Movistar Yamahas split by Lorenzo at MotorLand after the reigning Champion slides out of contention for pole
Maverick Viñales (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) has taken pole position for the Gran Premio Movistar de Aragon, exactly a tenth of a second ahead of Jorge Lorenzo (Ducati Team) at the front as compatriot and key title rival Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) tumbled out of contention.
Maverick Vinales – P1
“The conditions were a little bit more difficult compared to this morning, to make a good lap, but anyway the team did a great job so I‘m really happy. Every time we‘re doing better qualifications and we‘re more consistent on the bike. I hope we can keep these good feelings, especially before the race tomorrow. We have been improving a lot since the Misano test. The dry bike has good potential and rides well all the time, but we have to improve in the rain, so we‘re keeping that in mind, in order to be consistent. Honestly, it‘s incredible what Valentino did today, I have no words. He always delivers great results and it‘s positive that Valentino is also fast, because we can see things on the bike and compare the data for tomorrow.”
Jorge Lorenzo – P2
“Today we did a really good job and I’m pleased with my progress from this morning until this afternoon. I had some great sensations both in FP4 and in qualifying and it was quite a surprise to be on the front row if you look at my times this morning. This time it was useful to take part in Q1 because I was able to do a lot more laps with the soft tyres and prepare better for Q2. I think I have a good pace, but it will be very important to choose the rear tyre and manage it well during the race. In any case I’m ready to do a good race tomorrow.”
There was more headline news as Valentino Rossi (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) added another chapter to his incredible comeback, qualifying on the front row in third after missing only one event following his leg injury.
Valentino Rossi – P3
“I think we did a great job after sustaining the injury. I have to thank all the people that helped me, starting with the doctor that did the surgery. After that I worked very hard every day with my trainer and the leg is becoming better every day. Sincerely, on the bike I feel some pain, but I can ride quite comfortably, so I‘m very happy. It‘s very important to start from the front row and now we have to understand the pace and also if I‘m able to push until the end, but anyway I‘m happy.”
Massimo Meregalli – Yamaha Team Director
“After a difficult first day, today‘s results are superb for the entire team. The crew worked really hard, as we had little time to prepare ourselves for a dry Q2 session, and they got the job done. Maverick knew he had the pace and speed with his bike and his 1‘47.635s pole position lap shows just how comfortable he is. He knew exactly what he had to do and delivered, securing his second pole in a row. The whole team also applauds Valentino for his incredible performance. We know from experience that he can make the impossible possible, and he proved it again today. Not only did he advance straight to Q2, while still recovering, but he also secured a brilliant third place after briefly holding the P1 spot. All-in-all it‘s been a very rewarding day for the team. We hope to keep this momentum going for tomorrow in the warm up as we prepare for the race. We still have some information missing, mainly on the tyre specification and durability. The warm up will be fundamental to get a better understanding before we make decisions for the race.”
Under blue and sunny skies at the stunning MotorLand Aragon, FP3 had seen a shootout for Q2 entry that lit up the timesheets, and Jorge Lorenzo was the high profile name left to head through Q1. But the five-time World Champion easily moved through, subsequently qualifying on the front row.
Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda) was the man to lose out late on as he was pushed down to fourth, but the two-time GP winner remains top Independent Team rider.
Cal Crutchlow – P4
“Of course, I would have preferred the front row but I was just not close enough and tried my absolute best as always. I took advantage of Marc being in front of me, but then he crashed. I’d wanted to get a slipstream off him on the back straight, and it was the only reason I followed him because I knew it would give me one and a half tenths in a straight line. Then he crashed before the back straight, so it’s his fault I didn’t take the pole position! Seriously though, I am happy. We did a good job but we also have to give credit to the riders on the front row. Tomorrow we look forward to a good race and what will be a great battle – I think there will be six or seven riders able to be competitive at the front, and I’m not sure if Andrea Dovizioso will be one of them. We have to take advantage of this as much as possible. Let’s see, anything can happen tomorrow. I think it’s possible to be in the top five and aim for the podium. We have to get away with the front guys, and then see what happens.”
Reigning Champion Marc Marquez, despite his crash will start in the middle of the second row, which is completed by teammate Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda Team).
“Today wasn’t easy because with conditions completely different from yesterday, we started from zero and maybe we didn’t immediately find the best direction with the setup of the bike. I was fast in FP3 but actually I wasn’t feeling perfectly comfortable. We made some changes for FP4 and I finally felt good on my last run with used tyres. That’s positive and we’ll keep working in that direction in the warm-up to further improve the setup. In qualifying I probably pushed a bit too much, went wide, and crashed. So, second row is not the best, but our speed is there and I’m happy with that. We need to analyse everything and make a good tyre choice, which will be challenging as we don’t have much data, but anyway, I think we have the pace to fight for the podium.”
Dani Pedrosa – P6
“Today we tried to do the best work possible for the dry conditions, working as much as we could on our bike’s setup and on tyres. We didn’t have much time to try everything we wanted, so we made the choices we think will work better for the race. I was able to lap fast in FP3 and FP4, while in qualifying unfortunately I wasn’t able to do two very good laps. Anyway, we have to look to tomorrow now, to finalize the setup in the warm-up, and to correctly choose the tyres. Marc and Maverick look very strong, so we must keep focused and try to make no mistakes.”
Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team) had a solid session to take seventh and will be looking to move forward and track Championship rival Marquez, with Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini) impressing in P8 at the venue where he took his first premier class podium.
Andrea Dovizioso – P7
“Unfortunately, because of the conditions we found yesterday, today we didn’t have much time to work on the bike and try the various types of tyres available. Before qualifying I didn’t have a great feeling, but I managed anyway to set a good time and we are all pretty close together. Even though I’m starting a bit behind in seventh place, I think I have a good chance for the race and tomorrow it will be the choice of rear tyre that will make all the difference. For us all three options are interesting and we haven’t decided which one to choose yet so this evening me and my team will have to study the data well.”
Alvaro Bautista (Pull&Bear Aspar Team) lines up ninth despite a crash, with Andrea Iannone (Team Suzuki Ecstar) taking P10.
Johann Zarco (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) was eleventh quickest after moving through Q1, with Mika Kallio (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) lining up in P12 as he wildcards and impresses once again.
Johann Zarco – P11
“I gave everything that I could which was a 1’48.3 lap time in Q1 and I wasn’t able to improve on it in Qualifying 2. It’s difficult when you do your best and end up in 11th but I am still optimistic for the race. After the crash this morning, my confidence was not at its highest. Yet, in FP4 I felt much better because we changed the bike and my feeling really improved. We did a solid job to get through to Q2 but I think we reached our limit in the first qualifying shootout. This is because you need to do a good lap time with the extra grip on the new tyre and we couldn’t use it well enough which is why it was complicated. However, from what we know already, it looks like I have fewer issues on used tyres compared to the other riders and in this case, the gap is lower. This is important for tomorrow, but after the trouble that we had in FP3, it’s good to start from 11th and I will keep this positive thought in my mind.”
Mika Kallio – P12
“Definitely a positive day, yes! If we look back on how the day went we can be really satisfied as now I have a feeling on the bike that was missing before. KTM have now done a really good improvement coupled with the new parts they’ve brought to this race it helps me to be quicker and closer to the limits. OK, slightly too much to the limit at the end, but that was my mistake and we don’t need to think about that too much as now I know what the limit is on the last corner! I think in the race tomorrow we have some good chance to at least to be similar to where we were in Austria (10th) but if you look where we were this morning (5th) then anything can happen during the race so I need a good start and give full throttle to see the flag as soon as possible.”
Jack Miller (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) missed out on Q2 by only thousandths and starts P13, with Pol Espargaro (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) and Karel Abraham (Pull&Bear Aspar Team) locking out the fastest fifteen for the grid.
The 23-lap race at the 5.078m Motorland Circuit will be a career milestone for 22-year-old Miller who will be making his 100th Grand Prix start. Miller made a thrilling bid for a place in Q2 with an on-the-limit performance that left him just 0.009s short of progressing through to the second qualifying session.
Jack Miller – P13
“I did all my fast laps riding alone so I’m confident I have a good pace for the race although it’s pity to miss Q2 by such a tiny margin, just nine thousandths of a second. I had a small crash in FP3 and that changed our game plan a little, which hurt our chances of progressing to Q2. But overall today has been a really solid day and we have a good platform for a strong race, I have a good feeling here.”
Ramon Aurin – Jack Miller Chief Engineer
“Today was a busy day trying to make up time to find a race set-up in the sunny conditions after the rain on Friday which meant the grip levels were down when we started FP3 this morning. This adds to the pressure of qualifying and being ready to do a fast lap and getting the tyres to their optimum temperature and then use then to the maximum. Jack has a strong race pace but the big question will be tomorrow, with the prediction of warmer conditions and higher grip levels, so we will use the warm-up session to assess the suitability of both the medium and hard rear tyre for the race.”
It’s time to race at 2200 Sunday night, with equal points at the top between Marquez and Dovizioso – both of whom start off the front row – Rossi fighting through the pain barrier, and Viñales ready to strike from pole.
MotoGP 2017 – Round 14 – Aragon – Qualifying Results
ROSSI Valentino 46 ITA Movistar Yamaha MotoGP 1’47.815
CRUTCHLOW Cal 35 GBR LCR Honda 1’47.830
MARQUEZ Alex 12 SPA Repsol Honda Team 1’47.963
PEDROSA Dani 26 SPA Repsol Honda Team 1’48.107
DOVIZIOSO Andrea 4 ITA Ducati Team 1’48.137
ESPARGARO Aleix 41 SPA Aprilia Racing Team Gresini 1’48.159
BAUTISTA Alvaro 19 SPA Pull&Bear Aspar Team 1’48.187
IANNONE Andrea 29 ITA Team Suzuki Ecstar 1’48.289
ZARCO Johann 5 FRA Monster Yamaha Tech 3 1’48.402
KALLIO Mika 36 FIN Red Bull KTM Factory Racing 1’48.471
MILLER Jack 43 AUS Team EG 0,0 Marc VDS 1’48.307 Q1
ESPARGARO Pol 44 SPA Red Bull KTM Factory Racing 1’48.387 Q1
ABRAHAM Karel 17 CZE Pull&Bear Aspar Team 1’48.467 Q1
PETRUCCI Danilo 9 ITA Octo Pramac Racing 1’48.908 Q1
BAZ Loris 76 FRA Reale Avintia Racing 1’48.911 Q1
FOLGER Jonas 94 GER Monster Yamaha Tech 3 1’49.034 Q1
BARBERA Hector 8 SPA Reale Avintia Racing 1’49.052 Q1
RINS Alex 42 SPA Team Suzuki Ecstar 1’49.233 Q1
RABAT Tito 53 SPA Team EG 0,0 Marc VDS 1’49.258 Q1
REDDING Scott 45 GBR Octo Pramac Racing 1’49.288 Q1
SMITH Bradley 38 GBR Red Bull KTM Factory Racing 1’49.578 Q1
LOWES Sam 22 GBR Aprilia Racing Team Gresini 1’50.769 Q1
Moto2 – Miguel Oliveira secures the second pole of the year for KTM – despite some late doubts
Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM Ajo) took his second pole of the year at Aragon, just pushing Matta Pasini (Italtrans Racing Team) off the top spot despite a late cliffhanger as the Portuguese rider’s lap was cancelled and then subsequently re-instated.
“The truth is that we couldn’t ask for more. This pole position will be very important for the start of tomorrow’s race. We’re confident because we have a very good pace, although other riders do as well. I think there could be a group at the front, so we will have to be prepared to fight – especially when the tyres begin to drop off. It will be interesting to see who is strong then. After getting pole, seeing there had been a penalty and then having it given back, we could say that I already did my warmup for tomorrow walking up and down pitlane! Even if I hadn’t been given it in the end, I would still have been happy with my pace.”
That leaves Pasini second but once again showing incredible pace to take the front row, with last year’s podium finisher Alex Marquez (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) completing it in P3 as he comes back from injury after missing Misano.
Franco Morbidelli (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) came across the line in P4 to lead the second row, ahead of a fifth place for veteran Italian Simone Corsi (Speed Up Racing) and sixth for the winner in the Moto3™ class at last year’s Aragon GP – Jorge Navarro (Federal Oil Gresini Moto2) – who was the top rookie.
Championship challenger Tom Lüthi (CarXpert Interwetten) heads the third row after topping Friday’s wet FP1, now only nine points down on Championship leader Morbidelli and looking to move forward off the line. He lines up just ahead of the Dynavolt Intact GP team, as Marcel Schrötter and Sandro Cortese start from eighth and ninth on the grid respectively – Schrötter as he comes back from injury and Cortese after great pace all weekend.
Idemitsu Honda Team Asia rider Takaaki Nakagami is another who will be looking for a good launch as he took tenth, edging out San Marino GP winner Dominic Aegerter (Kiefer Racing). A late fall at turn 14 for Francesco Bagnaia (SKY Racing Team VR46) saw the Italian miss a chance to improve his laptime, the the rookie nevertheless took P12.
Luca Marini (Forward Racing Team) qualified in P13, with rookie Fabio Quartararo (Pons HP 40) making a lunge during the final minutes and taking P14, just in front of RW Racing GP’s Axel Pons as the Spaniard rounds out the first fifteen.
Moto2 class rookie Remy Gardner will commence his quest to clinch a strong point scoring result at the Aragon Grand Prix from 17th on the grid. The young Australian fought throughout the 45-minute shootout under the scorching Spanish sun and eventually finished 0.992 from the pole position time.
Remy Gardner – P17
“Overall, the result is not bad and I think we can have a decent day tomorrow. On my first run, I couldn’t get a clear lap and then the rear tyre started to drop quite quickly. After that, I got caught up in traffic, which prevented me from producing a good time. I then went back out with a new 4 tyre, but the grip was better on the 3, so I knew that I could go quicker. We swapped the tyres back to the 3 and I rode one solid lap, but then I got stuck with some other riders who were just playing silly games. So I decided to get my head down as well as ride on my own and I produced a half decent time. I’m still a bit frustrated with the setting, but we are getting there and we have definitely made steps forward from yesterday, which is positive. I am already close to the top fifteen in qualifying and so I’ll just have to give it my all tomorrow.”
Moto3 – Pole number seven for Jorge Martin before a crash
Jorge Martin (Del Conca Gresini Moto3) kept up his stunning pace from Saturday morning in qualifying, searing around MotorLand Aragon for a 1:58.067 to take pole by over three tenths – before then crashing out when another two tenths up on his final run; rider ok. Enea Bastianini (Estrella Galicia 0,0) – the pole position record holder – lines up in P2, with teammate Aron Canet completing the front row despite a highside in FP3.
Jorge Martin – P1
“Obviously, I’m happy with the pole position but with mixed feelings, because I went out on track to beat the circuit record and I wasn’t able to do so due to a crash. The important thing, however, is that I didn’t get injured: I was fast, maybe a bit too fast so I lost control of my motorcycle. I’m confident for tomorrow because our pace is great even with used tyres, so fingers crossed!”
After Martin’s crash, there was another incident that affected many after a highside for Adam Norrodin (SIC Racing Team) set off a domino effect throughout a train of riders, including Joan Mir (Leopard Racing). Andrea Migno (Sky Racing Team VR46) was the first to take avoiding action, with Juanfran Guevara (RBA BOE Racing), Fabio Di Giannantonio (Del Conca Gresini Moto3) and the Championship leader all caught up in the incident.
Nicolo Bulega (Sky Racing Team VR46) took fourth, just ahead of wildcard and current FIM CEV Repsol Moto3 Junior World Championship leader Dennis Foggia (Sky Junior Team VR46 Riders Academy). Points leader Mir was sixth fastest, caught out by the late drama, with John McPhee (British Talent Team) having a solid session in seventh.
Philipp Oettl (Südmetall Schedl GP Racing) was eighth quickest and bounced back in style from an FP3 crash, with Tatsuki Suzuki (SIC58 Squadra Corse) and Marcos Ramirez (Platinum Bay Real Estate) completing the top ten.
Romano Fenati (Marinelli Rivacold Snipers) was eleventh, ahead of Gabriel Rodrigo (RBA BOE Racing Team), late crasher Adam Norrodin and passenger in the incident Fabio Di Giannantonio. Jules Danilo (Marinelli Rivacold Snipers) locked out the fastest fifteen.
Pending review by Race Direction, some grid positions may be liable to change.
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