Following qualifying for the Red Bull U.S. Grand Prix, Stefan Bradl, courtesy of a 1’21.176 lap time, is celebrating the fact that he is the first ever German pole-sitter in the premier class of MotoGP. Jorge Lorenzo and Dani Pedrosa have qualified sixth and seventh, respectively.
Bradl (LCR Honda MotoGP) has also become the first ever rider to achieve the qualifying top spot at Laguna Seca aboard a satellite machine.
The 2011 Moto2 World Champion will share the front row of the grid with championship leader Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) and Alvaro Bautista (GO&FUN Honda Gresini), who help to make up an all-Honda front row at Laguna Seca.
Stefan Bradl: “It’s really nice to be on pole, for sure. It was one of the best laps I had ever done. I put a lot of effort into this qualifying because I knew it was going to be tough.
“I had a clear track with my second tyre and I just went for it. I was really happy, especially with the last section which I think I was doing really fast. It’s really nice to be here and I will enjoy it. For sure, it will be a little bit different for tomorrow, but we know we have the pace and we will keep going.”
Marc Marquez: “On the first tyre, maybe I was able to be a bit faster, but when I tried it I lost the front,” Marquez recalled. “On the first tyre I pushed but maybe not to my limit, and then on the second I pushed but maybe too early. Already on the first lap I tried to push because I felt like the grip was quite good.”
Explaining his Q2 crash at Turn 6 in further detail, the Spaniard continued: “I went in a little bit faster and then lost the front as soon as I touched the gas. Anyway, I am happy, the rhythm is good, I feel so good on the bike and we are working well. The race is tomorrow and I think we can have a good result.”
Marquez – whose challenge ended with a crash at Turn 6 minutes before the chequered flag came out – was 17 thousandths of a second slower than on his first weekend at the Californian circuit, having topped three of the four practice sessions.
Alvaro Bautista: “I am so happy, it’s so good for us, I don’t know what happened, exactly, because we haven’t changed too much from the last race. After the (first-lap) crash in Barcelona, I have gone step-by-step and not wanting to do too much. At the Sachsenring we did well and here, from the first practice, I have felt very comfortable riding the bike.”
Row 2 is headed up by Yamaha Factory Racing’s Valentino Rossi, ahead of Monster Yamaha Tech 3’s Cal Crutchlow who appeared late in Q2 on his second bike, having crashed his first at Turn 3 during final practice. Rossi’s team-mate Lorenzo, still suffering from a broken and very painful left collarbone and who missed last weekend’s German Grand Prix, will set off from sixth place and the back of the second row.
Repsol Honda’s Dani Pedrosa was also absent from the Sachsenring race as well as Free Practices 1 and 3 here; he – similarly suffering with his left collarbone – will head up Row 3, having moved into the shootout from Q1 for the first time, ahead of Ducati Team’s Andrea Dovizioso who jumped ahead of Tech 3’s Bradley Smith late in Q2.
Americans Nicky Hayden and Colin Edwards will start tenth and 15th for their respective Ducati Team and NGM Mobile Forward Racing outfits, but compatriot and wildcard entrant Blake Young has withdrawn from the event after damaging his sole Attack Performance Racing APR frame in a crash on Friday.
There was also a crash for Randy de Puniet, as the Frenchman – who had reached Q2 for the third time this year – went down at Turn 3. He will start 12th, ahead of teammate Aleix Espargaro who led the CRTs for the ninth time in as many races this season.
In 14th spot will be Ignite Pramac Racing’s Alex de Angelis, making a one-off return to the top class from Moto2™ as a substitute for Ben Spies, who is set to make a comeback at Indianapolis following the summer break.
Energy T.I. Pramac Racing’s Andrea Iannone, who would have been alongside de Angelis in the garage, has not travelled to the USA after dislocating his right shoulder last time out in Germany. Another faller in qualifying was Karel Abraham (Cardion AB Motoracing, 19th on grid), who went down and slid across the Turn 10 gravel trap in Q1.
1 Stefan Bradl 1’21.176 GER HONDA LCR Honda MotoGP
2 Marc Marquez 1’21.193 SPA HONDA Repsol Honda Team
3 Alvaro Bautista 1’21.373 SPA HONDA Go & Fun Honda Gresini
4 Valentino Rossi 1’21.418 ITA YAMAHA Yamaha Factory Racing
5 Cal Crutchlow 1’21.420 GBR YAMAHA Monster Yamaha Tech 3
6 Jorge Lorenzo 1’21.453 SPA YAMAHA Yamaha Factory Racing
7 Dani Pedrosa 1’21.728 SPA HONDA Repsol Honda Team
8 Andrea Dovizioso 1’22.026 ITA DUCATI Ducati Team
9 Bradley Smith 1’22.075 GBR YAMAHA Monster Yamaha Tech 3
10 Nicky Hayden 1’22.090 USA DUCATI Ducati Team
11 Aleix Espargaro 1’22.099 SPA ART Power Electronics Aspar
12 Randy De Puniet 1’22.694 FRA SUZUKI Suzuki Test Team
13 Hector Barbera 1’22.808 SPA FTR Avintia Blusens
14 Alex De Angelis 1’23.253 RSM DUCATI Ignite Pramac Racing Team
15 Colin Edwards 1’23.272 USA FTR-KAWASAKI NGM Mobile Forward Racing
16 Danilo Petrucci 1’23.323 ITA IODA-SUTER Came IodaRacing Project
17 Claudio Corti 1’23.616 ITA FTR-KAWASAKI NGM Mobile Forward Racing
18 Yonny Hernandez 1’23.875 COL PBM Paul Bird Motorsport
19 Karel Abraham 1’23.919 CZE ART Cardion AB Motoracing
20 Michael Laverty 1’23.987 GBR PBM Paul Bird Motorsport
21 Hiroshi Aoyama 1’24.235 JAP FTR Avintia Blusens
22 Bryan Staring 1’24.756 AUS FTR-HONDA Go & Fun Honda Gresini
23 Lukas Pesek 1’24.809 CZE IODA-SUTER Came IodaRacing Project