Repsol Honda Team’s Dani Pedrosa secured his first pole position for the year at the Gran Premi Monster Energy de Catalunya, ahead of Jorge Lorenzo and world championship leader, Marc Marquez.
At his home event Pedrosa took his first pole since the 2013 Catalan Grand Prix with a 1’40.985s lap in the Barcelona-Catalunya heat and in doing so the Repsol Honda rider ended Marquez’ successive pole run. For full Q2 results click here.
Dani Pedrosa: “I am very happy to have taken pole position today, in front of my family and the home fans! I am also delighted that, for the first time this year, I felt good on the bike in qualifying. I’ll try and get a good start from pole position tomorrow, I am sure that it will be very hot and we will have to manage the tyres well during the race, but we will try to do as well as possible!”
Following his fascinating battle with Marquez at Mugello Lorenzo (pictured below), qualified in second place and will be looking forward to fighting the Honda riders again at a track where the Mallorcan has a strong record and has won the last two MotoGP races.
Marquez walked away from his first crash of the year after losing the front end at turn 1 towards the end of the session. The young MotoGP World Champion therefore starts third on the grid, his first non-pole result since Motegi last year.
Jorge Lorenzo: “I made a very good lap, I risked a lot, especially in the braking to make it. Finally we made a good setting for this track, it’s hard because with the track and temperatures it’s hard to make the bike stable. Tomorrow we will try to make it even more stable. We hope to remain consistent and strong like in Mugello to fight for the win again. We all hope it doesn’t rain because a wet race would be difficult to judge. It would be great to win, everyone wants to!”
Marc Marquez: “Today I made the first mistake of the season, so I need to apologise to the team because it was my fault. The strategy we had set out was coming together perfectly, but when riding with the last tyre I braked too late. I knew it was my last attempt, so I tried to go into the corner anyway. That was not the best choice; I should have written off the lap, but these things happen when you are riding at home; you always try to give a little bit extra. We know for tomorrow that there is no more room for improvement on that corner and that we have a good setup with which to fight for the win”
German rider Stefan Bradl (LCR Honda MotoGP), who himself suffered two big crashes at Mugello, qualified fourth after looking sharp in practice earlier in the day.
Stefan Bradl: “These two days have been very positive for us and we are quite happy about this second row. We demonstrated that our pace is pretty good in all sessions and we are not far from the front guys. Before the qualifying session we made some little adjustments on the suspensions that worked pretty good and the tyre situation is clear now.”
Valentino Rossi (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) admits qualifying is not currently his strongest point but he equaled his second best Q2 result of 2014 so far in fifth, having qualified 10th last time out in Mugello.
Another home rider Aleix Espargaro (NGM Forward Racing) was delighted with his qualifying effort as he completed row two, just 0.323s behind Pedrosa.
Row three will feature Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team), Bradley Smith (Monster Yamaha Tech3) and Yonny Hernandez (Energy T.I. Pramac Racing), with Hernandez riding well for ninth.
The fourth row will comprise Pol Espargaro (Monster Yamaha Tech3), Andrea Iannone (Pramac Racing) and Alvaro Bautista (GO&FUN Honda Gresini). Iannone and Bautista made it through from Q1 as spots of rain threatened to disrupt Q2.
The conditions stayed dry but Bautista suffered a big Q2 highside at turn 7 and was stretchered away, though he appeared to be ok.
1. Dani Pedrosa ESP Repsol Honda Team (RC213V) 1m 40.985s 342km/h (Top Speed)
2. Jorge Lorenzo ESP Movistar Yamaha MotoGP (YZR-M1) 1m 41.100s +0.115s 339km/h
3. Marc Marquez ESP Repsol Honda Team (RC213V) 1m 41.135s +0.150s 344km/h
4. Stefan Bradl GER LCR Honda MotoGP (RC213V) 1m 41.220s +0.235s 344km/h
5. Valentino Rossi ITA Movistar Yamaha MotoGP (YZR-M1) 1m 41.290s +0.305s 342km/h
6. Aleix Espargaro ESP NGM Forward Racing (Forward Yamaha) 1m 41.308s +0.323s 335km/h
7. Andrea Dovizioso ITA Ducati Team (Desmosedici) 1m 41.337s +0.352s 343km/h
8. Bradley Smith GBR Monster Yamaha Tech 3 (YZR-M1) 1m 41.491s +0.506s 341km/h
9. Yonny Hernandez COL Pramac Racing (Desmosedici) 1m 41.671s +0.686s 345km/h
10. Pol Espargaro ESP Monster Yamaha Tech 3 (YZR-M1)* 1m 41.677s +0.692s 336km/h
11. Andrea Iannone ITA Pramac Racing (Desmosedici) 1m 41.751s +0.766s 342km/h
12. Alvaro Bautista ESP Go&Fun Honda Gresini (RC213V) 1m 42.024s +1.039s 342km/h
13. Cal Crutchlow GBR Ducati Team (Desmosedici) 1m 42.578s
14. Scott Redding GBR Go&Fun Honda Gresini (RCV1000R)* 1m 42.730s
15. Michele Pirro ITA Ducati Team (Desmosedici) 1m 42.955s
16. Nicky Hayden USA Drive M7 Aspar (RCV1000R) 1m 43.043s
17. Colin Edwards USA NGM Forward Racing (Forward Yamaha) 1m 43.226s
18. Karel Abraham CZE Cardion AB Motoracing (RCV1000R) 1m 43.360s
19. Broc Parkes AUS Paul Bird Motorsport (PBM-ART)* 1m 43.530s
20. Hiroshi Aoyama JPN Drive M7 Aspar (RCV1000R) 1m 43.564s
21. Michael Laverty GBR Paul Bird Motorsport (PBM-ART) 1m 43.737s
22. Hector Barbera ESP Avintia Racing (Avintia) 1m 44.115s
23. Mike Di Meglio FRA Avintia Racing (Avintia)* 1m 45.012s
24. Michel Fabrizio ITA IodaRacing Project (ART) 1m 46.214s
Moto3 – Alex Marquez takes pole – Miller has to settle for 9th
Alex Marquez taken pole in Moto3 with Enea Bastianini and Alex Rins joining him on the front row. Marquez produced a superb 1’50.232 lap to shatter the Barcelona-Catalunya Moto3 pole record and outpace his nearest rival by more than 0.6s.
Bastianini (Junior Team Go&FUN Moto3) will be delighted with his qualifying result, featuring on the front row for the first time, at just his seventh Grand Prix.
Marquez’ Estrella Galicia 0,0 teammate Rins ended up third but had a huge turn 10 highside at the end of the session and suffered a fractured toe on his left foot, with his fitness to be reviewed on Sunday morning.
Improving pair Brad Binder (Ambrogio Racing) and Niklas Ajo (Avant Tecno Husqvarna Ajo) qualified on the second row, ahead of in-form Isaac Viñales (Calvo Team).
Miguel Oliveira (Mahindra Racing) heads row three, joined by Efren Vazquez (SAXOPRINT RTG) and championship leader Jack Miller (Red Bull KTM Ajo), with Vazquez missing much of the session due to an electrical fault which caused issues with putting fuel into his Honda bike.
John McPhee (SAXOPRINT RTG) completed the top ten, whilst Romano Fenati (SKY Racing Team VR46) will start from 16th on the grid. Bryan Schouten and Ana Carrasco both crashed but escaped without serious consequence.
Qualifying results – top 10
1. Alex Marquez SPA Estrella Galicia 0,0 (Honda) 1m 50.232s
2. Enea Bastianini ITA Junior Team GO&FUN Moto3 (KTM) 1m 50.850s
3. Alex Rins SPA Estrella Galicia 0,0 (Honda) 1m 50.912s
4. Brad Binder RSA Ambrogio Racing (Mahindra) 1m 51.024s
5. Niklas Ajo FIN Avant Tecno Husqvarna Ajo (Husqvarna) 1m 51.308s
6. Isaac Viñales SPA Calvo Team (KTM) 1m 51.360s
7. Miguel Oliveira POR Mahindra Racing (Mahindra) 1m 51.456s
8. Efren Vazquez SPA SaxoPrint-RTG (Honda) 1m 51.471s
9. Jack Miller AUS Red Bull KTM Ajo (KTM) 1m 51.481s
10. John McPhee GBR SaxoPrint-RTG (Honda) 1m 51.499s