Dominant Marquez secures Barcelona pole
Marc Marquez will start the Catalan Grand Prix from pole position after a commanding performance in qualifying.
The Repsol Honda rider claimed a maiden premier class pole at his home circuit ahead of Yamaha’s Jorge Lorenzo and Honda team-mate Dani Pedrosa.
Marquez produced a stunning 1:43.905s with his first effort, the feat made even more remarkable given that he almost collided with Hector Barbera while setting the time.
After making a mistake at the start of his second run, Marquez went quicker again after the chequered flag, lowering the benchmark to a 1:43.589s.
“Yeah honestly I did a really good lap time,” said Marquez.
“This is something that I didn’t expect. We felt really good, we changed the set-up quite a lot for FP4, and we found something that we didn’t have before.”
Lorenzo finished nearly half a second adrift as he spent most of the 15-minute Q2 session in second position.
Having set the pace in Friday practice, the championship leader was disadvantaged by overnight revisions to the Circuit de Catalunya as a result of Luis Salom’s fatal crash during Moto2 free practice.
The remainder of the weekend will be run on the Formula 1 circuit, featuring a reprofiled Turn 10 and the Turn 14/15 chicane, which bypasses the scene of Salom’s crash and slows the run through the final corner.
“Unfortunately yesterday we had a bad day and Race Direction decided to change the track,” explained Lorenzo.
“For our bike it is difficult – strong braking, first gear corners – and we are struggling in the last sector.
“The safety should be better so we have to be happy about that but we are going to struggle a little bit more than yesterday.”
Pedrosa’s late effort denied Barbera an unlikely front row start, and the Avintia Ducati rider will instead head up the second row alongside Yamaha’s Valentino Rossi and Suzuki’s Maverick Viñales.
Last year’s pole-sitter Aleix Espargaro (Suzuki) missed Q2 and will start 13th, while Marc VDS Honda rider Jack Miller qualified 19th.
Sunday’s 25-lap grand prix is scheduled to start at 22:00 AEST.
Result: MotoGP Catalan Grand Prix Qualifying
|4||Hector Barbera||Avintia Ducati||1:44.322s||+0.733s|
|7||Cal Crutchlow||LCR Honda||1:44.366s||+0.777s|
|9||Danilo Petrucci||Pramac Ducati||1:44.911s||+1.322s|
|11||Scott Redding||Pramac Ducati||1:45.030s||+1.441s|
|12||Pol Espargaro||Tech3 Yamaha||1:45.218s||+1.629s|
|14||Bradley Smith||Tech3 Yamaha||1:45.197s||+1.608s|
|15||Michele Pirro||Avintia Ducati||1:45.538s||+1.949s|
|16||Yonny Hernandez||Aspar Ducati||1:45.690s||+2.101s|
|17||Eugene Laverty||Aspar Ducati||1:45.885s||+2.296s|
|19||Jack Miller||Marc VDS Honda||1:45.942s||+2.353s|
|20||Tito Rabat||Marc VDS Honda||1:46.205s||+2.616s|