Lorenzo claims pole and breaks his own record doing so
Jack Miller second on grid and first independent
Two weeks after his Silverstone pole, Jorge Lorenzo has done it once again at the Misano Adriatico circuit by setting a new outright track record during the second qualifying session. His time of 1’31.629 means the Spanish rider has now set three poles this season, taking the Ducati Team up to a total of 40 pole positions in the Italian manufacturer’s history in MotoGP.
Jorge Lorenzo – P1 – 1’31.629
“I’m very pleased and proud of this second successive pole position, my third of the season, because it confirms that we are working really well, that we’ve improved a lot of details and now we have at our disposal a competitive bike that allows us to set times like the one today at Misano. I was already impressed by the time set on my first run with the medium tyre, and I was in doubt whether or not to also try the soft one, but in the end we fitted it on my third run and I was able to get my time down even more and set the new track record. As well as my good feelings, I think that tomorrow’s race will be a really tough and physical battle and it will be important to make the right choice of tyres to be fast and consistent.”
Jack Miller (Alma Pramac Racing) put in a stunner at his team’s home race to take second and qualify as top Independent Team rider.
Jack Miller – P2 – 1’31.916
“I’m very happy for this result. We did a great job with the team and today the feeling was very good. Tomorrow it will be a very demanding race but we have great confidence”.
Viñales showed he’s feeling competitive in the dry during FP4, which he ended in first place. Following this ego-boost, he was eager in Q2 to get a hot lap in but soon realised the first tyre wasn’t working for him. After two tries the Spaniard hurried back to the box for a fresh tyre. On his next attempt he moved up to fifth place, but as the pace quickened towards the end of the session he fell back to seventh. He had one more trick up his sleeve however and produced a 1’31.950s lap by riding three personal best sectors on S2, S3 and S4. This put him in third place, on the front row of the grid, 0.321s from first.
Maverick Viñales – P3 – 1’31.950
“It’s nice to be back and have the chance to start the race from the front row. I think we began the weekend really well, so we have a good rhythm for tomorrow and the bike is working well. We need to make some adjustments in a few areas, but I’m really happy, honestly. The work we’ve done since the Misano test is helping, I feel better with the bike. I think my lap time today could have been a little bit faster, because on the first tyre I didn’t feel so great, it was very slippery. This gave me less confidence for the second tyre, but I’m actually pleased. I did my best lap on the third try and we still have some room for improvement for tomorrow. I haven’t decided on a race tyre yet, let’s see tomorrow. The soft or the medium, I don’t know what I’m going to do. I’m fast on both, so that’s something pretty important. Another thing is that the team is working good and I actually feel really grateful because we got the feeling back again. I can push on the bike and they are understanding my feelings, and that’s great.”
One key name missing from that trio? Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team), top qualifier this season so far, did not make it onto the front row – he crashed. Lorenzo’s ominous form was certainly a key headline but the drama for the Championship leader lit up the session.
Crashing on his second run in a relatively fast lowside, the number 93 was straight to his feet without pause for thought and sprinting to get a lift back to the pits. Once back in the paddock on the back of a scooter, he hit the ground running again to run through his Repsol Honda garage from front to back, straight back on his other machine and heading back out.
Marc Marquez – P5 – 1’32.016
“On my second flying lap in qualifying I was pushing hard when I lost the front and crashed. I got angry at myself as I knew I could improve a lot—I had a margin. I rushed back to the garage so fast that only when I jumped on the bike did I realize I had something in my eye, and then I lost a bit my concentration. I did a few mistakes and I wasn’t very precise, so I didn’t make a perfect lap, even if the adrenaline was there. Anyway, now we must wait for tomorrow’s race, because our rhythm is good, I feel comfortable on the bike, and we did a good FP4 session on used tyres. Crash aside, today everything went very well. Of course, being on the second row means you must pay close attention on the first lap but tomorrow we’ll try and fight for the podium.”
The first sector looked like it might it be possible as it lit up red, but the reigning Champion then lost some time and it wasn’t to be. So he’ll line up fifth – his worst qualifying in the premier class at the venue – and he’ll have some serious company in the form of Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team), who’s just alongside him in fourth.
Andrea Dovizioso – P4 – 1’32.003
“All in all, it was a very positive day, both this morning and in the afternoon. Unfortunately, in qualifying I was unable to do a perfect lap because I just wasn’t smooth enough. Pity, because the bike was fast and so we could have done better. For tomorrow we have a good race pace and we are in the leading group. As so often happens, it’ll be the small details that make all the difference because there are at least four or five riders who can fight for the podium and the win tomorrow.”
Behind Dovizioso and Marquez, Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda Castrol) was sixth and completes the second row, suffering a low-drama crash near the end of the session. And the Brit broke some local hearts, with Valentino Rossi (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) pushed down to head up the third row.
Rossi’s first run also didn’t go entirely to plan. He left the box looking for some clear space on track to put on a show for his fans, but they had to be patient as his first hot lap got cancelled. He appeared in fifth place on the timing screens after his second flying lap and he went straight back to the box.
The Italian returned to the fray with more than six minutes left, entering a half empty track as at that point many other riders were swapping tyres. He put his head down and climbed up to fourth on his next try, but soon was back in sixth. He kept pushing but was unable to improve on his 1’32.028s lap, 0.399s from pole, and finished in seventh place as his teammate made a late charge. The local hero will start tomorrow’s race from the third row of the grid, missing out on the second row by just 0.003s.
Valentino Rossi – P7 – 1’32.028
“It’s a great shame, because even second place is less than one tenth of a second away. It’s unbelievable, we’re very, very close. I did a good lap, but not a perfect one, unfortunately. I made a mistake and it cost me the first and second row. Starting from the third row is more difficult, for sure, but on the other hand, this afternoon in FP4 we improved the balance of the bike and I feel better. I’m not so bad, I have a good pace, also on a used tyre it’s quite good. It looks like I need two tenths more if I want to try to go for the podium, because we have a minimum of five other riders with the same pace. We have to work this night to try to understand how we can make another little step.”
Row 3 is completed by last year’s podium finisher Danilo Petrucci (Alma Pramac Racing) and fellow Independent Team rider Johann Zarco (Monster Yamaha Tech 3).
Zarco showed his talent this morning by taking over the top with his last flying lap and lowering his best lap from Friday to make it directly to Q2. He concluded the all-important Qualifying just 0.621 seconds behind the new pole position record
Johann Zarco – P9 – 1’32.250
“Overall, it has been a good Saturday. I’m especially happy about this morning when I was able to make it directly into Q2 and I saw again how important it is to keep your energy in order to have the best possible Qualifying. My lap time has been incredible today, I also improved my personal one. In the end I start in ninth position and it is really difficult to do better. We are not so far and I think that the work, we are doing is positive, so I keep that in mind and stay strong for Sunday.”
Alex Rins (Team Suzuki Ecstar) was tenth fastest and top Hamamatsu machine after teammate Andrea Iannone just failed to make it through to Q2 – he starts P13 – with two-time Misano winner Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda Team) in P11. Franco Morbidelli (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) completes the top 12.
Dani Pedrosa – P11 – 1’32.369
“Today we were able to be fastest in Q1, improving quite well our lap time from our previous effort. But then, in Q2, we didn’t make a step up and made more or less the same lap time, which was not bad but not good enough either as today everyone was quite close. Of course it’s a bit frustrating because at this track a good starting position is important. In general, we’re losing a bit everywhere in terms of acceleration, though we’re strong enough in the braking areas. Anyway, let’s see how it goes tomorrow, because of course it’ll be important to make a good start.”
Behind Iannone, wildcard compatriot Michele Pirro (Ducati Test Team) took P14 after a crash hampered his chances in Q1, and Alvaro Bautista (Angel Nieto Team) completed the top 15.
HRC MotoGP test rider Stefan Bradl will start tomorrow’s 2:00 pm San Marino Grand Prix from the 6th row of the grid after setting the 18th fastest qualifying time in 1’33.361. Stefan worked quite consistently on his bike’s setup and his race pace, with tomorrow’s goal being to finish in the points.
Stefan Bradl – P18 – 1’33.361
“Today we worked quite a lot on several areas of the bike’s setup and on the mapping, but it took more time than we expected to sort things out. With the damp conditions we had this morning it wasn’t easy to have good feedback, so we had to use FP4 to repeat our tests. Of course, this is our main target and it cost us a bit in terms of looking for the performance, but this is normal. We ultimately managed to record an acceptable lap time and also our race pace is not bad. Eighteenth on the grid will still allow us to try and recover some positions so we’ll try our best to finish in the points.”
So that’s it for the premier class on Saturday. A three-time winner on pole, a dark horse with nothing to lose alongside him and a man who hasn’t won for a year make for an incredible front row – with everything to play for.
Marquez and Dovizioso lurk close behind too, and the ‘Doctor’ can never be counted out on race day – especially considering his incredible support around Misano. Who will emerge from the melee ahead? The lights go out at 14:00 (GMT +2).
MotoGP Qualifying Results
LORENZO Jorge – SPA – Ducati 1’31.629
MILLER Jack – AUS – Ducati 1’31.916 / +0.287
VINALES Maverick – SPA – Yamaha 1’31.950 / +0.321
DOVIZIOSO Andrea – ITA – Ducati 1’32.003 / +0.374
MARQUEZ Marc – SPA – Honda 1’32.016 / +0.387
CRUTCHLOW Cal – GBR – Honda 1’32.025 / +0.396
ROSSI Valentino – ITA – Yamaha 1’32.028 / +0.399
PETRUCCI Danilo – ITA – Ducati 1’32.136 / +0.507
ZARCO Johann – FRA – Yamaha 1’32.250 / +0.621
RINS Alex – SPA – Suzuki 1’32.338 / +0.709
PEDROSA Dani – SPA – Honda 1’32.369 / +0.740
MORBIDELLI Franco – ITA – 1’32.454 Q1 lap time
IANNONE Andrea – ITA – Suzuki 1’32.566 / 0.177
PIRRO Michele – ITA – Ducati 1’32.624 / 0.235
BAUTISTA Alvaro – SPA – Ducati 1’32.792 / 0.403
ESPARGARO Aleix – SPA – Aprilia 1’33.084 / 0.695
SMITH Bradley – GBR – KTM 1’33.085 / 0.696
BRADL Stefan – GER – Honda 1’33.361 / 0.972
NAKAGAMI Takaaki – JPN – Honda 1’33.437 / 1.048
ESPARGARO Pol – SPA – KTM 1’33.502 / 1.113
REDDING Scott – GBR – Aprilia 1’33.572 / 1.183
SIMEON Xavier – BEL – Ducati 1’33.705 / 1.316
LUTHI Tom – SWI – Honda 1’33.755 / 1.366
ABRAHAM Karel – CZE – Ducati 1’33.812 / 1.423
SYAHRIN Hafizh – MAL – Yamaha 1’34.080 / 1.691
PONSSON Christophe – FRA – Ducati 1’37.180 / 4.791
Francesco Bagnaia (Sky Racing Team VR46) sealed his first back-to-back pole positions in Grand Prix racing at the Gran Premio Octo di San Marino e della Riviera di Rimini after setting an unmatchable 1:37.121, with Marcel Schrötter (Dynavolt Intact GP) 0.210 back in second, sandwiched between two Italians on the front row as Mattia Pasini (Italtrans Racing Team) secured P3 for Sunday’s race.
With the track in optimum condition after the premier class qualifying sessions, it didn’t take long for home favourite Bagnaia to grab the top spot, displacing then provisional pole man Pasini by 0.244 seconds, a time he would then beat himself for pole.
The Italian duo were then split by Schrötter, who got the better of Pasini’s time by just 0.085 to earn his fourth front row start of the season and his first since Assen. Can he go on to claim his maiden Grand Prix podium on Sunday?
Behind Pasini on track and one place behind him on the gird was fourth place Fabio Quartararo (+ Ego Speed Up Racing), 0.124 from the front row and the only other rider to get within half a second of Bagnaia on Saturday afternoon.
Lining up alongside the Frenchman is Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Ajo), who propelled himself into the middle of the second row on his final lap, with Jorge Navarro (Federal Oil Gresini Moto2) sixth after briefly leading the leading qualifying in the opening minutes.
Working in tandem with his teammate, Luca Marini (Sky Racing Team VR46) will start him home GP from seventh after missing out on the second row by just 0.013s, with Alex Marquez (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) and second in the Championship Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM Ajo) joining him on the third row of the grid in P8 and P9 respectively.
Joan Mir (EG 0,0 Marc VDS), Dynavolt Intact GP’s Xavi Vierge and Augusto Fernandez (Pons HP40) in P10, P11 and P12 make it an all-Spanish fourth row in Misano.
Home hero Lorenzo Baldassarri (Pons HP40) will start one place behind his teammate in P13, but 2016 winner had a difficult session after crashing twice – rider ok. Will he move through from there? Can Oliveira mount a challenge on title rival and pole man Bagnaia from P9 on the grid? Find out when the intermediate class go into battle at 12:20 local time (GMT +2).
Moto2 Qualifying Results
Francesco Bagnaia (ITA) KALEX 1’37.121
Marcel Schrötter (GER) KALEX +0.210
Mattia Pasini (ITA) KALEX +0.295
Another weekend, another pole position. Jorge Martin (Del Conca Gresini Moto3) secured his 17th Moto3 pole in fine style at the Gran Premio Octo di San Marino e della Riviera di Rimini, smashing the lap record at Misano by 0.324 to spearhead the lightweight class grid behind enemy lines, with Gabriel Rodrigo (RBA BOE Skull Rider) 0.311 behind the Spaniard in second and Aron Canet (Estrella Galicia 0,0) in third; the Honda rider jumping up the timesheets on his final run.
Blue skies greeted the Moto3 grid for qualifying and the pace was scorching from the outset, with Italians Marco Bezzecchi (Redox PrustelGP), Leopard Racing’s Enea Bastianini, teammate Lorenzo Dalla Porta and Fabio Di Giannantonio (Del Conca Gresini Moto3) challenging for provisional pole before Rodrigo went quickest shortly before tucking the front at Turn 1 – rider ok.
The standings remained the same before the riders emerged for a final crack at pole and it was qualifying master Martin who set the timesheets alight to take his eighth pole of the season, with Rodrigo and Canet lining up alongside him on the front row. Fourth on the grid and the leading Italian in qualifying is Di Giannantonio, who missed out on a front row start by just 0.001.
Behind the number 21 is a gaggle of home riders, led by Bastianini in fifth, with Championship leader Bezzecchi having to settle for 6th on board his KTM after looking very strong for a home pole throughout. Heading the third row is Sky Racing Team VR46’s Nicolo Bulega, who went out in tandem with fellow VR46 Academy riders Dennis Fogia (Sky Racing Team VR46) and Bezzecchi to try and find the fastest lap time possible – but it was P7 for Bulega in the end.
Dalla Porta lines up alongside his compatriot in eighth, with Jakub Kornfeil (Redox PrustelGP) 9th after his fastest lap time was cancelled for exceeding track limits at the final corner, demoting the Czech rider from second. Rounding out the top ten in qualifying was Japan’s Ayumu Sasaki (Petronas Sprinta Racing).
So it’s another Martin pole position, but will he be able to hold off an Italian attack on Sunday with Bezzecchi searching to maintain his Championship lead on home soil? Find out when the lightweight class go racing at the San Marino GP at 11:00 local time (GMT +2).
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