Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda Team) the will see the lights go out from front row tomorrow, at the Gran Premi Monster Energy de Catalunya de MotoGP™. A hard-earned pole position for Pedrosa: he repeated his 2014 pole at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, amassing 30 pole positions overall in his racing career (two of them this season). Many of the 55.935 motorcycling lovers cheering from the grandstands celebrated the other two pole positions, which ended up in local hands as well: Álex Márquez (Team EG 0,0 Marc VDS) will head the Moto2™ starting grid, and Jorge Martín (Del Conca Gresini Moto3™) will emulate him in Moto3™.
As all riders struggled to find a good front tyre balance, Pedrosa’s finesse allowed him to tweak his bike and adapt it better than the rest. The qualifying seemed doomed to be a private battle between Marc Márquez (Repsol Honda Team) -who had kept the first three free practice sessions under his grip-, and Pedrosa -who maintained a consistent pace in FP4 and was the sole rider under the 1:44 mark in the qualifying. In the end, Pedrosa posted a 1m 43.870s flying lap in the F1 track configuration the Safety Commission imposed last night.
Márquez was less fortunate and crashed twice during the Qualifying Practice (and also in FP3 and later in FP4), both times after having lost the front end of his bike -a major headache for him and his team all through the season. Before being forced out, Márquez managed a fourth fastest, 0.450 seconds off the pace and 0.028s ahead of team mate Aleix Espargaró (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini), who wound up 5th, and 0.033 seconds ahead of 6th placed Héctor Barberá (Reale Avintia Racing).
Jorge Lorenzo –second in qualifying, 0.331 off the lead- earned his maiden first row position since landing in the Ducati Team, and will start next to Danilo Petrucci (OCTO Pramac Racing), third, 0.350 seconds slower. Last race winner Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team) will be in third row of the grid, after finishing 7th, 0.581 seconds off the pace.
The two tickets to get in Q2 were in fierce dispute, with distinguished contenders such as the two Movistar Yamaha MotoGP™ men, Maverick Viñales and Valentino Rossi, or the two Monster Yamaha Tech 3 riders, Jonas Folger and Johann Zarco. Folger led the Q1 unchallenged, but a tougher battle was waged for the second spot, with Viñales toiling to keep Rossi and Zarco at bay. He eventually pulled tiny 0.040 and 0.060 second gaps from them.
In Q2, Mack did his best to qualify high up and overcome the serious front tyre issues his outfit is encountering at this grand prix. He ended 9th, 0.750 seconds off the lead, slotted between 8th placed Folger (+0.730) and Álvaro Bautista (Pull&Bear Aspar Team), 10th (+0.870s).
Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda Team): “My team and I worked really hard all weekend. The keys for the race will be a good tyre choice –especially bearing in mind front tyre degradation- and managing the heat”.
Jorge Lorenzo (Ducati Team): “I’ve got the pace, and I fully trust that I’ll do better than in Mugello. Tyres will be essential tomorrow”.
Danilo Petrucci (OCTO Pramac Racing): “Rear tyre management is going to be tricky. My riding style is aggressive, and I hope I’ll be able to save a bit of rubber in the rear for the final stint”.
Álex Márquez lords over Moto2™
Ález Márquez was the undisputed star in the Moto2™ class. The Team EG 0,0 Marc VDS rider clinched his second ever pole in the intermediate class, after his first in Jerez. He stamped his authority in the qualifying session and will start from pole tomorrow, flanked by two Italians, Mattia Pasini (Italtrans Racing Team) and Lorenzo Baldassarri (Forward Racing Team). World championship leader Franco Morbidelli (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) will start from P6, next to second overall Thomas Luthi (CarXpert Interwetten), who wound up fifth.
Among the Spaniards, Jorge Navarro (Federal Oil Gresini Moto2™) finished 8th, Áxel Pons (RW Racing GP) was 9th, and Isaac Viñales (BE-A-VIP SAG Team) closed the top 10. Xavi Vierge (Tech 3 Racing) went down in his last- minute attempt to improve his lap and finished 11th.
Álex Márquez (Team EG 0,0 Marc VDS): “Achieving a home pole is fantastic. I’m really happy, I had a good feeling and a good pace all day. Tomorrow I’ll have a good opportunity to close the gap in the overall standings, but we need to keep a cool head”.
Jorge Martín snatches his 4th Moto3™ pole position
Madrid rider Jorge Martín (Del Conca Gresini Moto3) was the fastest man at the Gran Premi Monster Energy de Catalunya de MotoGP™ qualifying session, on 1m 53.368s. Martín collected his fourth consecutive pole position – and fifth in the season. Arón Canet (Estrella Galicia 0,0) clocked the second fastest lap, but was handed a penalty for slowing traffic on the track, and will start from second row.
Juanfran Guevara (RBA BOE Racing Team, +0.659s) and Italian Romano Fenati (Marinelli Rivacold Snipers, +0.663s) will complete the front row. Championship leader Joan Mir (Leopard Racing), Arón Canet and Marcos Ramírez (Platinum Bay Real Estate) make up the second row.
Jorge Martín (Del Conca Gresini Moto3): “I felt really well from early this morning. I felt I could challenge for pole and, to be frank, I didn’t push to the limit. I am happy, but then you need to do well in the race. I’m still a bit bitter after Mugello”.
Tickets for sale
Tickets for the Gran Premi Monster Energy de Catalunya de MotoGP™, are available at the Circuit website (www.circuitcat.com) or at the box offices opening tomorrow at 7 am. Doors will also open at 7 am. Free parking lots for cars and bikes will open an hour earlier.