Espargaro lands surprise Suzuki pole
Aleix Espargaro headed a shock Suzuki one-two in qualifying for the MotoGP Catalunya Grand Prix.
The Suzukis emerged on top in what proved to be an action packed session which saw the Circuit de Catalunya lap record broken on several occasions.
It was Espargaro, who prevailed with an impressive 1:40.546s effort set in the final three minutes to secure Suzuki’s first pole position since Australian Chris Vermeulen’s triumph at Assen in 2007.
Maverick Vinales backed up the Japanese manufacturer’s pace by claiming second spot with his last gasp personal best just 0.083s adrift of his team-mate.
The factory Yamaha of Jorge Lorenzo, who was the first rider to break the circuit lap record, will join the Suzukis on the front row in third.
Reigning world champion Marc Marquez, aboard the works Honda, was fourth fastest 0.2s shy of the pace set by Espargaro.
Ducati’s Andrea Dovizioso will start Sunday’s race from fifth position alongside the sister Honda of Dani Pedrosa.
It was a difficult session for championship leader Valentino Rossi, who could only set a time good enough for seventh spot, with the nine-time world champion more than half a second off the pace.
British duo Bradley Smith (Tech 3 Yamaha) and Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda) will complete the third row of the grid, while Pramac Ducati’s Yonny Hernandez rounded out the top 10.
Australia’s Jack Miller will start from 21st position on the grid for LCR Honda.
Result: MotoGP Grand Prix of Catalunya Qualifying
|8||Bradley Smith||Tech 3 Yamaha||1:41.068s||+0.522s|
|9||Cal Crutchlow||LCR Honda||1:41.195s||+0.649s|
|10||Yonny Hernández||Pramac Ducati||1:41.333s||+0.787s|
|11||Pol Espargaró||Tech 3 Yamaha||1:41.385s||+0.839s|
|13||Héctor Barberá||Pramac Ducati||1:42.003s||+1.457s|
|14||Scott Redding||Marc VDS Honda||1:42.029s||+1.483s|
|15||Stefan Bradl||Yamaha Forward||1:42.053s||+1.507s|
|17||Mike Di Meglio||Avintia Ducati||1:42.273s||+1.727s|
|18||Nicky Hayden||Aspar Honda||1:42.485s||+1.939s|
|19||Loris Baz||Yamaha Forward||1:42.592s||+2.046s|
|20||Álvaro Bautista||Gresini Aprilia||1:42.600s||+2.054s|
|21||Jack Miller||LCR Honda||1:42.928s||+2.382s|
|22||Eugene Laverty||Aspar Honda||1:42.971s||+2.425s|
|23||Alex de Angelis||ART/Aprilia||1:43.601s||+3.055s|
|24||Marco Melandri||Gresini Aprilia||1:44.345s||+3.799s|