Round 14 – Aragon
Saturday Qualifying Results / Report / Quotes
Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) showed no signs of letting go of his stranglehold on the Gran Premio Michelin de Aragon on Saturday afternoon, with the reigning Champion taking his 61st premier class pole position in 122 races – taking him back to an incredible 50% ratio. It’s his fifth pole at MotorLand.
Marc Marquez – P1
“I feel really good this weekend, much better than in Misano. Pole position was important but it’s true that the fastest lap of the weekend was in FP1! I expected more from the second run but I made a couple of mistakes. I knew I had to control the risk a little bit as the wind direction had changed today and it was more disturbing than yesterday. In FP4 I had a strong rhythm and this is the most important point. The Yamaha riders aren’t far and we have to keep an eye on the weather, so still there is a lot that could happen.”
Fabio Quartararo (Petronas Yamaha SRT) kept pulses racing until right at the end of the session as he set three red sectors in a row, only losing out in the final part of the lap. He’ll start second, with Maverick Viñales (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) completing the front row.
The promised – or threatened, depending on perspective – rain came down on Saturday morning, but it didn’t stay around too long. It was enough to put paid to anyone’s chance of improving their lap time in FP3 however, with the likes of Alex Rins (Team Suzuki Ecstar) therefore sure of a trip to Q1. And in Q1 it was a surprise to see the Suzuki man knocked out, with Franco Morbidelli (Petronas Yamaha SRT) taking to the top and joined in Q2 by an impressive Andrea Iannone (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini).
With Q2 underway – featuring two Aprilias for the first time in MotoGP – the fastest lap-time cycled through a few different names before Marquez’ second lap shot him to the top, deposing Quartararo, who had deposed Viñales.
On their second runs, Viñales struck back against Quartararo but the gap to Marquez remained over four tenths…made even worse as the number 93 crossed the line only just behind Viñales’ Yamaha and improved his time even further. It seemed like all was said and done in the fight for pole after that show of pace, but Quartararo had other ideas.
On his final flying lap, the rookie was over a tenth in the red after the first split. Were we about to witness one of the upsets of the season? After the second split, the 20-year-old’s advantage was hovering around a tenth and at the third, there was nothing to choose between Quartararo and Marquez. With only the final sector to go – one that’s been tougher for the Yamaha – could ‘El Diablo’ keep those few thousandths? In the end, he couldn’t, with Marquez secure on pole – but Quartararo will line up second after taking an awesome eighth front row start of his rookie season, edging ahead of Viñales to make it two Yamahas joining the Repsol Honda on the front row.
Fabio Quartararo – P2
“Honestly I didn’t expect such a good lap time, but I was on the limit at the end of qualifying! I set a good time on my first run, but I knew it was important to be on the front row for the race. We knew that it would be really difficult to take pole position from Marc [Marquez], so second was the target and the team and I did a really good job together to make it happen. Marc’s on another level here compared to everyone else, but we’ll go into the race with an open mind and try to do our best.”
Maverick Viñales – P3
“Honestly, the qualifying has been quite good because I felt good with the bike straight away. We need to keep working and keep this momentum going. This year we have different lap times than last year. Our main rival is faster, the others remain similar, and we are getting closer. This is a track where we struggle a lot – especially in sector 4 with all the long straights – but tomorrow we have a chance to fight at the front, and we will try our best. The action will happen in the first laps, so I will try to be at the front, and then we‘ll see. It‘s going to be difficult. The rear tyre is still a bit of a question mark, we will try to choose the best one.”
Jack Miller (Pramac Racing) took P4 and heads up Row 2 as the highest-placed Ducati rider, with Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini) putting in a blinder to take P5 and Aprilia’s best qualifying since Japan 2017.
Jack Miller – P4
“I am very happy for what we did in qualifying and the fourth position allows us to start with the group ahead. If I have to be honest, I am really satisfied with what we did in FP4 too, with a 17-lap long run in which the race pace was very positive.”
Aleix Espargaro – P5
“Without a doubt, this is a great day on a good track for me and for Aprilia. I felt good from the very beginning in the various conditions. In qualifying I did a lap that was really at the limit. I pushed hard, taking some risks, but in the end, our starting position is very good. I am also confident for the race. In the simulations, we improved wear of the soft rear tyre and that could help us in the second half of the race. With the exception of Marc, I think that there are a lot of riders with a similar pace. Staying in the lead group will be important to then have a go in the finale. A good result before the far east tour would be a nice morale boost for me and for all the guys who work on this project.”
Nine-time World Champion Valentino Rossi (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) managed to launch himself from the lower echelons on his final run, with the ‘Doctor’ taking P6 as he completes the second row.
Valentino Rossi – P6
“At the end the results are not so bad. When you start from the first two rows it means that you can do a good race, because you’re not so far from the pole position. The guys in front are all strong and also our pace is quite good. We still have to work. Today we tried some different things in FP4. To fight for the podium, I need a bit more speed, a few tenths, but we’ll try because we’re not far from the front. I did a good lap, it wasn’t so bad. I made one or two small mistakes, so I could have done a 1’47s, but it wouldn’t have improved my position so it’s OK.”
Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda Castrol) spearheads Row 3, the British rider leading Q1 pacesetter Morbidelli and Joan Mir (Team Suzuki Ecstar), with the Suzuki-riding rookie out-qualifying teammate Rins for the second time this year despite a crash in FP4.
Cal Crutchlow – P7
“I thought yesterday I could (get in the battle for second behind Marc Marquez), but today it seemed a little bit more difficult for some reason. We changed the bike which we thought would be for the better, and it felt worse, then when we got to yesterday’s bike it didn’t feel great either. I didn’t have a good FP4 when we used a used tyre, but I still should have been faster than I was, so we need to improve to be in that battle. It seems the other guys around us made a step and we didn’t. We qualified in seventh, but we’re too far behind third and fourth – normally you can say you made a mistake or you know where you need to improve, but I don’t really understand where we can gain that amount of time. But in the race is a different story, we’ll have to try and be patient and have a good race.”
Franco Morbidelli – P8
“I’m quite satisfied because it’s always nice to reach the top ten and it wasn’t easy to go through Q1. There were many top riders in the session, but I managed to jump up to Q2. We didn’t have incredible speed in the second qualifying session, but we were good enough for the third row. We have to focus on ourselves tomorrow and ride our own race whilst trying to squeeze every bit of potential out of the bike. There are some other areas to work on and improve, so we’ll do that in the morning in warm-up and then hopefully fight for the top five in the race.”
Joan Mir – P9
“Today went well. In FP3 I felt strong, even in those mixed and damp conditions. In FP4 I tried the hard front tyre, but I had a crash, so I lost a bit of confidence. It hasn’t been an easy day but I’m happy with my set-up, I feel good with my bike. I’ll try to get into the front group tomorrow, Marquez has a really fast pace but the rest of us are closer together. I’m ready for the fight.”
Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team) completes the top ten after a tougher day at the office, with Andrea Iannone battling through the pain barrier after his crash at Misano to take P11.
Andrea Dovizioso – P10
“It’s really a pity because I made a mistake on my good lap: I went wide at Turn 12 and off the track. I think I could have set a time that would have put me on the second row, and that would have helped matters a lot because we have the pace to fight for the podium. Starting from behind complicates the situation a bit more, but I’m confident: tomorrow morning we’ll continue to work during the warm-up and then it will be a good start that could make all the difference.”
Andrea Iannone – P11
“The starting position is good, but I could have done even better. Unfortunately, the pain in my shoulder intensified after three sessions in a row, so in Q2 I was unable to repeat the time I had done in Q1 that would have qualified me in eighth place. We will try to improve more for tomorrow. I am struggling in terms of grip and speed, even compared to Aleix, but in any case, I’ll give it my all in the race. Aprilia has a particular feeling on this track and it is a good chance to do well.”
Pol Espargaro (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing), meanwhile, crashed in FP4 and suffered a fractured left wrist, meaning the number 44 will sadly miss the rest of his home Grand Prix. That will move Rins up to P12, with Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda Castrol) and Danilo Petrucci (Ducati Team) just behind.
Mike Leitner, Red Bull KTM Team Manager
“The day started quite well because we were looking to Q2 with Pol and a good position on the grid. FP3 was wet so the riders didn’t have much chance to improve the bike but Mika did really well to make the 3rd best lap. We had to try tyres and our plan was the soft and hard with Pol but he crashed on his out-lap with the hard. It’s bad because it looks like there is a fracture in the left wrist but we’ll know the full plan and the next steps once the results come through from Barcelona. He’s unfit for the race and we can only wish him all the best for the moment. Mika did his first qualification for a long, long time. The lap-time was not bad but the level of the riders at round fourteen is really high for someone just coming in. Anyway, he has good race pace so we’ll see the outcome of the grand prix tomorrow.”
Alex Rins – P13
“I felt strong with hard tyre, I wanted to use for qualifying and I thought it was the right thing to do, but in the end I didn’t improve the lap time enough and I ended up just missing out on Q2. In FP3 and FP4 I felt really good, so I was quite disappointed not to go into final qualifying. But I still feel positive about the race because I feel our bike works well here and I hope to have a good race.”
Danilo Petrucci – P15
“I’m still not able to ride my bike the way I want. I’m also trying to modify my riding style but I’m some way behind and am simply not fast enough: in particular I’m not able to get the best out of the new tyres, but I’m more confident about the race pace, even though starting so far behind certainly doesn’t help and I haven’t got the speed to stay at the front. In any case tomorrow I feel sure we can do a good race and, even though we can’t fight for the podium, we’ll try and bring home as many points as possible.”
After showing progress in the morning, Jorge Lorenzo immediately improved his best lap time in Q1. Despite losing FP3 to weather conditions, Lorenzo and his Repsol Honda Team were able to improve his feeling on the bike. A 1m49.282s saw Lorenzo secure 20th on the grid, promoted to 19th after an unfortunate fall for Pol Espargaro saw him ruled out of the weekend. That time two-seconds slower than team-mate and pole-setter Marc Marquez.
Jorge Lorenzo – P20
“Our position isn’t fantastic but our feeling and the gap to first is better than yesterday, this is certainly a positive. Each session I have been able to improve and my pace is quite constant. In Qualifying we were able to go fast with the first tyre but I wasn’t able to go any faster with the soft front. I think the medium will be the choice for the race so we can keep improving.”
MotoGP Combined Qualifying Times
Having played second fiddle to his title rival on Friday, Alex Marquez (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) turned the tables in Moto2 Q2 at Aragon to claim a home Grand Prix pole position – with a new lap record no less. That saw the Spaniard edge out compatriot Augusto Fernandez (FlexBox HP 40) by 0.125, with Red Bull KTM Ajo’s Brad Binder – last year’s polesitter and winner – completing the intermediate class front row.
It was Marquez’ teammate Xavi Vierge who set the first benchmark time of the session, a 1:52.589, but Marquez’ third lap would be fierce. The Championship leaper hadn’t been in the top three all weekend but a 1:52.225 was a new MotorLand Aragon lap record as Fernandez languished in P10.
Initially in the shadow of teammate Lorenzo Baldassarri, Fernandez was improving. His lap time wouldn’t be able to better Marquez, but the number 40 was in touching distance and Luca Marini (Sky Racing Team VR46), second after Free Practice, was also gunning for the front. Ultimately Fernandez set a red sector two and a red sector three on his final push, but couldn’t keep his advantage and starts second. Late on, Binder struck to lock out the front row and demote Marini.
It’s the Sky Racing Team VR46 rider’s best qualifying since Germany as he then heads up Row 2, ahead of title contender Tom Lüthi (Dynavolt Intact GP), who took his best grid position at Aragon. Key rival Jorge Navarro (HDR Heidrun Speed Up) completes the second row.
Early Q2 pacesetter Vierge has to settle for P7 on the grid, and he has rookie Nicolo Bulega (Sky Racing Team VR46) and Federal Oil Gresini Moto2’s Sam Lowes for company on Row 3. Lowes is, like Binder, a former winner at the venue…
Iker Lecuona (American Racing KTM) had a solid day to complete the top ten, ahead of Lorenzo Baldassarri (Flexbox HP 40) and Misano runner up Fabio Di Giannantonio (HDR Heidrun Speed Up).
Remy Gardner (ONEXOX TKKR SAG Team), Jorge Martin (Red Bull KTM Ajo) and Andrea Locatelli (Italtrans Racing Team) complete the fastest fifteen, the latter despite a crash earlier in the day. Gardner has been struggling for grip this weekend at Aragon.
Moto2 Combined Qualifying Times
|6||Jorge NAVARRO||SPEED UP||Q2||1m52.580|
|11||Lorenzo BALDASSARRI ITA||KALEX||Q2||1m52.832|
|12||Fabio DI GIANNANTONI ITA||SPEED UP||Q2||1m52.854|
|19||Stefano MANZI||MV AGUSTA||Q1||1m53.256|
|24||Dominique AEGERTER||MV AGUSTA||Q1||1m53.503|
Aron Canet (Sterilgarda Max Racing Team) smashed the opposition in qualifying at Aragon, taking pole by over seven tenths and putting himself in the perfect position to try and claw back some ground in the Championship fight as points leader Lorenzo Dalla Porta (Leopard Racing) starts 12th. Joining Canet on the front row were two stunning performers: rookie Ai Ogura (Honda Team Asia) took second and his third front row of the season, with recently-crowned Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup Champion and wildcard Carlos Tatay (Fundacion Andreas Perez 77) taking third in only his second Grand Prix appearance.
Despite rain that interupted FP3, the skies were dry by the time the lightweight class headed out for qualifying, and Canet was one of those in Q1 looking to move through. The Spaniard did just that, a tenth off Dennis Foggia (Sky Racing Team VR46), who topped the session, with the two joined by Tatay and rookie Celestino Vietti (Sky Racing Team VR46).
Once into Q2, Canet pulled the pin. 11 minutes into the session the Spaniard set his searing lap that put him over a second clear, and it seemed like pole position could already be a done deal. Ultimately, it was, as the final flurry of times didn’t see too much drama. Ogura and Tatay were able to make up some ground – a few tenths – but the man second in the standings was in another postcode on Saturday afternoon. For Ogura, however, it’s a third front row of the season, and for Tatay an impressive first…just a week after the Spaniard wrapped up the 2019 Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup crown.
Behind the three distinct stories on the front row, Jakub Kornfeil (Redox PrüstelGP) also impressed as the Czech veteran heads up Row 2, joined by Vietti and a good showing from Alonso Lopez (Estrella Galicia 0,0) for his best ever qualifying. Tony Arbolino (VNE Snipers) was one man to lose out in the latter stages as he got pushed down to seventh, just ahead of Misano winner Tatsuki Suzuki (SIC58 Squadra Corse). John McPhee (Petronas Sprinta Racing) completes the third row.
Ayumu Sasaki is just behind his Petronas Sprinta Racing teammate in tenth, ahead of Q1-topping Dennis Foggia. Championship leader Dalla Porta starts alongside his compatriot in P12. Albert Arenas (Gaviota Angel Nieto Team), Gabriel Rodrigo (Kömmerling Gresini Moto3) and Jaume Masia (WWR) lock out the fastest fifteen in qualifying.
Moto3 Combined Qualifying Times
|12||Lorenzo DALLA PORTA||HONDA||Q2||1m59.449|
|24||Gerard RIU MALE||KTM||Q1||2m00.069|
|25||Julian Jose GARCIA||HONDA||Q1||2m00.257|