The trainee kept the trainers under control today at Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya. Fabio Quartararo (Petronas Yamaha SRT) confirmed the good pace that he had shown yesterday and took his second MotoGP™ pole in front of 48,100 fans. He will be joined on the front row of the Gran Premi Monster Energy de Catalunya de MotoGP™ by Marc Márquez (Repsol Honda Team) and Franco Morbidelli (Petronas Yamaha SRT), who finished third after the penalty imposed to Maverick Viñales.
Fabio Quartararo has shown that age does not matter. Many were already comparing him with Marc Márquez, but today he has made clear that he wants to find his own essence. Quartararo made the fastest lap, the second in this season, after becoming the youngest rider to take a pole in Jerez.
With a time of 1:39.484 Quartararo took the honour position from Marc Márquez. The decision was made final by only 0,015 seconds, a difference of only a thousandth of a second. Marc Márquez had a hard time on the asphalt today. The rider born in Cervera did not feel perfectly comfortable on his Honda, a fact that became clear after the several frights he had today. But despite them all, the reigning champion continues to add front row starts: seven already, something that he did not achieve last year.
Maverick Viñales should have been the third front-row starter. The Yamaha rider had achieved his best qualifying result since the start of the European tour, and he had made it at home, only two tenths of a second (1.39.710) behind Quartararo and Márquez. But this idyllic perspective, disappeared. Viñales was in the focus of attention today after a small incident with Quartararo. The Catalan rider had already reduced his pace and was waving at the spectators while Quartararo was on his last try to improve his lap time. As a consequence, he was penalised with three grid positions, so that he will be starting from the sixth position.
Thus the third position on the grid went finally to Franco Morbidelli, followed by Valentino Rossi, Andrea Dovizioso and Maverick Viñales.
Álex Rins (Team Suzuki Ecstar) did also have a tough day. The Catalan rider was not able to fight for the pole position as he crashed during the last instants of Q2. The same thing happened to Danilo Petrucci (Mission Winnow Ducati), who also lost control of his machine. Petrucci will start tomorrow from the seventh position and Rins from eighth.
Fabio Quartararo: “This pole position is special, as this is one of my favourite racetracks. This year I have hardly been able to make up positions during the race, so I hope to be able to keep this first position tomorrow”.
Augusto Fernández takes his first pole in Moto2™
The intermediate class of the World Championship staged the qualifying session with the highest asphalt temperature. The tyres had to stand 50ºC this noon. And Augusto Fernández (Flexbox HP 40) was able to make the best of it. He clocked the fastest time on his Kalex (1:44.170) and took his first ever pole position at Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya.
Thomas Luthi (Dynavolt Intact GP) and Sam Lowes (Federal Oil Gresini Moto2) finished second and third. The local representatives are found in the second row of the grid, with Jorge Navarro (HDR Heidrun Speed Up) on fourth and Álex Márquez (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) on sixth. In between them, there is Fabio Di Giannantonio (HDR Heidrun Speed Up), and right behind them the leader of the championship, Lorenzo Baldassarri (Flexbox HP 40).
Although the surprise of the day was the performance of Fernandéz, the spotlights will be looking tomorrow for Luthi, Márquez and Baldassarri as well, as they will be featuring once again their particular battle for the Moto2™ title. This trio has been swapping the top positions along the year, but let’s see if this streak will be broken this time at the Gran Premi Monster Energy de Catalunya de MotoGP™.
Gabriel Rodrigo takes the lead Moto3™
Gabriel Rodrigo (Kömmerling Gresini Moto3) took his first pole of the season, fourth in his championship career, today. He did it with a clock of 1:48.450 showing himself very comfortable on two wheels. However, the big surprise of the day was the performance of Ai Ogura (Honda Team Asia), who finished only 21 thousandths of a second behind Rodrigo. The Japanese rider did not loose the chance in Q1 and qualified at the limit in Q2. Nobody would have dared to say that he would be almost clocking the fastest time after fighting to be among the top fifteen. Tony Arbolino continues to improve steadily and after the victory in Italy, he has shown that he is still on top. The VNE Snipers rider stopped the clocks at 1:48.764 and he was the rider with the top speed of the session.
With the front row already having been established, the three top riders will be followed by Tatsuki Suzuki (SIC58 Squadra Corse), Arón Canet (Sterilgarda Max Racing Team) and Albert Arenas (Sama Qatar Angel Nieto Team). Canet, championship leader, was able to leave his crown contenders behind –Dalla Porta and Antonelli–, who finished on eight and twenty-seventh position today. Antonelli hit Carlos Tatay and was not able to finish the qualifying session.
The day at the Gran Premi Monster Energy de Catalunya de MotoGP™ finished with the Vuelta GP (GP Lap), with hundreds of riders enjoying a lap on the track that will be the venue of three world championship races tomorrow.
The Circuit awards a commemorative trophy to the FIM for the 70th anniversary of the World Championship
Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya awarded the FIM today with a commemorative trophy for the 70th anniversary of the World Championship, a date that coincided with the staging of the Gran Premi Monster Energy de Catalunya de MotoGP™. Vicenç Aguilera, Circuit President, presented the trophy as a surprise to Jorge Viegas, FIM President, during an event in which the FIM was celebrating the date together with Carmelo Ezpeleta, Dorna CEO, Mike Trimby, IRTA CEO; Takanao Tsubouchi, MSMA Representative; and Luigi Brenni, former President of the FIM Road Racing Commission.
Tomorrow, the culmination
The Gran Premi Monster Energy de Catalunya de MotoGP™ will conclude tomorrow with the staging of the races of the three championships: Moto3™ at 11 h, Moto2™ at 12.20 h and MotoGP™ at 14 h. The activity on the track will start at 8.40 h with the morning warm-up sessions.
Tickets to enjoy the Gran Premi Monster Energy de Catalunya de MotoGP™ are available at www.circuitcat.com from 45 euros. There are discounts and a wide range of tickets for all tastes and budgets.