Having taken MotoGP™ pole at the Gran Premio d’Italia TIM on Saturday afternoon Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) heads the grid again for Sunday’s sixth race of the year, with Andrea Iannone (Pramac Racing) and Jorge Lorenzo (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) also featuring on the front row.

A 1’47.270 lap gave Marquez his sixth consecutive pole this year and his seventh successive top grid spot including Valencia last year, as his perfect form continued.

An excellent effort from Iannone (+0.18s) saw him show his pace again to get his first premier class front row start, the perfect response to his two recent DNF results and an ideal performance from an Italian rider on an Italian bike at the Gran Premio d’Italia TIM.

Lorenzo got his third row one result of the year in third place, meanwhile, as he lapped a quarter of a second off Marquez.

Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda) still holds the pole record at Mugello with his 1’47.157s time from last year – and he qualified in fourth position with a late lap 0.314s from today’s pole.

A big crash on an out lap ended Monster Yamaha Tech3 rider Pol Espargaro’s session early as he went down at turn nine and was clearly annoyed, but the Spaniard was unhurt and still ended up 5th on the grid.

A good qualifying result for Cal Crutchlow (Ducati Team) in sixth saw him outperform teammate Andrea Dovizioso who was eighth.

Sandwiching Dovizioso on the third row are Bradley Smith (Monster Yamaha Tech3) and Stefan Bradl (LCR Honda MotoGP) in seventh and ninth places respectively, with all three qualifying within 0.5s of pole.

Valentino Rossi (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) did not get the Q2 result he wanted as he qualified down in 10th for his 300th Grand Prix race.

Alvaro Bautista (GO&FUN Honda Gresini) and Aleix Espargaro (NGM Forward Racing) made it through from Q1 but were ultimately 11th and 12th.

MotoGP™ Qualifying Practice Classification 

  1. Marc Marquez 93 ESP Repsol Honda Team HONDA 1’47.270
  2. Andrea Iannone 29 ITA Pramac Racing DUCATI 1’47.450
  3. Jorge Lorenzo 99 ESP Yamaha Factory Racing YAMAHA 1’47.521
  4. Dani Pedrosa 26 ESP Repsol Honda Team HONDA 1’47.584
  5. Pol Espargaro 44 ESP Monster Yamaha Tech 3 YAMAHA 1’47.612
  6. Cal Crutchlow 35 GBR Ducati Team DUCATI 1’47.659
  7. Bradley Smith 38 GBR Monster Yamaha Tech 3 YAMAHA 1’47.681
  8. Andrea Dovizioso 4 ITA Ducati Team DUCATI 1’47.754
  9. Stefan Bradl 6 GER LCR Honda MotoGP HONDA 1’47.765
  10. Valentino Rossi 46 ITA Yamaha Factory YAMAHA 1’47.791
  11. Alvaro Bautista 19 ESP Go & Fun Honda Gresini HONDA 1’48.132
  12. Aleix Espargaro 41 ESP NGM Mobile Forward Racing YAMAHA 1’48.218
  13. Yonny Hernandez 68 COL Pramac Racing DUCATI 1’48.722
  14. Scott Redding 45 GBR Go & Fun Honda Gresini HONDA 1’48.754
  15. Michele Pirro 51 ITA Ducati Team DUCATI 1’48.794
  16. Karel Abraham 17 CZE Cardion AB Motoracing HONDA 1’48.894
  17. Hiroshi Aoyama 7 JPN Drive M7 Aspar HONDA 1’49.505
  18. Colin Edwards 5 USA NGM Mobile Forward Racing YAMAHA 1’49.780
  19. Hector Barbera 8 ESP Avintia Racing MotoGP FTR-KAWASAKI 1’49.932
  20. Michael Laverty 70 GBR Paul Bird Motorsport ART & PBM 1’50.505
  21. Mike Di Meglio 63 FRA Avintia Racing MotoGP FTR-KAWASAKI 1’50.515
  22. Broc Parkes 23 AUS Paul Bird Motorsport PBM 1’50.875
  23. Michel Fabrizio 84 ITA IodaRacing Project IODA-SUTER 1’53.116
  24. Nicky Hayden 69 USA Drive M7 Aspar HONDA DNS

 

Having taken MotoGP™ pole at the Gran Premio d’Italia TIM on Saturday afternoon Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) heads the grid again for Sunday’s sixth race of the year, with Andrea Iannone (Pramac Racing) and Jorge Lorenzo (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) also featuring on the front row.
Having taken MotoGP™ pole at the Gran Premio d’Italia TIM on Saturday afternoon Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) heads the grid again for Sunday’s sixth race of the year, with Andrea Iannone (Pramac Racing) and Jorge Lorenzo (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) also featuring on the front row.
Marc Marquez, Repsol Honda: 1st, 1m 47.270s - “I’m very happy to have taken this pole position at a track that I found very difficult last year. I’ve felt good on the bike right from the opening practice session this time around, and this shows that we are working well this season – because in 2013 it was much harder to be up at the front. As for the race, it will be difficult to break away and do what I’ve been doing up to now, because at this track you tend to ride in a group and things are more tightly packed. However, I will try to give 100 percent in order to fight for the victory.”
Marc Marquez, Repsol Honda: 1st, 1m 47.270s – “I’m very happy to have taken this pole position at a track that I found very difficult last year. I’ve felt good on the bike right from the opening practice session this time around, and this shows that we are working well this season – because in 2013 it was much harder to be up at the front. As for the race, it will be difficult to break away and do what I’ve been doing up to now, because at this track you tend to ride in a group and things are more tightly packed. However, I will try to give 100 percent in order to fight for the victory.”
An excellent effort from Iannone (+0.18s) saw him show his pace again to get his first premier class front row start, the perfect response to his two recent DNF results and an ideal performance from an Italian rider on an Italian bike at the Gran Premio d'Italia TIM.
An excellent effort from Iannone (+0.18s) saw him show his pace again to get his first premier class front row start, the perfect response to his two recent DNF results and an ideal performance from an Italian rider on an Italian bike at the Gran Premio d’Italia TIM.
Jorge Lorenzo - 3rd, 1’47.521 - “I’m satisfied with third place because it’s important to start in the first row here to try to avoid some problems with the first laps and be with the front group. I feel like it's a second place because Iannone has extra soft tyres that can maybe get some extra tenths. I’m happy with the lap time, but more I’m happy with the consistency and the work we’ve done with the bike. My physical condition is getting better as well so I’m happy. Circumstances are different to last year so it’s more difficult to be in front, but little by little we adapt to be as competitive as possible.”
Jorge Lorenzo – 3rd, 1’47.521 – “I’m satisfied with third place because it’s important to start in the first row here to try to avoid some problems with the first laps and be with the front group. I feel like it’s a second place because Iannone has extra soft tyres that can maybe get some extra tenths. I’m happy with the lap time, but more I’m happy with the consistency and the work we’ve done with the bike. My physical condition is getting better as well so I’m happy. Circumstances are different to last year so it’s more difficult to be in front, but little by little we adapt to be as competitive as possible.”
Dani Pedrosa, Repsol Honda: 4th, 1m 47.584s -“Today qualifying went better than in Le Mans, and we had good sessions – especially in FP4. I think that the bike was working fairly well, although when we put on the second tyre option in qualifying I made a small mistake - which I didn’t realise until afterwards – I touched the engine mapping button which lowered my power and I wasn’t able to improve my time. Tomorrow we will try to start well and have a good race. It seems that the pace of the other riders is very evenly matched, but we will do all that we can.”
Dani Pedrosa, Repsol Honda: 4th, 1m 47.584s -“Today qualifying went better than in Le Mans, and we had good sessions – especially in FP4. I think that the bike was working fairly well, although when we put on the second tyre option in qualifying I made a small mistake – which I didn’t realise until afterwards – I touched the engine mapping button which lowered my power and I wasn’t able to improve my time. Tomorrow we will try to start well and have a good race. It seems that the pace of the other riders is very evenly matched, but we will do all that we can.”
Pol Espargaro - 5th, 1’47.612 - “I am pretty happy with P5 but at the same time I think we were a little lucky that nobody beat my lap time after I fell off. I really wanted to improve so to fall and be unable to is a bit disappointing. Our performance today was good and I am sure that we could have gone faster even by just a few milliseconds as it was so tight at the top, so just a small gain could have moved us up. With regards to fall it was a rookie crash as I was too keen to get going and ride fast a bit too fast on the new tyres which were cold. I pushed a little to warm them up but then fell at the fast corner. Still I am pleased to be on the second row in 5th position as I feel this is another important qualifying result for me. I feel comfortable with the bike and together with the team we are building my own Yamaha. Also, I am still recovering in confidence since the injury at Qatar but overall am feeling quite happy. Tomorrow will be a difficult race for sure especially at the start but I feel good with the bike so I look forward to a positive race.”
Pol Espargaro – 5th, 1’47.612 – “I am pretty happy with P5 but at the same time I think we were a little lucky that nobody beat my lap time after I fell off. I really wanted to improve so to fall and be unable to is a bit disappointing. Our performance today was good and I am sure that we could have gone faster even by just a few milliseconds as it was so tight at the top, so just a small gain could have moved us up. With regards to fall it was a rookie crash as I was too keen to get going and ride fast a bit too fast on the new tyres which were cold. I pushed a little to warm them up but then fell at the fast corner. Still I am pleased to be on the second row in 5th position as I feel this is another important qualifying result for me. I feel comfortable with the bike and together with the team we are building my own Yamaha. Also, I am still recovering in confidence since the injury at Qatar but overall am feeling quite happy. Tomorrow will be a difficult race for sure especially at the start but I feel good with the bike so I look forward to a positive race.”
Cal Crutchlow (Ducati Team #35) – 6th (1’47.659) - “It was a positive qualifying session, we needed to improve this weekend and we have. FP4 was not what we expected, we went in the wrong direction with the bike, and we had no time to change it back to how I wanted so I was pleasantly surprised with qualifying. I think we did a good job and I’m not too far off the front row, but I made a small mistake as well in the lap and could have improved even more. Ducati have worked hard this weekend, we have a strong engine to take some advantage in some places of the track, now we need to calm it down a bit through the chicanes and work on tomorrow’s setting for the race.”
Cal Crutchlow (Ducati Team #35) – 6th (1’47.659) – “It was a positive qualifying session, we needed to improve this weekend and we have. FP4 was not what we expected, we went in the wrong direction with the bike, and we had no time to change it back to how I wanted so I was pleasantly surprised with qualifying. I think we did a good job and I’m not too far off the front row, but I made a small mistake as well in the lap and could have improved even more. Ducati have worked hard this weekend, we have a strong engine to take some advantage in some places of the track, now we need to calm it down a bit through the chicanes and work on tomorrow’s setting for the race.”
Bradley Smith - 7th, 1’47.681 "I am pleased with my qualifying performances today and especially this morning’s FP3 session where I had a great feeling on the bike and some positive work was undertaken. In FP4 we weren’t as competitive from the word go as we would have liked to have been due to the changing nature of the track which required us to alter the bike to accustom it to the changing grip and temperature. The Tech3 team have a done a great job especially with qualifying and after we changed the setting, the bike felt good straight away giving me the confidence to run in the 47’s comfortably. I still need to improve in the third sector of the track especially Arrabbiata 1 and 2 but feel very comfortable with how the bike is in the first two sectors of the track. We need to make a good setting for sector three but on the whole I am happy to be competitive and back riding a bike I enjoy and understand, so I am excited for the race tomorrow.”
Bradley Smith – 7th, 1’47.681 “I am pleased with my qualifying performances today and especially this morning’s FP3 session where I had a great feeling on the bike and some positive work was undertaken. In FP4 we weren’t as competitive from the word go as we would have liked to have been due to the changing nature of the track which required us to alter the bike to accustom it to the changing grip and temperature. The Tech3 team have a done a great job especially with qualifying and after we changed the setting, the bike felt good straight away giving me the confidence to run in the 47’s comfortably. I still need to improve in the third sector of the track especially Arrabbiata 1 and 2 but feel very comfortable with how the bike is in the first two sectors of the track. We need to make a good setting for sector three but on the whole I am happy to be competitive and back riding a bike I enjoy and understand, so I am excited for the race tomorrow.”
Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team #04) – 8th (1’47.754) - “We did a good job today in the FP4 session, lapping with a good pace on the race tyre and I think we can be pretty satisfied in view of the race tomorrow. In qualifying however I was unable to get 100% out of the bike and unfortunately, as we are all pretty close together, I will start from row 3. But if I can get a good start I think that tomorrow I can do a good race.”
Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team #04) – 8th (1’47.754) – “We did a good job today in the FP4 session, lapping with a good pace on the race tyre and I think we can be pretty satisfied in view of the race tomorrow. In qualifying however I was unable to get 100% out of the bike and unfortunately, as we are all pretty close together, I will start from row 3. But if I can get a good start I think that tomorrow I can do a good race.”
Valentino Rossi - 10th, 1’47.791 - “We made a big mistake in the qualifying, we decided to change the front tyre at the same time as the second rear. It was the wrong decision, I felt really bad with the softer front and I was unable to improve my lap time. It's a great shame, because I had a good potential and could have started on the front, my pace is good and I feel good with the bike, but it’s like this. Tomorrow from the fourth row everything will be harder and more difficult. We have good pace, we need to fix some small problems and try to make the maximum. I want to try and make a good race because it’s my 300th Grand Prix and also we are in Mugello! I’m quite desperate for the tenth position but nothing is lost yet. It will be hard but we can do a good race.”
Valentino Rossi – 10th, 1’47.791 – “We made a big mistake in the qualifying, we decided to change the front tyre at the same time as the second rear. It was the wrong decision, I felt really bad with the softer front and I was unable to improve my lap time. It’s a great shame, because I had a good potential and could have started on the front, my pace is good and I feel good with the bike, but it’s like this. Tomorrow from the fourth row everything will be harder and more difficult. We have good pace, we need to fix some small problems and try to make the maximum. I want to try and make a good race because it’s my 300th Grand Prix and also we are in Mugello! I’m quite desperate for the tenth position but nothing is lost yet. It will be hard but we can do a good race.”
Alvaro Bautista, GO&FUN Honda Gresini: 11th, 1m 48.132s - “I crashed in FP4 as I lost the front under braking at turn 4; as a result I had only the other bike available to do both Q1 and Q2, so I needed to avoid other mistakes. For sure it’s been definitely not an easy day for us: after yesterday’s crash we had some problems, therefore this morning we made a big change in the bike set-up, but unfortunately it didn’t work. This afternoon we returned to yesterday’s setting, but today my pace was not so good, I need more confidence on the front end, because we are struggling a lot with the hard front tyre and, on the other hand, we lose some stability with the softer one. We will work hard tomorrow morning during the warm-up to try and find a solution, because the goal is to use the front hard tyre.”
Alvaro Bautista, GO&FUN Honda Gresini: 11th, 1m 48.132s – “I crashed in FP4 as I lost the front under braking at turn 4; as a result I had only the other bike available to do both Q1 and Q2, so I needed to avoid other mistakes. For sure it’s been definitely not an easy day for us: after yesterday’s crash we had some problems, therefore this morning we made a big change in the bike set-up, but unfortunately it didn’t work. This afternoon we returned to yesterday’s setting, but today my pace was not so good, I need more confidence on the front end, because we are struggling a lot with the hard front tyre and, on the other hand, we lose some stability with the softer one. We will work hard tomorrow morning during the warm-up to try and find a solution, because the goal is to use the front hard tyre.”
Aleix Espargaro - 12th, 1’48.218 - “In the morning we continued to work on the electronics in order to solve the problems we had at Le Mans. Then, the crash in the FP4 complicated a lot my qualifying session because I had to use the second machine and I couldn’t find the same feeling as with the bike nr1. We will keep on working but we know that it will be a tough race. Mugello is a very demanding track and we suffer a lot in terms of top speed on the long 1141mt straight. Anyway I will give my best to get the best possible result”.
Aleix Espargaro – 12th, 1’48.218 – “In the morning we continued to work on the electronics in order to solve the problems we had at Le Mans. Then, the crash in the FP4 complicated a lot my qualifying session because I had to use the second machine and I couldn’t find the same feeling as with the bike nr1. We will keep on working but we know that it will be a tough race. Mugello is a very demanding track and we suffer a lot in terms of top speed on the long 1141mt straight. Anyway I will give my best to get the best possible result”.
Scott Redding, GO&FUN Honda Gresini: 14th, 1m 48.754s - “I did a good lap time, but I think that there was some room to improve a little bit, because I’m still learning the track on a MotoGP bike. This morning I did some laps behind Valentino, who is a specialist here and I just saw some lines, but we haven’t done much practice because we missed FP2 yesterday because of the rain, so I’m also lacking some track time. Anyway, I did my best lap on my own and I’m happy with that, but I think that I could improve two or three tenths. It’s a shame that Nicky Hayden is not riding, because I wanted to compare our performance, because he’s always really good in qualifying. We’ll have to see tomorrow for the race: the tyres are working pretty good – I’m going to use the front medium compound, and the harder at the rear - but it will be a long and hard race, also demanding for the body.”
Scott Redding, GO&FUN Honda Gresini: 14th, 1m 48.754s – “I did a good lap time, but I think that there was some room to improve a little bit, because I’m still learning the track on a MotoGP bike. This morning I did some laps behind Valentino, who is a specialist here and I just saw some lines, but we haven’t done much practice because we missed FP2 yesterday because of the rain, so I’m also lacking some track time. Anyway, I did my best lap on my own and I’m happy with that, but I think that I could improve two or three tenths. It’s a shame that Nicky Hayden is not riding, because I wanted to compare our performance, because he’s always really good in qualifying. We’ll have to see tomorrow for the race: the tyres are working pretty good – I’m going to use the front medium compound, and the harder at the rear – but it will be a long and hard race, also demanding for the body.”
Michele Pirro (Ducati Test Team #51) – 15th (1’48.794) - “In the end I didn’t manage to improve my time and so I’ll start from row 5. We’ve got a few ideas for tomorrow, but we mustn’t forget that we’re here above all to follow the GP14’s development programme. For me it’s important to take home useful indications for the Ducati engineers, but tomorrow in any case I’ll try and have a good race.”
Michele Pirro (Ducati Test Team #51) – 15th (1’48.794) – “In the end I didn’t manage to improve my time and so I’ll start from row 5. We’ve got a few ideas for tomorrow, but we mustn’t forget that we’re here above all to follow the GP14’s development programme. For me it’s important to take home useful indications for the Ducati engineers, but tomorrow in any case I’ll try and have a good race.”
Hiroshi Aoyama, Drive M7 Aspar Honda: 17th, 1m 49.505s - “We improved quite a lot this morning compared to yesterday and gained some stability in corner exit. Unfortunately in the afternoon I wasn’t comfortable with a change we made to the suspension that compromised the bike in other areas so we had to take a step backwards. At the end of the final free practice session we made another change to the suspension and luckily this time we were able to improve the lap time. It was an improvement but for qualifying the other riders went even faster so in the end I am not happy with where we finished. We will try to improve the bike a little more in the warm-up tomorrow and be better prepared for the race.”
Hiroshi Aoyama, Drive M7 Aspar Honda: 17th, 1m 49.505s – “We improved quite a lot this morning compared to yesterday and gained some stability in corner exit. Unfortunately in the afternoon I wasn’t comfortable with a change we made to the suspension that compromised the bike in other areas so we had to take a step backwards. At the end of the final free practice session we made another change to the suspension and luckily this time we were able to improve the lap time. It was an improvement but for qualifying the other riders went even faster so in the end I am not happy with where we finished. We will try to improve the bike a little more in the warm-up tomorrow and be better prepared for the race.”
Jorge Lorenzo laying lines of Bridgestone at Mugello
Jorge Lorenzo laying lines of Bridgestone at Mugello

MotoGP™ Qualifying Practice Classification

MotoGP™ Qualifying Practice Classification
MotoGP™ Qualifying Practice Classification

Moto2™: Championship leader Rabat heads grid in Italy

The Moto2™ race on Sunday at Mugello will commence with Esteve Rabat (Marc VDS Racing) at the front of the grid, ahead of Sam Lowes (Speed Up) and Sandro Cortese (Dynavolt Intact GP) on the first row.

Rabat led for the majority of the session and a best lap time of 1’52.718 saw him claim pole position once again for the fourth time this season. Lowes and Cortese completed the top three and both were within 0.197s of the Spanish rider. It is rookie Lowes’ first front row in Moto2.

The top five was completed by Jonas Folger (AGR Team) and Dominique Aegerter (Technomag CarXpert), Folger maintaining his top five spot for much of the session, whilst Aegerter improved in the closing stages. The pair were just 0.290s and 0.375s from Rabat respectively.

The top ten was rounded out by Luis Salom (Pons HP 40), Jordi Torres (Mapfre Aspar Team), Franco Morbidelli (Italtrans Racing Team), Thomas Luthi (Interwetten Paddock Moto2) and Marcel Schrotter (Tech 3).

Alex De Angelis (Tasca Racing Moto2) suffered a heavy crash at the start of the session, as did Randy Krummenacher (Octo IodaRacing Team). Julian Simon (Italtrans Racing Team) crashed with just one minute to go. All riders were unhurt.

Tito Rabat
Tito Rabat

Moto2™ Qualifying Practice Classification

Moto2™ Qualifying Practice Classification
Moto2™ Qualifying Practice Classification

Moto3™: Pole man Rins in front of the pack despite crash

Moto3™ qualifying at Mugello ended with Alex Rins (Estrella Galicia 0,0) outperforming the rest of the field at the picturesque Mugello track, with Jack Miller (Red Bull KTM Ajo) and Jakub Kornfeil (Calvo Team) joining him on the front row.

Alex Rins lost the front at turn 2 and crashed just after setting a new Moto3 Mugello pole record time of 1’56.999, later rejoining the session having rushed back to his box after the incident.

Championship leader Miller as just over 0.25s behind the Spaniard in second place, whilst a late improvement from Kornfeil left him 0.327s adrift of Rins in third – for his first ever front row GP start.

Row two, meanwhile, comprises home rider Romano Fenati (SKY Racing Team VR46), the experienced Alexis Masbou (Ongetta-Rivacold) and the ever-improving Alex Marquez (Estrella Galicia 0,0).

Rookie Karel Hanika (Red Bull KTM Ajo) got his best grid slot to date in seventh, ahead of Juanfran Guevara (Mapfre Aspar Team Moto3) and Brad Binder (Ambrogio Racing) on the third row. Efren Vazquez (SAXOPRINT RTG) completed the top ten.

Jules Danilo (Ambrogio Racing) had a big high side at Turn 8 but was not harmed in the crash.

Alex Rins
Alex Rins

Moto3™ Qualifying Practice Classification

Moto3™ Qualifying Practice Classification
Moto3™ Qualifying Practice Classification 

HRC Report

Repsol Honda RC213V rider Marc Marquez took his sixth pole in six races at Mugello today, reinforcing his aim for a full house of 2014 race wins in the first third of the season, and underlining the strength of Honda’s awesome 1000cc V4 MotoGP machine.

In fact, it is the 21-year-old Spaniard’s seventh successive pole – he was in the same position at the closing round of 2013 at Valencia, where he secured his rookie season World Championship to become the youngest premier-class champion in history.

Team-mate Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda RC213V) set fourth-fastest time to lead the second row, after leading free practice. Times were close: Pedrosa missed a front-row slot by just over half-a-tenth of a second, and was only three tenths slower than pole time, at a long 5.245-km circuit with a lap time of one-and-three-quarter minutes.

Marquez’s run of success has given him a commanding lead in the first part of the championship, and a sixth win would see him break yet another “youngest-ever” record in his quest for a second successive title crown.

The Italian GP, held at the scenically spectacular circuit on the flanks of the Apennine mountains, has mixed memories for the former 125cc and Moto2 champion. Last year he crashed at high speed in practice, breaking another record for falling at more than 320 km/h, and then crashed out of second place in the race, his only such non-finish of the season.

This year he has dominated the first five races, and is in a strong position to continue in the same vein in Italy.

Pedrosa, who lies second overall, has had a slightly more troubled season, with arm-pump problems requiring emergency surgery after round four in Spain. Fifth place in the next round at Le Mans was his first time off the top-three podium, after two second and two third places in the opening rounds. Two more weeks of recuperation have put Pedrosa in a stronger position for the Italian race.

The former 125cc and double 250cc champion  still holds the best lap at Mugello, with Marquez’s time today a tenth of a second slower than Pedrosa’s pole last year. Pedrosa finished second in last year’s race.

Times were close through the top dozen who qualified for the elite final Q2 qualifying … all within one second of Marquez’s time.

German LCR Honda RC213V rider Stefan Bradl was the better of the satellite riders, qualified ninth on row three. The former Moto2 champion also required surgery to cure arm-pump problems after the Spanish GP, and is striving to equal or improve on his best-this-year fourth place, achieved at round two in Texas.

Spanish former 125cc champion Alvaro Bautista (GO&FUN Honda Gresini RC213V) qualified 11th, winning through from Q1 by heading the time sheets. Bautista has a special role, race-testing Japanese-made Showa suspension and Nissin brakes, made by companies with strong links to Honda.

His team-mate Scott Redding (GO&FUN Honda Gresini RCV1000R) came out top of the four riders campaigning the new production-racer Honda machines, based closely on the factory RC213V, qualifying 14th. The Briton is a class rookie, after finishing runner up in the Moto2 championship last year.

Karel Abraham (Cardion AB Motoracing Honda RCV1000R) qualified 16th to head the sixth row; one place ahead of former 250cc champion Hiro Aoyama (Drive M7 Aspar Honda RCV1000R).

Former MotoGP World Champion Nicky Hayden (Drive M7 Aspar Honda RCV1000R) withdrew from the Italian GP after painful hand problems flared up again on the first day of practice. The American will have corrective surgery on Tuesday, and hopes to be fit to return to the Catalunyan GP in two weeks.

With 16 riders qualifying within one second of pole time, the prospect of more of the same was clear for the Italian race.

Tomorrow’s race is the sixth of 18 rounds, concluding the first third of the 2014 season. The next round is the Catalunyan GP at Montmelo outside Barcelona in two weeks.

Marc Marquez, Repsol Honda: 1st, 1m 47.270s – “I’m very happy to have taken this pole position at a track that I found very difficult last year. I’ve felt good on the bike right from the opening practice session this time around, and this shows that we are working well this season – because in 2013 it was much harder to be up at the front. As for the race, it will be difficult to break away and do what I’ve been doing up to now, because at this track you tend to ride in a group and things are more tightly packed. However, I will try to give 100 percent in order to fight for the victory.”

Dani Pedrosa, Repsol Honda: 4th, 1m 47.584s -“Today qualifying went better than in Le Mans, and we had good sessions – especially in FP4. I think that the bike was working fairly well, although when we put on the second tyre option in qualifying I made a small mistake – which I didn’t realise until afterwards – I touched the engine mapping button which lowered my power and I wasn’t able to improve my time. Tomorrow we will try to start well and have a good race. It seems that the pace of the other riders is very evenly matched, but we will do all that we can.”

Stefan Bradl, LCR Honda MotoGP: 9th, 1m 47.765s – “It was a quite tough qualifying and I am disappointed about my grid position because I wanted to be more in front, especially on this race track. Anyway the lap time is good and with one tenth faster we could have been on the second row. The team did a good job today after I crashed this morning, and I have a good feeling on the bike for the race tomorrow. Starting from the third row is not what I was expecting but there’s a long way to the first corner and many things can happen. As I said yesterday the Ducati riders have a strong pace here and it is going to be a close race but we’ll try our best to finish in the top five.”

Alvaro Bautista, GO&FUN Honda Gresini: 11th, 1m 48.132s – “I crashed in FP4 as I lost the front under braking at turn 4; as a result I had only the other bike available to do both Q1 and Q2, so I needed to avoid other mistakes. For sure it’s been definitely not an easy day for us: after yesterday’s crash we had some problems, therefore this morning we made a big change in the bike set-up, but unfortunately it didn’t work. This afternoon we returned to yesterday’s setting, but today my pace was not so good, I need more confidence on the front end, because we are struggling a lot with the hard front tyre and, on the other hand, we lose some stability with the softer one. We will work hard tomorrow morning during the warm-up to try and find a solution, because the goal is to use the front hard tyre.”

Scott Redding, GO&FUN Honda Gresini: 14th, 1m 48.754s – “I did a good lap time, but I think that there was some room to improve a little bit, because I’m still learning the track on a MotoGP bike. This morning I did some laps behind Valentino, who is a specialist here and I just saw some lines, but we haven’t done much practice because we missed FP2 yesterday because of the rain, so I’m also lacking some track time. Anyway, I did my best lap on my own and I’m happy with that, but I think that I could improve two or three tenths. It’s a shame that Nicky Hayden is not riding, because I wanted to compare our performance, because he’s always really good in qualifying. We’ll have to see tomorrow for the race: the tyres are working pretty good – I’m going to use the front medium compound, and the harder at the rear – but it will be a long and hard race, also demanding for the body.”

Karel Abraham, Cardion AB Motoracing Honda: 16th, 1m 48.804s – “I am a little disappointed with the position, but satisfied because we solved a rear tyre grip problem we have had for some time. Now I can ride consistently better lap times, and this is the best place I could hope for with a top speed about 20 km/h slower than the factory bikes. If I could have cut another tenth, we could have fought for 13th position, but I shall be going for more points tomorrow.”

Hiroshi Aoyama, Drive M7 Aspar Honda: 17th, 1m 49.505s – “We improved quite a lot this morning compared to yesterday and gained some stability in corner exit. Unfortunately in the afternoon I wasn’t comfortable with a change we made to the suspension that compromised the bike in other areas so we had to take a step backwards. At the end of the final free practice session we made another change to the suspension and luckily this time we were able to improve the lap time. It was an improvement but for qualifying the other riders went even faster so in the end I am not happy with where we finished. We will try to improve the bike a little more in the warm-up tomorrow and be better prepared for the race.”

Nicky Hayden, Drive M7 Aspar Honda: withdrew – “In the first free practice, the problems with my right hand came up again. It’s a hangover from an old injury, and I had surgery last November and I thought it was fixed … but it flared up again at Jerez, with a lot of pain. Then I fell on it again at Le Mans. At this track there’s much more strain, and it’s hard to hold on, especially at the end of the straightaway. I’m very disappointed, but after seeing the doctors I’m going to have to sit this one out. I’ll have orthoscopic surgery on Tuesday in Italy, and I hope I’ll be able to ride in Catalunya in two weeks.”

Ducati Report 

The two Ducati Team riders Cal Crutchlow and Andrea Dovizioso will start from the second and third row of the grid respectively for the Italian Grand Prix, the sixth round of the MotoGP World Championship, which will be held tomorrow at the Autodromo del Mugello in Tuscany, Italy

In the fifteen minutes of Q2 Crutchlow lapped in 1’47.659, setting the sixth quickest time, which is also his best result so far in qualifying this year. Dovizioso instead was unable to complete a clean lap in the decisive session, but remains optimistic about tomorrow’s race.

Ducati Test Team rider Michele Pirro had to settle for fifteenth place and will start from row 5 tomorrow.

Cal Crutchlow (Ducati Team #35) – 6th (1’47.659) – “It was a positive qualifying session, we needed to improve this weekend and we have. FP4 was not what we expected, we went in the wrong direction with the bike, and we had no time to change it back to how I wanted so I was pleasantly surprised with qualifying. I think we did a good job and I’m not too far off the front row, but I made a small mistake as well in the lap and could have improved even more. Ducati have worked hard this weekend, we have a strong engine to take some advantage in some places of the track, now we need to calm it down a bit through the chicanes and work on tomorrow’s setting for the race.”

Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team #04) – 8th (1’47.754) – “We did a good job today in the FP4 session, lapping with a good pace on the race tyre and I think we can be pretty satisfied in view of the race tomorrow. In qualifying however I was unable to get 100% out of the bike and unfortunately, as we are all pretty close together, I will start from row 3. But if I can get a good start I think that tomorrow I can do a good race.”

Michele Pirro (Ducati Test Team #51) – 15th (1’48.794) – “In the end I didn’t manage to improve my time and so I’ll start from row 5. We’ve got a few ideas for tomorrow, but we mustn’t forget that we’re here above all to follow the GP14’s development programme. For me it’s important to take home useful indications for the Ducati engineers, but tomorrow in any case I’ll try and have a good race.”

Yamaha Report

Movistar Yamaha MotoGP rider Jorge Lorenzo kept the pressure on in qualifying this afternoon for tomorrow’s Gran Premio d’Italia, taking third on the grid. Teammate Valentino Rossi found the 15-minute qualifying heat a bigger challenge, taking tenth position on the fourth row.

Lorenzo made his trademark early exit from the pits as the session began, the first rider to attack the Mugello circuit. He immediately dropped below the ’48 mark with a first flying lap of 1’47.605s. Hot laps by rivals Marc Marquez and Andrea Iannone then dropped him to third, but just 0.167 from the front. With just over eight minutes remaining it was a super quick pit-stop for Lorenzo, and back to the track less than a minute later. He was able to improve on his earlier time, scoring a session best of 1’47.521s to secure third on the grid, 0.251s from pole.

Rossi was also quick to exit at the start of the session, just one rider back from teammate Lorenzo. He too immediately dropped under the ‘48s with a first flying lap of 1’47.791s to take provisional third. As the times fell he dropped down to 5th, 0.521 from first as he entered the pits mid-session. An extended pit stop saw him return to the track with five minutes remaining having taken extra time to change to a softer front tyre in the hunt for a quicker turning bike. Unfortunately he was unable to improve on his first hot lap and make the softer front tyre work for him, wrapping up qualifying in tenth position, just over half a second from pole.

Monster Yamaha Tech3 rider Espargaro rode to another inspired qualifying performance and will start the Gran Premio d’Italia TIM from 5th position despite a late fall in Qualifying 2. The Spanish rider was immediately up to pace during this morning’s free practice session and comfortably set a best time of 1.48,373 which saw him finish 8th, progressing straight through to the second qualifying slot for the fifth time in just his sixth MotoGP race. His knowledge and confidence around the fast and technical 5245 metre Mugello circuit grew with every single lap, which was important due to the loss of time because of the weather conditions in FP2 yesterday and he dug deep in Q2, attacking immediately. His first run ensured the Spanish rookie’s best personal time of 1.47,612min was enough to cement a start on the second row with his impressive performance only 0.342 from pole position. Afterwards the reigning Moto2 World Champion unluckily paid for his inexperience with a fall while going out for his second run, which prevented Espargaro from lowering his lap time anymore. Nevertheless the young Spaniard remains confident to battle for another high scoring points finish during tomorrow’s premier class race.

His teammate Bradley Smith produced a resolute display to guide his Yamaha YZR-M1 around the 13 corners of the Mugello circuit to score 7th place on the grid for tomorrow’s 23-lap sprint. Having made progress in terms of building a confidence boosting setup this week with his Monster Yamaha Tech3 Team, the British rider progressed further by aggressively riding to a best time of 1.47,618 in Q2, over a second quicker than his qualifying time from last year. Additionally with the pole position time being quicker last year, Smith’s best lap today was much closer to the front in comparison to the competition highlighting his leap in improvement with both performance and knowledge this season. In addition, it was only four tenths of a second off pole with the top twelve MotoGP riders being covered by under a second. The 23-year-old British rider remains optimistic in his race ability aboard the Yamaha YZR-M1 as he aims to be the fastest satellite rider in tomorrow’s race.

It was a difficult qualifying session for the NGM Forward Racing riders on the fast and technical Mugello track.

A crash, fortunately without consequences for the rider during the FP4, made the qualifying session of Aleix Espargaro even more complicated. With 1’48.580 in the Q1, Espargaro entered the Q2 and he finally closed in 12th position with a best lap time of 1’48.218.

It was a tough day also for team mate Colin Edwards, who continued to work on the electronics in order to improve the set up of his Forward Yamaha. The solutions tested during the practices didn’t bring the expected results and the team will continue to work tomorrow during the warm up. Colin will take the start of the Italian GP tomorrow from the 18th position on the grid.

Jorge Lorenzo – 3rd, 1’47.521 – “I’m satisfied with third place because it’s important to start in the first row here to try to avoid some problems with the first laps and be with the front group. I feel like it’s a second place because Iannone has extra soft tyres that can maybe get some extra tenths. I’m happy with the lap time, but more I’m happy with the consistency and the work we’ve done with the bike. My physical condition is getting better as well so I’m happy. Circumstances are different to last year so it’s more difficult to be in front, but little by little we adapt to be as competitive as possible.”

Valentino Rossi – 10th, 1’47.791 – “We made a big mistake in the qualifying, we decided to change the front tyre at the same time as the second rear. It was the wrong decision, I felt really bad with the softer front and I was unable to improve my lap time. It’s a great shame, because I had a good potential and could have started on the front, my pace is good and I feel good with the bike, but it’s like this. Tomorrow from the fourth row everything will be harder and more difficult. We have good pace, we need to fix some small problems and try to make the maximum. I want to try and make a good race because it’s my 300th Grand Prix and also we are in Mugello! I’m quite desperate for the tenth position but nothing is lost yet. It will be hard but we can do a good race.”

Massimo Meregalli – Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Team Director – “Jorge’s front row is very important here in Mugello, it comes as a result of hard work and confident riding through the practices up to today. His pace is really promising, even with a used tyre we have been very competitive this afternoon in the last practice. For sure it’s going to be a bit more difficult for Vale starting from the fourth row. Unfortunately we made the decision to change from a hard to a soft tyre midway through the session to try and gain some benefit and turn the bike better. Due to the track temperatures it gave no advantage and compromised his results. His pace has also been very good over the weekend so we know he will do his best to fight back to the front.”

Pol Espargaro – 5th, 1’47.612 – “I am pretty happy with P5 but at the same time I think we were a little lucky that nobody beat my lap time after I fell off. I really wanted to improve so to fall and be unable to is a bit disappointing. Our performance today was good and I am sure that we could have gone faster even by just a few milliseconds as it was so tight at the top, so just a small gain could have moved us up. With regards to fall it was a rookie crash as I was too keen to get going and ride fast a bit too fast on the new tyres which were cold. I pushed a little to warm them up but then fell at the fast corner. Still I am pleased to be on the second row in 5th position as I feel this is another important qualifying result for me. I feel comfortable with the bike and together with the team we are building my own Yamaha. Also, I am still recovering in confidence since the injury at Qatar but overall am feeling quite happy. Tomorrow will be a difficult race for sure especially at the start but I feel good with the bike so I look forward to a positive race.”

Bradley Smith – 7th, 1’47.681 “I am pleased with my qualifying performances today and especially this morning’s FP3 session where I had a great feeling on the bike and some positive work was undertaken. In FP4 we weren’t as competitive from the word go as we would have liked to have been due to the changing nature of the track which required us to alter the bike to accustom it to the changing grip and temperature. The Tech3 team have a done a great job especially with qualifying and after we changed the setting, the bike felt good straight away giving me the confidence to run in the 47’s comfortably. I still need to improve in the third sector of the track especially Arrabbiata 1 and 2 but feel very comfortable with how the bike is in the first two sectors of the track. We need to make a good setting for sector three but on the whole I am happy to be competitive and back riding a bike I enjoy and understand, so I am excited for the race tomorrow.”

Aleix Espargaro – 12th, 1’48.218 – “In the morning we continued to work on the electronics in order to solve the problems we had at Le Mans. Then, the crash in the FP4 complicated a lot my qualifying session because I had to use the second machine and I couldn’t find the same feeling as with the bike nr1. We will keep on working but we know that it will be a tough race. Mugello is a very demanding track and we suffer a lot in terms of top speed on the long 1141mt straight. Anyway I will give my best to get the best possible result”.

Colin Edwards – 18th, 1’49.780 – “I’m not really happy. We worked on the electronics but we didn’t get the expected results. We had to start again from where we were yesterday and we couldn’t improve the set up of the machine. Tomorrow in the warm up I want to test another solution with the rear suspension and I hope that we can make a step forward for the race”.

Bridgestone Report
Bridgestone slick compounds available: Front: Soft, Medium & Hard; Rear: Soft, Medium & Hard (Asymmetric)
Bridgestone wet tyre compounds available: Hard (Main), Soft (Alternative)
Weather:  FP3 – Dry. Ambient 17-18°C; Track 23-32°C (Bridgestone measurement)  FP4/QP – Dry. Ambient 20-21°C; Track 34-45°C (Bridgestone measurement)

Marc Marquez’s mission to dominate every MotoGP™ qualifying session continued unabated at Mugello today, as the Repsol Honda rider lapped the Italian circuit in a time of 1’47.270 to claim the top spot on the grid for tomorrow’s Italian Grand Prix.

Marquez set the day’s quickest time during his first time attack in Qualifying Practice Two, using the combination of the medium compound slicks front and rear. To the delight of the Italian fans, Pramac Racing’s Andrea Iannone was second in QP2 with a best lap time of 1’47.450, while Movistar Yamaha MotoGP’s Jorge Lorenzo qualified in third place with a time of 1’47.521. Today’s QP2 session at Mugello was perhaps the most fiercely contested so far this season, with only half a second separating the top ten riders as the chequered flag was waved.

After a rainy start to the race weekend on Friday, conditions today were warm and dry with the highest track temperature recorded being 45°C during QP1. The fine weather enabled riders to perform long runs on various tyre combinations in FP4, and it was the medium compound front slick that proved to be the most popular for riders. Rear tyre choice was more varied during practice with the preference among the Factory Honda, Yamaha and Ducati riders being the medium compound rear, while the majority of the open-class entrants preferred the soft compound rear slick. Some factory-class riders did evaluate the hard compound rear slick in FP4, but it is not expected that this option will be selected by any riders for tomorrow’s race. For the time attack in the Qualifying Practice sessions, the softer rear slick options and the medium compound front slick was the most widely used tyre combination, as it provided the best balance of cornering and braking performance.

Similar weather conditions are forecast for tomorrow, with the twenty-three lap Italian Grand Prix getting underway at 1400 local time (GMT+1 ). Before then, the MotoGP™ riders will be out on track for the twenty-minute Warm Up session at 1000.

Masao Azuma – Chief Engineer, Bridgestone Motorsport Tyre Development Department – “We were able to make up for lost time yesterday thanks to the fine conditions today, and the riders were able to try some different tyre combinations during practice. Today’s sessions revealed that the riders feel that the soft and medium slick options for both the front and rear are performing best, so we don’t expect the hard compound front and rear slicks to be utilised for the race. The pace among the riders is quite close both in terms of race pace on long runs and over a single lap as we saw in qualifying, and it is pleasing to see the Ducati, Honda and Yamaha riders so evenly matched in performance. The signs are good for an exciting race tomorrow.”