Repsol Honda’s Marc Marquez continued his dominance of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway to make it three pole positions in a row at the legendary US circuit.
The reigning MotoGP World Champion has won the last two races at the circuit from pole position, and signs are ominous that he might do the same this weekend after he was the only rider to break the 1’32 barrier during Q2. The day got even better for Repsol Honda as Dani Pedrosa (+0.171s) managed to finish second fastest and secure a 1-2 on the grid for the Factory Team.
Marc Marquez – P1 – “I’m happy because FP4 went very well. Maybe the 6 tenths aren’t completely ‘real’ and there is actually only one or two tenths difference, but the positive thing is that we managed to turn around the gap that we had to Jorge yesterday. There is still the warmup tomorrow and I think everybody is improving, as the track condition is changing and we have to continue to adapt to it. Right now Jorge is the toughest rival and we must be vigilant.”
Marquez set a 1’31.884 on his just his second flying lap during the session to claim his fifth pole of the season in near perfect conditions at the ‘Brickyard’ as the sun broke through the clouds and the track temperature reached 40ºC. Try as they might, no one else had an answer to the Spaniard’s pace in a frantic end to the session, and it was only Pedrosa who managed to get within three-tenths of the reigning MotoGP World Champion.
Dani Pedrosa – P2 – “Today we worked a lot with the tyres, because at the moment my race pace is slower than that of Marc and Jorge. In the qualifying session I was able to do quite well. With the second tyre I had a good feeling, but I made some mistakes in some sections of the circuit and I tried to do an extra lap – which didn’t go so well. I’m happy to get a place on the front row, so we will continue working hard to try and gain a few tenths for tomorrow, because there are a couple of sectors – the first two – in which I am losing some time. We shall see if we can improve my riding and increase the grip a little, so that tomorrow we can be in the fight for the win.”
Movistar Yamaha’s Jorge Lorenzo (+0.302s) will start from the back of the front row despite using a two-stop strategy as he looks to close the 13-point gap at the top of the standings to his teammate Valentino Rossi.
Jorge Lorenzo – P3 – “Our competitors were very explosive and fast, especially during qualifying on one lap. It’s always difficult to beat them during the practices, not just at this track, but in general. I was a little bit afraid before putting in the last tyre, because I was in sixth position. Luckily for me I managed over the weekend to save one more tyre and in the third try-out I was able to improve my time by half a second and that gave me first row. This is vital, because tomorrow Marc can go very quickly from the beginning and it’s important to be as close to him as possible. It will be a long race, I think we have a good pace and we didn’t improve the bike as we expected, but we still have the warm up to try some things.”
Cal Crutchlow (+0.324s) was the leading Satellite rider and will start from the head of the second row in fourth on the CWM LCR Honda.
Cal Crutchlow – P4 – “Obviously I’m pleased with the position today. I would have liked to have been on the front row but the CWM LCR Honda team did a great job and we did our best. We still need to improve in a few areas of the circuit, especially with the harder rear tyre. At the moment we have some issues in that respect but we will sit down tonight and discuss where we can improve. It is a case of me in some areas and the package in some other areas but I am sure we can come up with some answers before the race.”
The big surprise of the session was the pace of Octo Pramac Racing’s Danilo Petrucci (+0.359s), who finished fastest in Q1 and managed to carry that pace into Q2 to start from fifth on the grid as the fastest Ducati in his best ever MotoGP qualifying performance. Monster Yamaha Tech 3’s Bradley Smith (+0.385s), who had been second fastest overall in practice, will start the race from sixth ahead of the Factory GP15 of Andrea Iannone in seventh.
Bradley Smith – P6 – “I’m really pleased with my performance today and in addition, my objective for the second half of this year was to qualify higher, so it has been a good start. At the same time, I am a bit disappointed as I was so close to the front row and I definitely left a bit of time out on track, but with everything being so close any small mistakes could have cost us a lot. I felt really good with the bike today and we started off well in the morning. Later we were even able to make another small step forward in FP4. We have made some considerable progress with the hard tyre and towards the end of the final practice session, I became much more confident about our chances in tomorrow’s GP. It will be a long and tricky race but the key factor is to remain consistent. Yet, to start from the outside of the second row is quite positive and I have qualified in that position before so I know the right lines to take. This afternoon, we will improve our plan of action for tomorrow a bit more, but all in all, I’m ready for the fight.”
Andrea Iannone – P7 – “We are suffering a bit but we have always managed to improve in every session, and all things considered this is positive because modifications don’t always go well every time you make them. Instead, we have succeeded in gaining constantly, in improving our situation and our race pace, and this is important. As for the rest, I expected to be a bit quicker in qualifying, but it was tough for me even to set this time. Tomorrow we’ll try and do our best, but in any case I’d like to thank the guys in my team because they are really making a big effort.”
Current championship leader Valentino Rossi was third on the timesheets with 7 mins to go, but was knocked down to 8th by the end of the session and will have to work hard to try and preserve his advantage in the championship standings on Sunday. The Italian won’t be panicking just yet though as two of his race win this season (Qatar and Argentina) have both come from 8th on the grid.
Valentino Rossi – P8 – “Yesterday I was very slow and a bit worried, and we didn’t start with a good base setting. Today the situation has improved, especially my pace is not so bad. In FP4 I was in fourth position and I raised my level and my potential a lot and also the life of the tyre is longer, but unfortunately in qualifying I wasn’t strong enough to start from the second row. I hit traffic, made mistakes and I have to start from the third row. This is a big problem because I’m not very fast here and we still have some problems with the bike that we have to improve, we have to make a step for tomorrow. I think fighting for the podium tomorrow will be hard, because Marc and Jorge are very strong, but at this track like at Sachsenring also Dani is very fast, so it will be difficult.”
Team Suzuki Ecstar’s Maverick Viñales completes the third row in ninth while Andrea Dovizioso on the second GP15 will start from tenth on the grid, with the Italian having to fight his way through Q2 after finishing 11th on the combined timesheets after practice.
Maverick Viñales – P9 – “I think it has been a very positive day, more than the result in qualifying shows. Our FP4 work was very good to prepare for the race: I ran with worn tyres and the times and feelings were positive. As I said we changed our working procedure this weekend and I must say that it is positive. I want to say thank you to the team because they did a very good job. Qualifying was pretty difficult because the track was slippery and we always struggle when we lack grip, but today we are ahead of my team-mate and this means that we could exploit at its best the potential of my GSX-RR. Tomorrow we will adjust the bike a little but I think we have a positive base. The strategy will require us to be patient because the race is very long and I must be wise in preserving the tyres. You get the points at the end of the race, so it wouldn’t make any sense to destroy the tyres at the start and then run out of grip at the end. I want to be wise, make a good start and then be consistent, just like we tested this weekend. If I am able to do that, I think we can aim for top six or seven.”
Andrea Dovizioso – P10 – “Today was a really difficult day, starting from this morning when we lost virtually the entire session due to various problems and were unable to work well. Unfortunately when we use the soft tyre we always have a big vibration at the front and so I have never been able to push harder to obtain a better grid position. As for our race pace, we are not where we’d like to be, but we are in the second group, not so far behind the front guys, and so with a good start I feel sure I can make up some positions.”
Pol Espargaro (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) and his brother Aleix (Team Suzuki Ecstar) make up the rest of the fourth row in 11th and 12th respectively, with less than a second separating the top 12 riders.
Pol Espargaro – P11 – “Without a doubt I can’t be satisfied with this qualifying result. During the practice sessions we always had a strong rhythm with the harder compound of tyre but as soon as I put the soft one in and tried to push for a fast lap time, my confidence with the bike dropped significantly. I didn’t feel comfortable nor did I enjoy riding the bike and my movements on it were not natural. It went as far as thinking that I would crash in nearly every corner which has happened twice already this weekend. However, fortunately our situation for the race looks to be more competitive even if I haven’t given myself an easy task from 11th place on the grid as I personally think that the starting position counts as more or less 40% of the result. Still, I will give it my all tomorrow and try to climb back to the positions that I want to be in.”
Aleix Espargaro – P12 – “It was a very hard qualifying for me, I haven’t been able to find good confidence the whole weekend. We have made some improvements since FP1 up to now but we are still far from the top. This morning we worked a lot with a full fuel tank and hard tyre to find at least a good set-up for the race. Yesterday I believed I could go for the race with the soft tyre, but at the end the hard offers a more consistent performance so we will have to evaluate the options more in warm-up. The race will be very tough, probably one of the toughest of the whole season, I could never find a proper feeling and I still don’t, but the runs we made in testing for overall pace have given positive responses therefore maybe we will be able to make a good race.”
To give you an indication how close qualifying was, Scott Redding (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) only just missed out on making it through to Q2 by 0.079s and will start from 13th.
Scott Redding – P13 – “This morning wasn’t too bad but I was struggling a bit on corner entry. We thought that we had been going the right way with setup but, today, everything seems to be doing something, and not in a good way. I’ve less front grip, I’m struggling with the rear and I’m a bit lost and more than a little annoyed at this moment. The race pace isn’t too bad but the biggest problem I’ve got at the moment is with the new tyre.”
Avintia Racing’s Hector Barbera was the leading Open class rider in 14th, with Australian Jack Miller (CWM LCR Honda) securing the best grid position of his rookie MotoGP World Championship season in 16th.
The Australian came out strongly in Q1 and posted a best lap of 1’33.381, an improvement of 1.4 seconds on his best effort from yesterday and enough for sixth fastest in that session and sixteenth overall on the grid for tomorrow’s race.
Jack Miller – P16 – “I’m quite happy with today, it’s my best qualifying so far but not only that, this is the best I have ever felt riding this bike. It feels like a long time that we have been working to get this comfortable and now we are here. Tomorrow will be a tough race but I am happy with what we have achieved here so far so who knows what can happen. Our aim is to get the best possible start and after that we will see!”
Stefan Bradl (17th) out qualified his teammate Alvaro Bautista (18th) on his debut for Aprilia Racing Team Gresini.
Stefan Bradl – P17 – “I am absolutely surprised to have already reached such a good level on my first time out with this bike. It’s true that it didn’t take much for me to adapt to it, but in any case I hope that tomorrow we’ll be able to take another step forward in terms of setup. Today we did a lot of work both on the geometries and on the electronics and the positive thing is that I can feel the changes. That means that we know which direction to go in order to improve. In any case the race tomorrow will be no walk in the park: today I pushed hard in the qualifiers and I could feel that my right wrist is still not at 100%. I’ll do everything I can to be physically fit tomorrow, but it will be hard, also because the tyres will wear, the bike’s performance will change and I still need to learn how to ride it in these conditions, with worn tyres. In any case we have done a great job so far and I hope we’ll be able to ride a good race tomorrow.”
Alvaro Bautista – P18 – “Today we did various tests trying to improve the setup, to help the RS-GP turn better and to find traction. It wasn’t a huge step forward, but we did manage to make some improvements. In particular the hard front tyre still doesn’t give me the same feeling as the soft one, but it performs better in terms of consistency for the race, so I think that will be our choice for tomorrow. In qualifying I was able to take good advantage of the first tyre, improving my time by half a second, whereas with the second one while I was pushing hard I lost control and even risked crashing. Fortunately nothing happened besides me not being able to make any further improvement on my times. Tomorrow we are expecting a hard race on a track which is difficult for us, also taking the weather into consideration which could change everything. In any case we need to continue working and gathering data.”
The Aspar MotoGP Team duo of Eugene Laverty and Nicky Hayden will start from 19th and 20th on the grid respectively.
MotoGP Qualifying Results
Rookie Rins smashes pole record in Moto2
Paginas Amarillas HP40’s rookie Alex Rins claimed his second pole position of the season at the Red Bull Indianapolis Grand Prix in an incredibly tight Moto2 Qualifying that saw less than a second separate the top 18 riders.
Rins set the fastest ever lap time by a Moto3 bike at the circuit, a 1’36.549, to decimate Mika Kallio’s previous pole record from last year (1’36.883) and finish 0.137s ahead of Tito Rabat on the Estrella Galicia 0,0 Kalex.
Reigning Moto2 champion Rabat has shown excellent race pace throughout the weekend as he tries to close the 65-point gap in the standings to Johann Zarco. Last year’s Moto2 runner-up, Italtrans Racing Team’s Mika Kallio, completes the front row as he put in his best qualifying performance of the season to finish just 0.316s off the pace of Rins.
Derendinger Racing Interwetten’s Thomas Luthi (+0.337s) will start from the head of the second row, ahead of Jonas Folger (+0.456s) on the AGR Team Kalex in fifth.
Idemitsu Honda Team Asia’s Takaaki Nakagami (+0473s) completes the second row, while Speed Up Racing’s Sam Lowes will have to start from seventh after crashing at turn 7 with 20 minutes left and missing a big chunk of the session.
Championship leader Johann Zarco will be forced to start from the middle of the third row after he could only manage to set the eighth fastest time on his Ajo Motorsport Kalex, with the Frenchman recorded his worst qualifying performance since Jerez (9th).
Franco Morbidelli (Italtrans Racing Team) and Sandro Cortese (Dynavolt Intact GP) completed the top ten with race winner last time out, Xavier Simeon (Federal Oil Gresini Moto2), down in 16th. Tech 3’s Xavi Vierge on his debut as the permanent replacement for Ricky Cardus will start Sunday’s race from 25th on the grid.
Moto2 Qualifying Results
Kent claims 4th Moto3 pole of the season
Leopard Racing’s runaway Moto3 World Championship leader Danny Kent took his fourth pole position of the 2015 season after recording the fastest-ever lap by a Moto3 bike at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Kent didn’t dominate like he has done at some circuits this year and it was a much more typically competitive Moto3 session as just 0.108s split the front row and less than nine-tenths of a second separated the top 19 riders.
The British rider, like many others, started the session in race trim to work on his setup for Sunday, before switching onto some fresh rubber to set a 1’40.703 with 18 minutes to go. Despite a frantic last few seconds that almost saw Red Bull KTM Ajo’s Miguel Oliveira takeover top spot, Kent held on to take pole position by 0.088s from the Portuguese rider in ideal conditions (44ºC track temperature) at the ‘Brickyard’.
Drive M7 SIC’s Zulfahmi Khairuddin (+0.108s) pulled off the surprise of the day to secure his first ever Moto3 front row start after benefitting from a Niccolo Antonelli tow to finish in third. Kent’s closest championship rival, Enea Bastianini(+0.172s) on the Gresini Racing Team Moto3 Honda, will start from the front of the second row after setting a time good enough for fourth.
Estrella Galicia 0,0’s rookie Fabio Quartararo (+0.359s) and Brad Binder (+0.389s) on the Red Bull KTM Ajo complete the second row with Kent’s teammate Efren Vazquez starting from the head of the third row. Antonelli (Ongetta-Rivacold), Jorge Navarro (Estrella Galicia 0,0) and Jorge Martin (Mapfre Team Mahindra) round out the top ten.
SAXOPRINT RTG’s Scottish rider John McPhee will have to start from back of the sixth row in 18th, while debutant Lorenzo Dalla Porta on the Husqvarna Factory Laglisse bike will line up on the grid in 30th place. Schedl GP Racing’s Phillip Oettl had been seventh fastest overall heading into Qualifying, but a big crash at turn 7 on just his fifth lap ended his participation in the session, and he will start from the back of the grid in 34th.
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