.356s
21. Hiroshi Aoyama JPN Avintia Blusens (FTR-Kawasaki CRT)* 2m 5.622s
22. Lukas Pesek CZE Came IodaRacing Project (Suter-BMW CRT)* 2m 7.261s
23. Bryan Staring AUS Go&Fun Honda Gresini (FTR-Honda CRT) 2m 7.300s
* Standard ECU.
Fastest practice time
Jorge Lorenzo ESP Yamaha2m 2.049s (FP4)
Official Silverstone MotoGP records
Best lap: Casey Stoner AUS Honda2m 2.020s (2011)
Fastest race lap: Jorge Lorenzo ESP Yamaha2m 2.888s (2012)