Repsol Honda’s MotoGP™ World Champion Marc Marquez continued his dominance of the Gran Premio Red Bull de la Republica Argentina weekend to take pole, ahead of Jorge Lorenzo and Dani Pedrosa.
Marquez appears to be enjoying every moment of the first World Championship visit to the new Termas de Rio Hondo track and he set a superb 1’37.683s late in the 15 minute showdown to maintain his 100% 2014 pole record.
Movistar Yamaha MotoGP’s 2010 and 2012 MotoGP title winner Lorenzo improved his best time significantly in the final stages to qualify second, a 0.742s margin from pole.
Pedrosa, meanwhile, was not far behind Lorenzo in third, his best time of 1’38.651s leaving him a second off the pole pace.
Another good performance from Aleix Espargaro (NGM Forward Racing) on the ‘Open’ Forward-Yamaha puts him at the head on the second row, with Italians Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team) and Valentino Rossi (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) qualifying just behind him.
After making it through from Q1 Bradley Smith (Monster Yamaha Tech3) will shoot for another top five race result from the front of row three, with Andrea Iannone (Pramac Racing) and Stefan Bradl (LCR Honda MotoGP) behind him. Bradl walked away from a big highside but looked somewhat shaken by the crash.
Alvaro Baustista (GO&FUN Honda Gresini), Pol Espargaro (Monster Yamaha Tech3) and the other rider to make it through from Q1, Nicky Hayden (Drive M7 Aspar), will get away from the fourth row.
MotoGP™ Qualifying Practice Classification
- Marc Marquez 93 ESP Repsol Honda Team HONDA 1’37.683
- Jorge Lorenzo 99 ESP Yamaha Factory Racing YAMAHA 1’38.425
- Dani Pedrosa 26 ESP Repsol Honda Team HONDA 1’38.651
- Aleix Espargaro 41 ESP NGM Mobile Forward Racing YAMAHA 1’38.794
- Andrea Dovizioso 4 ITA Ducati Team DUCATI 1’38.856
- Valentino Rossi 46 ITA Yamaha Factory YAMAHA 1’38.949
- Bradley Smith 38 GBR Monster Yamaha Tech 3 YAMAHA 1’38.958
- Andrea Iannone 29 ITA Pramac Racing DUCATI 1’39.237
- Stefan Bradl 6 GER LCR Honda MotoGP HONDA 1’39.297
- Alvaro Bautista 19 ESP Go & Fun Honda Gresini HONDA 1’39.429
- Pol Espargaro 44 ESP Monster Yamaha Tech 3 YAMAHA 1’39.822
- Nicky Hayden 69 USA Drive M7 Aspar HONDA 1’40.541
- Scott Redding 45 GBR Go & Fun Honda Gresini HONDA 1’40.238
- Colin Edwards 5 USA NGM Mobile Forward Racing YAMAHA 1’40.476
- Karel Abraham 17 CZE Cardion AB Motoracing HONDA 1’40.615
- Hiroshi Aoyama 7 JPN Drive M7 Aspar HONDA 1’40.616
- Yonny Hernandez 68 COL Pramac Racing DUCATI 1’40.691
- Broc Parkes 23 AUS Paul Bird Motorsport PBM 1’40.981
- Michele Pirro 51 ITA Ducati Team DUCATI 1’41.018
- Michael Laverty 70 GBR Paul Bird Motorsport ART & PBM 1’41.103
- Hector Barbera 8 ESP Avintia Racing MotoGP FTR-KAWASAKI 1’41.129
- Mike Di Meglio 63 FRA Avintia Racing MotoGP FTR-KAWASAKI 1’41.267
- Danilo Petrucci 9 ITA IodaRacing Project IODA-SUTER 1’41.686
Moto2™: Third pole of the year for Rabat
Moto2™ pole at the Gran Premio Red Bull de la Republica Argentina was claimed by Tito Rabat (Marc VDS Racing Team), ahead of Johann Zarco (AirAsia Caterham Moto Racing) and Xavier Simeon (Federal Oil Gresini Moto2).
Championship leader Rabat recorded a 1’43.961s towards the end of the session to make it a hat-trick of poles so far in 2014.
The Spaniard was not distracted by a brief pause 23 minutes from the end of the Qualifying session when the red flags came out after a crash for Sam Lowes (Speed Up) left debris on the track. Action soon resumed after cleaning had taken place and Lowes was unhurt.
Zarco and Simeon respectively qualified 0.010s and 0.077s from Rabat and will both look to stay with the pole man at the start of Sunday’s race. Simeon was later given a penalty point for continuing at speed under the red flags and not entering pit lane when the red flag was displayed.
Maverick Viñales (Pons HP 40) heads row two from Jonas Folger (AGR Team) and teammate Luis Salom (Pons HP 40), all three riders within 0.361s of pole.
The third row sees Mattia Pasini (NGM Forward Racing), Alex De Angelis (Tasca Racing) and Simone Corsi (NGM Forward Racing) all under half a second from the front. Takaaki Nakagami (Idemitsu Honda Team Asia) heads the fourth row in tenth spot.
Local wild card Sebastian Porto recovered from a large ‘moment’ at the start of the session to qualify in 32nd on his return to Grand Prix.
Moto2™ Qualifying Practice Classification
- Tito Rabat SPA Kalex 1:43.961
- Johann Zarco FRA Caterham Suter +0.010
- Xavier Simeon BEL Suter +0.077
Moto3™: Pole for consistent Miller at Termas de Rio Hondo
The first ever Qualifying Session at Termas de Rio Hondo track saw Jack Miller (Red Bull KTM Ajo) take a second successive pole with a 1’49.200s lap, with the Australian to be joined on the front row by Efren Vazquez (SAXOPRINT RTG) and Danny Kent (Red Bull Husqvarna Ajo).
Championship leader Miller has been quickest in every Moto3™ session so far this weekend at the Gran Premio Red Bull de la Republica Argentina and he will aim for a third successive win in 2014 in Sunday’s race, having secured pole at the renovated 4.8km circuit.
Vazquez pushed hard to challenge Miller in the final stages, only to miss out by just 0.052s, whilst Kent was over 0.4s down.
The second row will be comprised of Jakub Kornfeil (Calvo Team) and SKY Racing Team VR46 teammates Romano Fenati and Francesco Bagnaia who will all aim to be in the podium hunt.
The third row qualifiers were Niklas Ajo (Avant Tecno Husqvarna Ajo), Alex Rins (Estrella Galicia 0,0) and Livio Loi (Marc VDS Racing Team), whilst Alessandro Tonucci (CIP Mahindra) heads the fourth row having completed the QP top ten.
Niccolo Antonelli (Junior Team GO&FUN) crashed after just five minutes and then Eric Granado (Calvo Team) did the same, though both riders soon rejoined. A crash for Alexis Masbou (Ongetta-Rivacold) and Brad Binder (Ambrogio Racing) saw Masbou walk away after going under Binder’s bike.
Karel Hanika (Red Bull KTM Ajo) crashed at speed at turn 9 at end of session but was also unhurt. None of the crashing riders were able to get close to top ten times.
Moto3™ Qualifying Practice Classification
- Jack Miller AUS KTM 1:49.200
- Efren Vazquez SPA Honda +0.052
- Danny Kent GBR Husqvarna +0.417
Repsol Honda RC213V rider Marc Marquez added a few more lines to his growing legend in Argentina today, claiming a third pole position in the first three races of the 2014 season, after a third successive dominant performance throughout practice and qualifying.
While the defending 2013 World Champion – the youngest in history – maintained a comfortable gap over his rivals throughout two days of practice, Repsol Honda team-mate Dani Pedrosa took a leading role among them, returning to the front row for a second successive race after qualifying a close third.
The riders in the factory-backed team will start tomorrow’s race separated by second-fastest Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha).
Marquez, previously 125 and Moto2 champion, has taken a strong early lead in the championship after winning the two opening rounds in Qatar and the USA, both from pole-position starts.
The 21-year-old Spaniard displayed his prowess again in Argentina with a typically flamboyant display of on-the-limit riding. His technique for learning a brand-new track was spectacular as he explored the outer limits from the first session. Brimming with confidence, he was also learning the layout and pursuing a careful tyre-management strategy, on a surface that punishes even the hardest choice of tyre compound.
Pedrosa as usual took a more measured approach to learning the new track and fine-tuning the settings on his RC213V Honda to get the most out of it. He saved his final effort for the important qualifying session, closing to within just under a second of his team-mate’s final devastating run, displaced by only two tenths by Lorenzo.
Pedrosa lies a strong second overall in the championship, after two successive rostrum finishes – third in Qatar and second in Texas. The experienced Spaniard, former 125 and double 250 World Champion, is known for his consistent podium strength.
German former Moto2 champion Stefan Bradl (LCR Honda RC213V) qualified ninth, in spite of missing half the qualifying session after heavy tumble. Bradl walked away, but did not go out again, thwarting his hopes of repeating his front row start in the USA two weeks ago. Bradl finished fourth in that race.
Spanish former 125cc champion Alvaro Bautista (GO&FUN Honda RC213V) was less than two tenths and one place down in tenth. Bautista has an extra role, race-testing Nissin brakes and Showa suspension, made by Japanese companies with strong links to Honda.
Honda’s 2006 World Champion Nicky Hayden – back with the marque on one of the new “Open” RCV1000R production racers – was the next best, in 12th. For the first time this year the popular and experienced American won through from Q1 to take his place in Q2, fighting for the front three rows.
Scott Redding (GO&FUN Honda RCV1000R) was disappointed to fail to make the top two in Q1 so as to have a chance in the “senior” Q2 session, but he was beaten by Hayden by four hundredths of a second. The ex-Moto2 class rookie will start from 13th, at the head of row five.
Karel Abraham (Cardion AB Motoracing Honda RCV1000R) placed 15th at the far end of the same row, the Czech rider’s best position so far this year as he continues to recover from major shoulder surgery that cut short his season last year.
Hiroshi Aoyama (Drive M7 Aspar Honda RCV1000R) was one place down in 16th. The Japanese rider won the last ever 250cc World Championship for Honda, and also returns to the marque this year.
The 4.806-km new Termas de Rio Hondo circuit is fast and rhythmical, well-suited to motorcycle racing, and earned praise from all the riders. Marquez’s pole average speed of 177.1 km/h makes it the second-fastest circuit on the calendar. But the little-used surface proved dusty and abrasive, causing rapid tyre wear, although improving with more use.
Marc Marquez, Repsol Honda: 1st, 1m 37.683 – “Today I really felt good on the bike and I am happy to have taken pole position. In the morning and in FP4, we worked a lot with the used tyre and this afternoon we obviously focused on qualifying. I put in a very good lap and I think that tomorrow it will be interesting to see which tyre will be required for the race, because there are various options for both the front and the rear – it is going to be a difficult choice! One of the keys for the race will be tyre management, in order to try to get to the end with optimal grip – which will allow us to make the difference.”
Dani Pedrosa, Repsol Honda: 3rd, 1m 38.920s – “Qualifying did not go perfectly. I wasn’t as fast as I wanted to be and I know that I made a few mistakes – especially on the final corner – which hindered me a lot. However, I’m happy, because the important thing is that we had some good practice sessions. We are high up the grid for tomorrow, so we shall try to make the most of this and have a good race.”
Stefan Bradl, LCR Honda MotoGP: 9th, 1m 39.297s – “First of all I am feeling much better now, and this is extremely important. I crashed on Turn 2, but we do not know what happened exactly because the traction control was not working properly, and this was an unusual high-side for a MotoGP bike. I had a big impact on the asphalt and did not feel 100 percent when I went back to the garage, so we preferred to quit the session. The doctors from the Clinica Mobile looked after me and after the treatment I feel good. I just have to rest tonight and get ready for tomorrow, because ninth position is not a disaster. We are all lapping on a similar pace, so I can still catch the front guys.”
Alvaro Bautista, GO&FUN Honda Gresini: 10th, 1m 39.429s – “We have improved a lot from yesterday, changing the bike a lot and found a better pace. Okay, the track conditions are better and everyone was faster, but I made a bigger step than them. This afternoon I tried with the hard rear tyre, because after three or four laps the soft moves around a lot and 25 laps will not be possible. The hard felt good and more consistent, with a good pace. In qualifying I made some mistakes and also found a lot of other riders slowing me in the corners, but I am still confident for tomorrow.”
Nicky Hayden, Drive M7 Aspar Honda: 12th, 1m 40.541s – “First of all I want to say the circuit is fantastic, and the atmosphere is fantastic. I’ve had a lot of fun from my first time out. Today we continued to improve, but the bike was already good yesterday, so no drastic changes, just minor adjustments. Today the goal was to reach Q2 and we succeeded, but the way the weekend turned out we reached the final session without new tyres to use. We knew it was going to be a tough session. I wanted to end the day closer to the top, but we should be happy that the bike has improved. Tyre choice will be difficult and the first lap will be hard because there is only one safe, clean line, and everyone will want to take it.”
Scott Redding, GO&FUN Honda Gresini: 13th, 1m 40.238s – “I’m happy with my qualifying. We checked the split times and it’s clear my ideal lap time would have been quicker than Hayden. When I went out on track I didn’t push hard enough with the new softer tyre in the beginning. My own fault, and a good lesson for the future. Then I lost the rear a couple of times in my last two fast laps. All in all I’m satisfied, but a little disappointed because Nicky is in front of us. Regarding tyres, I think the only option is the hard compound; anyway the track is coming better and so is the tyre life, so tomorrow’s race could be really interesting for us.”
Karel Abraham, Cardion AB Motoracing Honda: 15th, 1m 40.616s – “Today it was quite good. The position on the grid is the best that I have reached this season and so we are satisfied. I would be even happier if I had been able to ride today’s best time more times in a row. I will try to do it in warm up tomorrow. We had some small problems with the bike today; we tried different types of setting and tyres. We will continue with that also tomorrow. I’m looking forward to the race. I do enjoy the track because there are lots of fast and long corners and I like it. We will see tomorrow, but for now we are optimistic.”
Hiroshi Aoyama, Drive M7 Aspar Honda: 16th, 1m 40.616s – “It is a very interesting circuit, but the grip is difficult. Yesterday we were working to make the bike turn in better. We tried a new configuration that allowed me to lean the bike over more, and also prepare better for corner exits. Our time dropped considerably, but the most important thing is that the bike has evolved and we were able to increase our pace. Both hard and soft tyres worked well, so we have to assess which will be best. We still have the warm-up session to finish clearing up the doubt.”
Movistar Yamaha MotoGP rider Jorge Lorenzo scored his first front row start of the season today, taking second in qualifying for tomorrow’s Gran Premio de la República Argentina at the Termas de Rio Hondo circuit. Teammate Valentino Rossi took a second row start with sixth place.
In an unusual move Lorenzo was the last to exit the pit lane today in qualifying, waiting for the pack to go before hitting the track in quiet space. The Mallorcan chose to go out with the harder option rear tyre for the first time attack, using it to score a best time of 1’39.248 to take fourth in the provisional standings. Lorenzo then returned to the pits to switch to the medium, softer option rear tyre and was back on track with five minutes remaining in fifth place. The softer tyre was the key to a front row, helping him to jump three places further up to second, securing his first front row start of the season with a 1’38.425 second lap.
Rossi also took his time to leave the pits for the qualifying session, exiting just before Lorenzo as second to last on track. The nine-time world champion got straight down to business, scoring a temporary fifth place on his first flying lap with a 1’39.421. A second flying lap saw him then enter the pits for fresh rubber 1.132 seconds from first with a 1’39.359. With just over five minutes remaining he was back out and breaking under the 1’39 mark. Rossi scored his session best on the sixth lap with a 1’38.949 to take sixth on the grid on the second row.
Jorge Lorenzo – 2nd / 1’38.425 / 7 laps – “We are trying to solve every challenge we can to be as competitive as possible. Today we made a small modification before the qualifying practice that proved to be good. It was better entering the corner and also gave us more traction so I could be a bit faster. I pushed at the maximum with the soft tyre to make a fast lap time and was able to make it. We are trying our best to be as competitive as possible and take the maximum so we are satisfied with the result.”
Valentino Rossi – 6th / 1’38.949 / 8 laps – “I am happy about today, it was a good practice. This morning we improved a lot the bike and this afternoon I had a good pace and was quite constant. Unfortunately I wanted to make it better in the fastest lap but I was not able to make the last 10%. I am in the second row that is quite good, we have to work and decide the tyres but I have a good feeling. We will see tomorrow.”
Massimo Meregalli – “Our situation is getting better. Once the circuit improved grip we automatically got faster. Combined with this we have also made big improvements to the setting and the track knowledge of the riders has improved. Now we are trying to find something else on both sides of the garage for the warm up where we can test it to be ready to start the race. Jorge delivered a really strong performance in qualifying; he showed what he is capable of with a great flying lap for second place. Vale did well and the second row is a good place to start for tomorrow’s race. We know his pace is good so we are confident he will be competitive and with the front guys. We expect to improve for tomorrow and we don’t expect the tyres to be an issue. We have our eyes firmly set on the podium.”
Bradley Smith – 7th, 1’38.958 – “I am really pleased with 7th position going into tomorrow’s race. Participating in Qualifying 1 wasn’t part of the plan, but during FP3 I was concentrating on doing long runs with used tyres to make the best choice for tomorrow’s race. But in the end, it even helped us, as the extra track time enabled us to test a few more setting changes. This was especially beneficial as the bike was struggling a bit in the braking areas, which we managed to amend. I was able to go quicker on a used hard tyre during Qualifying 1 and then could further lower my lap time on the soft in Q2. Still, things could have gone better, because I knew the track was improving but I made a small error on my first flying lap on the soft, so the tyre’s grip dropped. If this didn’t occur, maybe I would have had a chance at the second row. It will be tough tomorrow as the track is evolving all the time. I think we need to race with the hard rear tyre as it will be the most consistent. My aim is to get a good start and try to remain with the Factory Yamahas.”
Pol Espargaro – 11th, 1:40.407 – “Honestly I am quite disappointed with my qualifying result of 11th, but I still feel confident of achieving a good result tomorrow as my rhythm was competitive during all the other sessions and I really felt comfortable on the bike. After the crash this morning, I felt a little bit confused but beside a small injury on my finger I was lucky to getaway unhurt and it will not be a problem for tomorrow. This afternoon I decided to try the hard tyre to improve my lap time in qualifying but this was the wrong choice. I felt stronger on it the whole weekend, but the changing grip level and higher temperatures did not put me in the best conditions to get the maximum out of my bike. We still have to try a few things during the warm up, and also the final tyre decision has to be made. In any case I will give it my all during the race, and with a good start I’m convinced I can battle with the other satellite riders.”
Aleix Espargaro – 4th, 1’38.794 – “I’m really happy of the work done today: I have a strong race pace and the feeling with the hard tyre is good, so I aim at finishing in the top 5 tomorrow. It’s a pity that with the soft tyre I couldn’t push as I wanted. As in Austin, I lost the opportunity to start from the front row for one tenth. Anyway I’m confident for the race and I start determined to get a good result.”
Colin Edwards – 14th, 1’40.476 – “Today we tested a new set up on the front and the feeling has improved. I’m not struggling so much compared to Qatar or Texas so this is very positive. Step by step we are improving and I look forward to get a good result tomorrow. My congratulations to Aleix, who is doing an incredible job and to the whole team.”
Andrea Dovizioso qualified in fifth place for the Argentina GP, third round of the 2014 MotoGP World Championship, which will take place tomorrow at the Autodromo Termas de Rio Hondo in the north of the country. His team-mate Michele Pirro, who is replacing the injured Cal Crutchlow, was unable to find a good feeling with his Ducati Team Desmosedici GP14, and could only finish nineteenth.
In the early stages of Q2 Dovizioso set a time of 1m39.545s on his second lap out, which powered him close to the top of the times in the provisional standings. After returning to the pits to fit a second soft tyre, Dovi then managed to further improve by seven-tenths of a second, ending qualifying with a time of 1m38.856s, which earned him a row 2 start position for tomorrow’s race.
Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team #04) – 5th (1m38.856s) – “I am very happy with my position: starting from row 2 tomorrow is fine. But I’m happy above all for the good work we did today. This morning we were quick over one lap, but rather slow over race pace because we were wearing out the rear tyre in a strange way. However we managed to improve the set-up of the bike a lot, this afternoon I was able to lower my pace by almost two seconds, and so now I can get a relaxing night’s sleep! I did a really good lap in qualifying, and when you do this the feelings are always great. Managing the tyres in the race will be very complicated; when you go to a new circuit, with a dirty track surface and no rubber, there are always these problems. I am sure that tomorrow in the race, as well as speed, the difference will be made by those who can ride smoothly and not aggressively.”
Michele Pirro (Ducati Team #51) – 19th (1m41.018s) – “I am pretty disappointed because I was not able to find a good feeling with my Desmosedici GP14. I don’t exactly know why, but I struggled a lot more than expected. This is in no way the position we should be with this bike, so now me and my engineers will try and find a solution for me to run a decent race tomorrow and repay my team for all the work they’ve done in these days.”
Bridgestone slick compounds available: Front: Soft, Medium & Hard; Rear: Soft, Medium & Hard (Symmetric)
Bridgestone wet tyre compounds available: Soft (Main) & Hard (Alternative)
Weather: FP3 – Dry. Ambient 19-21°C; Track 26-31°C (Bridgestone measurement)
FP4/QP – Dry. Ambient 25-25°C; Track 41-42°C (Bridgestone measurement)
Repsol Honda’s Marc Marquez kept his perfect pole record for the season intact, as the reigning World Champion set a scorching lap time of 1’37.683 in qualifying for the Argentina Grand Prix.
Marquez’s first flying lap in Qualifying Practice 2 was quicker than any of his rivals could manage, but he went even quicker on his penultimate lap to finish to finish 0.742 seconds clear of Movistar Yamaha MotoGP’s Jorge Lorenzo who finished in second place. On the other Repsol Honda, Dani Pedrosa will start tomorrow’s race in third place on the grid with his lap time of 1’38.425 securing him a front row slot.
Track conditions improved today with more rubber and less dust on the asphalt providing a slight increase in grip compared to yesterday. The peak track temperature of 42°C was recorded during Qualifying Practice and was an increase of 8°C from yesterday’s high. The better track surface enabled riders to extract more performance from the tyres, with a significant improvement in lap times and more consistent performance over race distance. The hard compound rear slick was the preferred option among the Factory Honda and Yamaha riders, providing more consistent performance while the medium compound rear slick was more popular with the Ducati and Open-class riders.
For the time attack in Qualifying Practice 1 and 2, riders used the softer rear slick options available to them, although some riders also set impressive lap times on their harder rear slick option. With three front options available this weekend, front tyre choice for today’s sessions showed a strong preference for the medium compound front slick, although all three specifications were utilised by riders today.
The next MotoGP™ session is the morning Warm Up session at 0940 local time (GMT -4) with the twenty-five lap Argentina Grand Prix set to start at 1400.
Shinji Aoki – Manager, Bridgestone Motorsport Tyre Development Department – “The track surface improved again today and this brought with it better grip levels and tyre durability. In today’s practice sessions we could see some riders were able to still set quick lap times on tyres which had completed almost race distance, so this bodes well for tomorrow’s race. Perhaps the best example of this was Marquez setting the quickest time in FP3 on a rear tyre that he had run more than twenty laps on. It seems the harder rear slick options for the Factory and Open-class riders will be the most prevalent options for tomorrow’s race, while the medium compound front will be used by most riders for the race.”