Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) has taken his sixth pole of the season at the Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli, beating Casey Stoner’s Misano lap record in the process.
The championship leader will start alongside the Yamaha Factory Racing duo of Jorge Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi, with team-mate Dani Pedrosa starting from fourth place on the grid.
Marc Marquez: “I’m very happy with this pole position, as we had a really good hot lap! It’s a shame about the small crash that we had in practice this morning – which was completely my fault – but the important thing is that we know where I made the mistake. In qualifying I felt very comfortable every time on fast laps and was able to put in some quick times.
“We’ll see if we can fight with Jorge tomorrow, as he has a very good pace. Valentino will also be tough to beat, because it is his home race and he has been very strong in practice. I’m sure that he will be fast tomorrow, as will Dani. The aim is to get a good start, try to ride in the lead group at the front and pick up more World Championship points.”
As qualifying drew to a close it looked as though Marquez had beaten Lorenzo by just 24 thousandths of a second. The Repsol Honda Team man (despite having suffered an accident during the preceding fourth practice session) then delivered a crushing blow in the form of 1’32.915, establishing the new qualifying record and sealing his second consecutive pole by over half a second.
Lorenzo was comfortably second ahead of Rossi, both now running with seamless shifter gearboxes for the first time. In fourth spot, Honda’s Pedrosa – on pole last year – was clearly frustrated for the duration of the day and was eight tenths of a second off the pole position time.
Jorge Lorenzo: I expected to struggle less this weekend and go faster than last year but I couldn’t be faster and I couldn’t improve the bike so much. We improved a little but not enough to be closer to Marc. He made an amazing lap. We are struggling to stop the bike in braking and we have more spinning than normal in acceleration, that is why the lap time is not great. I will try to make a good start tomorrow and maybe the best strategy is to follow Marc and see how our performance is during the race.”
Valentino Rossi: “We are satisfied with yesterday and today because we worked very well during the practice, I was always strong and we improved the setting step by step. This afternoon my bike was fantastic; it had a great setting with a lot of grip. With the second tyre I was alone with no traffic and I pushed very much from the first corner with a great feeling with the bike and I improved my lap time a lot.
“I’m happy because it’s very important to start on the front row tomorrow as Marc and Dani are very fast and also Lorenzo is very strong and very fast. Tomorrow I want to arrive on the podium so starting with them from the beginning is important to fight for it. I want a great race and I want to be on the podium!”
Pedrosa had a minor crash in the morning’s session and struggled to find consistent grip throughout yesterday’s sessions. The former 250 and 125 World Champion spent much of qualifying far from the front row but his final lap was impressively fast and enough to lift him to fourth, just a fraction of a second behind Rossi.
Dani Pedrosa: “We had a bit of luck to take fourth on the grid, because we have been having problems with all the rear tyres that we have used. I don’t know exactly what happened, but I didn’t have any grip in any of the sessions today. In the final free practice session we changed the tyres twice, then in qualifying we again switched to new rubber, but there was never a good response.
“We don’t know if the problem is with the tyres, with the bike or with the track surface. In the final moments we made another change and suddenly I had some grip again, and it is thanks to this that we were able to take the fourth fastest time, although this position was certainly short of our aims for today. For tomorrow, however, we are confident that we can get a good start and have a good race.”
Cal Crutchlow delivered an inspiring lap for fifth place, having been outside of the combined top ten in practice which meant he passed through Q1 for the first time. The Englishman will fill the middle of Row 2 ahead of Aleix Espargaro, again very much punching above his weight to qualify his CRT-specification Power Electronics Aspar ART machine in sixth position.
Stefan Bradl starts seventh for LCR Honda MotoGP, ahead of GO&FUN Honda Gresini’s Alvaro Bautista (who finished on the podium here last year) and Ducati Team duo Andrea Dovizioso and Nicky Hayden.
Bautista was 0.132 seconds behind Bradl and his result in free practice had been better but the Spaniard is consoled by the fact that his race pace is good. Tomorrow he will need a good start at a track where the first two corners are a notorious accident spot.
Stefan Bradl: “Even today it was very difficult for us to challenge the front guys. Honestly I am not confident enough and this front-end issue prevented us from making second row. I think that the team made a very good job because we improved the bike a lot from yesterday and we definitely changed a lot of things, but I could adapt quickly. I am definitely trying my hardest but with this limit I could not push myself beyond seventh place today.”
A total of six Italians will start this weekend’s race, two being on Row 4 as Pramac Racing team-mates Michele Pirro and Andrea Iannone have qualified 11th and 12th.
Aussie Bryan Staring (GO&FUN Honda Gresini FTR Honda) was 23rd today, the Australian rookie struggling in the all-important faster sections of the track.
Bradley Smith struggled to 13th spot after at Turn 14 crash at the end of Q1, while Hector Barbera managed 17th place as the only Avintia Blusens rider to be running with a new pneumatic valve engine. The 24-rider grid will be completed by Came IodaRacing Project’s Lukas Pesek, with six races remaining in the 2013 season.
Qualifying Practice Classification
1 Marc Marquez 1’32.915 SPA HONDA Repsol Honda Team
2 Jorge Lorenzo 1’33.428 SPA YAMAHA Yamaha Factory Racing
3 Valentino Rossi 1’33.573 ITA YAMAHA Yamaha Factory Racing
4 Dani Pedrosa 1’33.726 SPA HONDA Repsol Honda Team
5 Cal Crutchlow 1’34.014 GBR YAMAHA Monster Yamaha Tech 3
6 Aleix Espargaro 1’34.028 SPA ART Power Electronics Aspar
7 Stefan Bradl 1’34.098 GER HONDA LCR Honda MotoGP
8 Alvaro Bautista 1’34.230 SPA HONDA Go & Fun Honda Gresini
9 Andrea Dovizioso 1’34.338 ITA DUCATI Ducati Team
10 Nicky Hayden 1’34.362 USA DUCATI Ducati Team
11 Michele Pirro 1’34.467 ITA DUCATI Ignite Pramac Racing Team
12 Andrea Iannone 1’34.519 ITA DUCATI Energy T.I. Pramac Racing Team
13 Bradley Smith 1’34.869 GBR YAMAHA Monster Yamaha Tech 3
14 Colin Edwards 1’35.174 USA FTR-KAWASAKI NGM Mobile Forward Racing
15 Hiroshi Aoyama 1’35.534 JAP FTR Avintia Blusens
16 Randy De Puniet 1’35.596 FRA SUZUKI Suzuki Test Team
17 Hector Barbera 1’35.866 SPA FTR Avintia Blusens
18 Claudio Corti 1’35.885 ITA FTR-KAWASAKI NGM Mobile Forward Racing
19 Danilo Petrucci 1’36.027 ITA IODA-SUTER Came IodaRacing Project
20 Michael Laverty 1’36.788 GBR PBM Paul Bird Motorsport
21 Yonny Hernandez 1’36.844 COL PBM Paul Bird Motorsport
22 Karel Abraham 1’36.877 CZE ART Cardion AB Motoracing
23 Bryan Staring 1’37.283 AUS FTR-HONDA Go & Fun Honda Gresini
24 Lukas Pesek 1’37.886 CZE IODA-SUTER Came IodaRacing Project