Jorge Lorenzo (Ducati Team) lived up to the expectations and secured the top spot for the Gran Premi Monster Energy de Catalunya de MotoGP™ starting grid. Marc Márquez (Repsol Honda Team) and Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team) will join him in front row after a blood-tingling day at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya. Coming into round 7 of the championship, Lorenzo will be the sixth rider to sit on pole.
After collecting his first MotoGP™ win for Ducati in Mugello two weeks ago, Lorenzo hammered his rivals and clinched his first pole position on the Desmosedici. For Lorenzo, this is pole number 66 overall (40 in the premier class, and his first after Valencia 2016).
Stopping the clock on 1m38.680s, Lorenzo broke the unofficial racetrack record in the new layout, and pipped Marc Márquez (1m38.746s) to pole in the final minutes of qualifying. Only 0.066 seconds split the two men after an unlikely duel. Márquez had been forced into Q1 as he failed to make the cut, and never before a rider clinched pole position after being promoted from Q1.
Márquez caused raised eyebrows when he fell for the second time this weekend, with three minutes left before the end of FP3. The current championship leader thus ruined the flying lap which would have sent him straight into Q2. He was therefore obliged to compete in Q1 for a passport into Q2. He had not been in this position since the 2015 Italian Grand Prix, and it was only his third occasion since arriving into the pinnacle of motorcycle racing.
The third spot was for Andrea Dovizioso (1m38.923s), 0.243s off fellow Ducati rider Jorge Lorenzo. The Italian will launch from front row for the first time this season in the race scheduled for tomorrow at 2pm. Maverick Viñales (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP™, 4th, +0.465s), Andrea Iannone (Team Suzuki Ecstar, 5th, +0.468s) and Danilo Petrucci (Alma Pramac Racing, 6th, +0.498s) will see the lights go out from the second row. Behind, Valtentino Rossi (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP™, 7th, +0.586), Tito Rabat (Reale Avintia Racing, 9th, +0.824) and Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda Team, 11th, +1.015) will share row three.
Jorge Lorenzo (Ducati Team): “I am really happy with my pole, especially after winning in Mugello. And I’m even happier with the feeling, because I felt really comfortable with the tyres. With the first set, I had no grip on the left side, it seemed the tyre would not warm up. I was able to push harder on the second set”.
Maiden Moto2™ pole for Quartararo
Fabio Quartararo shot into a surprise last-second pole position after a breath-taking qualifying. The HDR – Speed Up Racing rider posted a blistering 1m43.474s final lap and edged home rider Álex Márquez (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) by 116 thousands. Germany’s Marcel Schrotter (Dynavolt Intact GP) will complete the front row in the race scheduled for tomorrow at 12.20pm.
Current championship leader Francesco Bagnaia (SKY Racing Team VR46) did not adapt well to the scorching asphalt and finished 4th, followed by Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Ajo) and Mattia Pasini (Italtrans Racing Team).
Spanish riders Xavi Vierge (Dynavolt Intact GP) and Joan Mir (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) will start from third row after claiming 7th and 8th places, less than 7 tenths off the pace. In fact, the series is so closely matched that 17 riders finished within one second. Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM Ajo), currently second in the overall standings and winner of the previous Grand Prix, dropped down the ranks and will start from P17.
Enea Bastianini breaks Jorge Martín’s pole-position streak
Enea Bastianini (Leopard Racing) fled to pole in Moto3™ on a 1m48.806s blistering lap, breaking a streak of four consecutive pole positions for Jorge Martín (Del Conca Gresini Moto3), who finished right behind him. Third-placed Tatsuki Suzuki (SIC58 Squadra Corse) will launch from the outside of front row. This is Bastianini’s 9th pole in the series, and his first this season.
Finding 19 riders within one second bears testimony to how close racing is in this championship, and it clearly heralds a thrilling race for Sunday. Lights go out for the lightweight class at 11am. Shortly earlier, a one-minute silence will be observed in tribute to young Reale Avintia Academy rider Andreas Pérez, who tragically passed away last Monday after a crash during the FIM CEV race.
Fans will also lap the track
World Championship riders were not alone lapping at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya this weekend. On the eve of the race, and thanks to the Vuelta GP initiative organized by RACC and Motocard, roughly 500 motorbike riders were able to complete a full lap on the track and experience what their heros feel.
Another big attraction was the Monster Party, offering fun and great day and night atmosphere until 2 am. Thousands of fans enjoyed the lively atmosphere, with electronic music by leading DJs. This is just a sample of what motorsports lovers will find tomorrow at the Circuit, with batucadas, human towers (the traditional Catalan “castells”), or Giants and Big-Heads (customed figures paraded in folk festivals). The Family Village will offer live music, food trucks and simulators, as well as activities addressed to the younger in the family -including clowns, workshops and animation by the Minions, the Pink Panther and the Paw Patrol.
In line with its environmentally friendly policy, and trough the KISS (Keep it Shiny and Sustainable) Barcelona Program, the Circuit set up a specific booth to disseminate information about its sustainability program and the measures adopted in order to minimize its environmental impact.
Tickets on sale
Tickets for the Gran Premi Monster Energy de Catalunya de MotoGP™ can still be purchased at www.circuitcat.com, or at the racetrack box offices as of 7am. All doors will open on Sunday at 7am, and all parking lots will be open from 6am. Parking is free for motorbikes and cars.