Espargaro lands surprise Suzuki pole

Aleix Espargaro on his way to a landmark pole position for Suzuki

Aleix Espargaro on his way to a landmark pole position for Suzuki

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

Position Rider Bike Lap Time Gap
1 Aleix Espargaró Suzuki 1:40.546s
2 Maverick Viñales Suzuki 1:40.629s +0.083s
3 Jorge Lorenzo Yamaha 1:40.646s +0.100s
4 Marc Márquez Honda 1:40.754s +0.208s
5 Andrea Dovizioso Ducati 1:40.907s +0.361s
6 Daniel Pedrosa Honda 1:40.928s +0.382s
7 Valentino Rossi Yamaha 1:41.058s +0.512s
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
12 Andrea Iannone Ducati 1:41.524s +0.978s
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
16 Danilo Petrucci Ducati 1:42.155s +1.609s
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
25 Karel Abraham Honda 1:43.008s +2.462s

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