Sensational Q2 performance gives Marquez new Aragon pole record
A new pole position record of 1’47.187 gave Marquez his 11th pole position of 2014 – and his 20th MotoGP pole in total – ahead ouf Sunday’s 800th premier class Grand Prix.
Marquez led the way by a 0.362s margin having broken the pole record earlier in the session, only for Pedrosa to move into provisional pole position with a 1’47.549s, with Marquez responding on his final lap. Marquez was 0.617s quicker than his own pole record from 2013.
The performance also saw Marquez clinch the BMW M Award for Best Qualifier MotoGP 2014. Marquez has 324 points in the BMW M Award standings with four rounds remaining and leads by an unassailable 120 point margin from his Repsol Honda teammate Pedrosa.
The front row was completed by the consistently impressive Andrea Iannone (Pramac Racing) who has a new GP14.2 bike this weekend and qualified just under half a second behind Marquez.
Row two will comprise rookie Pol Espargaro (Monster Yamaha Tech3), Cal Crutchlow (Ducati Team) and Valentino Rossi (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP), the Italian having earlier made it through from Q1.
Jorge Lorenzo (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) qualified at the head of the third row in seventh place, 1.059s behind the rampant Marquez. Stefan Bradl (LCR Honda MotoGP) and crasher Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team) complete the third row.
Aleix Espargaro (NGM Forward Racing) was unhappy at the end of the session as he was held up by another rider and qualified tenth.
Bradley Smith (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) crashed with just three minutes to go, leaving him 11th on the grid and Dovizioso (Ducati Team) also fell minutes later. Despite advancing through Q1 on his new Ducati, Hector Barbera (Avintia Racing) was unable to set a lap time due to front end chatter problems – thus being classified 12th.
Nicky Hayden (Drive M7 Aspar) qualified in 18th place in Q1 as he returns to Grand Prix action this weekend, whilst Karel Abraham (Cardion AB Motoracing) had big crash at the end of Q1 and ended up 17th.
The Moto3™ World Champion Viñales, a rookie in the intermediate class, got his first Moto2 pole with an impressive 1’54.073 lap. The young Spanish talent had also led FP3 earlier in the day and he will go in search of a second victory of 2104 on Sunday.
Behind Viñales the recently improved Zarco (AirAsia Caterham Moto Racing) took second place, with Kallio (Marc VDS Racing Team) in third.
Lining up in fourth place on the grid will be another rookie Franco Morbidelli (Italtrans Racing Team) who qualified 0.11s off pole. World Championship leader Tito Rabat (Marc VDS Racing Team) had provisional pole but crashed on his seventh lap and could not improve after that, ending up fifth on the grid, just ahead of Thomas Luthi (Interwetten Sitag).
Takaaki Nakagami (IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia), Dominique Aegerter (Technomag carXpert) and Sandro Cortese (Dynavolt Intact GP) are set to line up on row three, with Marcel Schrotter (Tech 3) heading the fourth row.
Jordi Torres (Mapfre Aspar Moto2) took an early tumble as he lost the front end of his Suter. Ratthapark Wilairot (Airasia Caterham) also fell but was unhurt and able to rejoin the session.
Moto2 Qualifying Practice Classification
Moto3: Pole grabbed by local rider Rins as good form continues
At his local track the form rider of the class Rins (Estrella Galicia 0,0) secured his fourth pole position of 2014 with a fastest time of 1’58.318 which put him 0.116s ahead of Englishman Kent (Red Bull Husqvarna Ajo).
Guevara (Mapfre Aspar Team Moto3) rounded out the front row 0.152s off Rins’ time, having also set a sensational lap time of 1’57.930 in FP3.
World Championship leader Jack Miller (Red Bull KTM Ajo) should be in the hunt tomorrow from the front of row two, where he is joined by Alex Marquez (Estrella Galicia 0,0) and Enea Bastianini (Junior Team Go&FUN Moto3).
The third row will feature Isaac Viñales (Calvo Team), John McPhee (SaxoPrint-RTG) and Niccolo Antonelli (Junior Team GO&FUN). Efren Vazquez (SaxoPrint-RTG) completed the top ten, whilst engine problems for Niklas Ajo (Avant Tecno Husqvarna Ajo) left him down in 26th.
There was an early crash for Andrea Locatelli (San Carlo Team Italia), which saw the Italian rider spend much of the session in the Medical Centre for a finger injury. Jasper Iwema (CIP) was another faller, losing his fairing. Francesco Bagnaia (SKY Racing Team VR46) also took a heavy fall but walked away unhurt.
Moto3 Qualifying Practice Classification
Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda RC213V) stormed to his 11th pole position of the season at sunny Aragon this afternoon, finally getting the better of a strong challenge from team-mate Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda RC213V).
The Spanish pair will start first and second on the grid for the third time this season.
Reigning World Champion Marquez had ended the first day of practice second fastest behind Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati) and upped his game today as his engineers fine-tuned his RC213V for this challenging and undulating circuit. He topped free practice this morning and claimed pole position with an impressive 0.362 second margin over Pedrosa, the fastest-ever motorcycle lap at Aragon. It was his 20th MotoGP pole from 32 starts in the premier class.
Most riders have commented on the track surface’s relative lack of grip, with tyre performance dropping significantly after several laps. Marquez claims this isn’t a problem for him because he’s happy riding the bike loose. This afternoon he left his best till last, retaking pole from Pedrosa on his final lap, even though his tyres weren’t fully up to temperature for the first part of that lap.
Tomorrow the 21-year-old aims for his 12th win of the year, which would equal the record for the most victories claimed during one season, currently held by Mick Doohan who won a dozen races in 1997 aboard a Repsol Honda NSR500.
Both Marquez and Pedrosa will be going for Repsol Honda’s fourth consecutive victory at Aragon. Last year Marquez won here, in 2012 it was Pedrosa and in 2011 it was Casey Stoner.
After yesterday’s first two practice sessions Pedrosa focused on improving cornering grip and braking which this afternoon allowed him to go fastest for some minutes before Marquez retaliated at the very end of the session. Like everyone else, Pedrosa knows that the run to the first corner here is one of the shortest in MotoGP followed by a very sinuous first section, so a front-row start is more important than ever here.
Stefan Bradl (LCR Honda RC213V) will start the race from the middle of the third row after putting his RC213V between Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha) and Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati) in eighth position. Bradl’s best lap was just 0.68 seconds off the front row and he believes he would’ve been closer to the front if he hadn’t made a couple of minor errors during his best lap.
Hiroshi Aoyama (Drive 7 Aspar Honda RCV1000R) rode an inspired final lap of qualifying lap to put himself 14th on the grid. This was one of his best performances of the season. It puts him just ahead of Alvaro Bautista (Team GO&FUN Honda Gresini RC213V) and half a second in front of the next RCV100R rider Scott Redding (Team GO&FUN Honda Gresini RCV1000R), who struggled with set-up. Neither was Bautista happy, the Spaniard lacking rear grip as at recent races.
Karel Abraham (Cardion AB Motoracing Honda RCV1000R) badly damaged one of his bikes in a crash at the end of qualifying but believes he has the pace to run a good race. He will start from 17th place on the grid.
Nicky Hayden (Drive 7 Aspar Honda RCV1000R) made his comeback following further surgery to a troublesome right wrist injury and was 18th this afternoon. The 2006 MotoGP World Champion had the scaphoid and several other bones removed from the wrist during July and his been recuperating since. The wrist isn’t a major problem but after more than two months off a MotoGP bike, he’s not fully race fit.
Maverick Vinales (Pons HP 40, Kalex) scored his first Moto2 pole position on home tarmac today, bettering Johann Zarco (AirAsia Caterham, Caterham Suter) by a slender 0.051 seconds. Mika Kallio (Marc VDS Racing Team, Kalex) completed the front row, making it just 0.057 seconds separating the fastest three riders. As is usual in the Honda-powered Moto2 series, times were close throughout the 34 starters with the fastest 21 men covered by 1.1 seconds.
Rookie and reigning Moto3 World Champion Vinales, who won his first Moto2 race in April and is expected to graduate to MotoGP next year, expects to have to work very hard tomorrow. It’s not only others on the front row he needs to worry about, the whole of the second row is less than three tenths off pole.
Another young rookie Franco Morbidelli (Italtrans Racing Team, Kalex) achieved his best qualifying position with fourth on the grid, just ahead of World Championship leader Tito Rabat (Marc VDS Racing Team, Kalex) who has won the last three races. Sixth fastest was Thomas Luthi (Interwetten Paddock, Suter).
Takaaki Nakagami (Idemitsu Honda Team Asia, Kalex) heads the third row in front of Dominique Aegerter (Technomag carXpert, Suter) and Sandro Cortese (Dynavolt Intact GP, Kalex).
Alex Rins (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Honda NSF250RW) scored his second Moto3 pole in three races with a brilliant ride in a thrilling qualifying session. The Spaniard took over from title-rival Jack Miller (KTM) with 15 minutes to go, after his mechanics had fixed an issue with his clutch. He ended the session 0.116 seconds ahead of Danny Kent (Husqvarna). Tomorrow Rins aims for a hat-trick of wins to further reduce the gap between him and Miller.
Rins’ team-mate and fellow world-title hopeful Alex Marquez (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Honda NSF250RW) will start tomorrow’s race from the middle of the second row of the grid after qualifying fifth quickest, less than a tenth of a second outside the front row.
John McPhee (SaxoPrint-RTG Honda NSF250RW) was eighth quickest, two places ahead of team-mate Efren Vazquez (SaxoPrint-RTG Honda NSF250RW).
Honda riders have won the last four Moto3 races, with Vazquez triumphing at Indianapolis, Alexis Masbou (Ongetta-Rivacold Honda NSF250RW) taking the win at Brno and Rins winning at Silverstone and Misano. Masbou was 16th today.
Tomorrow’s Aragon GP is the 14th of 18 races. The next three rounds take place in Japan, Australia and Malaysia, then the MotoGP circus returns to Spain for the season finale at Valencia on 9th November.
Marc Marquez, Repsol Honda: pole position, 1m 47.187s – “Qualifying went very well, continuing the form that we have had so far this weekend! We have focused a lot of our work on our race pace, looking less at setting a one-off lap time and more at finding a strong pace. Things are looking good for the race, although Dani also has a very good pace, so we’ll have to see tomorrow!”
Dani Pedrosa, Repsol Honda: 2nd, 1m 47.549s – “Today we had a good qualifying session. In other races we have had difficulties because we haven’t started from the front, but today we managed to set a good lap. I think that the practice sessions also went well for us, and tomorrow in the race we will be as competitive as possible. Marc is setting some very good times, so we will try to fight for the win against him! It will be important to get a good start, although the race is long and the pace will play a big part, so we will have to keep our concentration on every corner.”
Stefan Bradl, LCR Honda MotoGP: 8th, 1m 48.368s – “First of all we improved a lot our bike compared to yesterday. We made a big step in handling and the general setting so this is the good point for this morning FP3 and this afternoon FP4. We have shown a constant and good pace so I am looking forward to the race because we found a good solution for tomorrow. Unfortunately in Q2 I made few mistakes and could not set a perfect flying lap. Our potential is higher but we missed a few tenths to qualify in the second row due to my errors. Anyway eighth fastest is not a drama because we still have a good pace to catch the guys in front and I am sure we can take several positions in the race.”
Hiroshi Aoyama, Drive 7 Aspar Honda: 14th, 1m 49.209s – “In the Q1 session we did a great job, thanks to which we could get our fastest time of the weekend and nearly qualify for Q2. But the Ducati riders improved greatly in the last sector and we just missed out. Nevertheless we are happy because we have made much progress since yesterday. Now the configuration of the bike helps me ride more comfortably, so I hope we can keep this feeling for tomorrow. Overall we all pretty set to race, only tyre choice leaves some doubt. The positive thing is that we could race with either of the two compounds we have in mind, so we will wait until tomorrow to make a decision.”
Alvaro Bautista, Team GO&FUN Honda Gresini: 15th, 1m 49.274s – “I miss rear grip, like the other races, and even with a new tyre I cannot use all the potential of the bike, therefore I’m struggling a lot. I could not enter Q2 today, so tomorrow I will start from the back of the grid, but apart from that it’s frustrating riding in this condition because it’s like taking risks everywhere, just to go one second slower compared to our rivals. This is not a good feeling, for sure! Tomorrow anyway I will give my best, trying to take my rhythm and finish the race: it’s all I can do, because at the moment, with this feeling, it’s impossible to go fast.”
Scott Redding, Team GO&FUN Honda Gresini: 16th, 1m 49.703s – “It was a difficult day: the set-up solution we tried during FP4 to try and make the bike better for me was not really good, so we went back to the old setting for qualifying. We still need to work tomorrow because the situation hasn’t improved compared to yesterday. It’s going to be a long race and even though it will be difficult, we will give our best to try to be top Honda production racer.”
Karel Abraham, Cardion AB Motoracing: 17th, 1m 49.790s – “I’m quite disappointed, especially after the job we did in the morning. In fact I made a better lap time in free practice than in qualifying. I got into a group of riders at the beginning of Q1 and couldn’t ride as I wanted. The bad luck came at the end of the session. I was trying to stay close to Valentino, but I lost the front in Turn Three. I’m okay, but the bike stayed rolling straight and hit the wall in 180 km/h, so it’s really heavy damaged. We don’t know the reason of the crash yet, because we can’t download the data yet. However, I’m far from giving up this weekend. We have made very good job in free practice and we can do it also in the race.”
Nicky Hayden, Drive 7 Aspar Honda: 18th, 1m 49.835s – “In the third practice session I didn’t have a good feeling and we lost a lot of time riding with used tires. We did make a couple of very productive steps, in qualifying I couldn’t go as fast as I wanted. I do not know why but the bike was sliding more than in the earlier sessions and the feeling changed. Now we will look at the data to understand the cause, because we lost a lot of time in two specific corners, due to the bike sliding a lot. We knew this wouldn’t be an easy weekend, but we’re still working hard and that’s what really matters. Tomorrow we will continue trying to evolve and have a good race.”
Movistar Yamaha MotoGP riders Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo faced a second day of challenging riding today in qualifying for tomorrow’s Gran Premio Movistar de Aragón, taking sixth and seventh respectively on the grid.
Having fought hard yesterday and today to find a good pace, Rossi found himself this afternoon having to compete in the first qualifying session. A slow start on a soft front and hard rear tyre initially put the nine-time world champion into seventh position on his first hot lap. A slow lap followed in the hunt for clear track and then he put the pressure on, shooting to the top of the time sheet with a 1’49.172 second lap. A quick stop followed for the softer rear tyre option then he was back out with just over three minutes remaining and made a big jump, securing top and a place in qualifying two with a 1’48.692.
With just a few minutes rest it was go time again as the second qualifying heat got underway. His first flying lap was a 1’48.614, improving on his time from the first session. The Doctor was unable to beat that until after a tyre change for a second medium rear: he was back in the last minutes and scored an impressive 1’48.226 to knock his teammate out of provisional fourth place. A flurry of hot laps by rivals in the last seconds then dropped him two places to sixth on the grid where he will start tomorrow’s race.
Determined to make the best of a tough weekend, Lorenzo was straight out of the box as qualifying two began, attacking the circuit at full speed. His first flying lap was a 1’48.332, the first recorded lap of the session until his rivals completed their first, dropping him to third provisionally. His second effort was unable to better the time, taking a 1’48.604 to hold his third position. With just over seven minutes remaining he returned for fresh tyres before re-joining the track for a final push. The local hero put the hammer down and delivered a 1’48.246 to take provisional second on the grid until the final attack of the other front runners dropped him first to fourth, then three further places to seventh on the grid at the final flag.
Valentino Rossi – 6th / 1’48.226 / 8 laps – “A difficult practice yesterday and also today as we are suffering from a lack of grip. It’s difficult to ride the bike at the limit as after some laps it starts to slide a lot. We worked very hard with the team to try and improve some different settings. It looks like this afternoon we found some things so I will start from the second row, which is not so bad, it’s quite good. Now we have to try to find some small improvement for the warm up and for the race so we can try to do the maximum tomorrow afternoon. The big question mark is the front tyre, we can use medium or hard. They are very similar so we have to see what the track temperature will be.”
Jorge Lorenzo – 7th / 1’48.246 / 8 laps – “It’s unbelievable how in just two weeks everything can change just for the track. It’s true that this year we have even more difficulties to be competitive here. I’m very disappointed because today we got two wrong tyres for the rear. They were not good. One was defective in the morning and the second tyre in qualifying was also not good. I expected to improve four or five tenths but I couldn’t, improving by just one tenth. When you have more difficulties sometimes you get even more problems as happened today. I think our pace is not that bad compared to our grid position so if we can make a good start and be patient we can fight. The first two corners will be difficult, then little by little we can make some positions and fight for the podium.”
Massimo Meregalli – Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Team Director – “Following a tough day of practice yesterday we worked hard last night to find solutions for the challenges facing us on this circuit. We’ve tried several different options and although we are closer than yesterday we are still looking for the key to make that significant step forward. Both Jorge and Vale have as usual given 100% to qualify in the best position possible. Unfortunately Jorge’s second qualifying tyre didn’t work as it should which left us unable to capitalise on his full potential. For sure we will continue to work this evening to find something we can offer them for warm up tomorrow morning so we will see. It will be a long race tomorrow and both are real fighters. We are also expecting possible rain tomorrow which will change everything for everyone.”
High flying Espargaro snatches 4th in Aragon Qualifying
Monster Yamaha Tech3 rider Pol Espargaro produced a fantastic qualifying performance to seal 4th place on the grid for tomorrow’s round 14 at Aragon. The young Spaniard started the day brilliantly by finishing FP3 in 3rd position with a best lap of 1’48.377 which was only a quarter of a second from the leading rider. Espargaro then claimed 7th during the FP4 session after undertaking some final adjustments to his Yamaha YZR-M1 under the bright Spanish sun to prepare for Sunday’s race. The reigning Moto2 world champion’s hot form continued as the fifteen minute shootout commenced and ended superbly as he blasted over the finish line with a strong result of 1’47.865 which will see him begin the 23 lap race at the head of the second row. The 23 year old rookie’s efforts today give him the perfect platform to fight for the title of the leading satellite bike at the 5078 meter circuit tomorrow in front of his home crowd.
On the other side of the Monster Yamaha Tech3 garage, Bradley Smith will start from the fourth row in 11th after unfortunately falling whilst campaigning for a strong qualifying position. The British rider began his day well by setting the 6th quickest time in FP3 with a 1’48.615 which was less than three tenths from his team mate in 3rd and already 0.239 faster than his qualifying time from last year. This convincing performance enabled him to pass straight into Q2 and highlighted his rate of improvement plus his ambition for the qualifying. As the session began, the British star ran his first few laps to gather momentum, before pitting and changing to the second tyre. However, whilst beginning his charge Smith lucklessly fell, yet his earlier lap of 1’48.810 confirmed 11th. However, he remains fully determined for the race where he intends to undertake a flying start and score a positive result at the MotorLand Aragon circuit aboard the Yamaha YZR-M1.
Pol Espargaro – 4th / 1’47.865 / 8 Laps – “From the very first practice this weekend I had a good feeling on the bike and to score a 4th position in qualifying is definitely something we have to be happy about. I didn’t make things easy for myself as I was very nervous during my first run, probably because I knew that I should have been faster than some of the other riders, so I pushed too much and didn’t feel too comfortable with the rear tyre. During the pit stop we made a small modification and I calmed myself down, so when I found myself behind Pedrosa on the out lap I was sure we could do a good job. To start on second row is really positive but we still need to continue working as the conditions tomorrow will change a lot. For sure the temperature and grip level will be different so we have to be prepared to fight with the factory bikes. In any case I will give it my all to please the crowd here in Spain.”
Bradley Smith – 11th / 1’48.810 / 5 Laps – “After a truly positive and productive day it is of course disappointing to finish the qualifying in this manner. At the end of my out lap in preparation for my second run, I was looking for someone to follow like Valentino, Pol and Bradl who were all behind me and I thought getting a tow would have helped me to squeeze an extra tenth or so. Unluckily I did not consider that there were a lot of right handed corners at that point of the circuit and after changing to a left corner, the tyre was slightly cold and I had a big highside. However the day was still positive regardless of the end result as we worked on the setting and electronics in order to preserve the tyre as tomorrow it will be a tricky race and tyre life seems to be the main issue here. It’s a disadvantage to start that far back but I believe in terms of the lap times, it will be close and there’s a long way to the finish flag. I know how vital a good start is, especially with the short run to the first corner and even though I will have to pick my way through the field, I am still confident for the fight.”
Espargaro first open at Aragon
The NGM Forward Racing Team and Aleix Espargaro confirmed today their competitiveness bringing the Forward Yamaha once again on top of the Open category. The Spaniard did a great job to improve the set up of his machine with race tyres and is quiet confident with his pace. Despite he couldn’t use all the potential out of the soft tyre due to some traffic on track during his fast lap, Aleix set a lap time of 1’48.586 and tomorrow he will take the start of the Aragon GP from the first spot of the 4th row (10th).
Alex De Angelis’ qualifying session was partly compromised by two crashes, fortunately without consequences during the FP4. With a lap time of 1’50.263, De Angelis finished in 19th position and tomorrow he will give the maximum to get the best possible result, managing the race and also the pain, as he is not completely recovered from the scaphoid fracture.
Aleix Espargaró – 10th / 1’48.568 / 7 Laps – “I like this track a lot and I expected to be more in front here. It’s a pity that we couldn’t use all the potential of the soft tyre as my fast lap was spoiled by Hector Barbera, who was in front of me. He entered the pit lane without signalling it and I almost crashed. Anyway, I’m confident with my pace as we made a step forward in terms of set up with the race tyres. Considered that I’m starting from the 4th row, the race will be more complicated and it will be crucial to make a good start and recover some positions from the first laps”.
Alex De Angelis – 19th / 1’50.263 / 7 Laps – “This morning I crashed twice and I lost a bit of confidence and this affected also the qualifying session. Moreover I was slowed down by Di Meglio during my fast lap. Anyway, I have the pace to fight with the other open bikes and this is my target. Regarding the pain, today I could manage it, but I didn’t do too many laps in a row. The race will be long (23 laps) so I hope to be able to manage it in the best possible way”.
Cal Crutchlow finally managed to put in a good qualifying run as he powered to a row 2 grid position for the GP of Aragón, which will take place tomorrow at the MotorLand circuit near Alcañiz.
After finishing both of today’s free practice sessions in ninth place, the British rider was able to advance directly into Q2, and on his second run he set a time of 1’47.897 to earn him fifth place and row 2 on the grid.
There was some disappointment however for Andrea Dovizioso, who had ended the final free practice session in second place behind Marquez and who had been expecting to run well in qualifying.
The Italian was quickest at the first split on his fast lap, but then crashed out a few corners later and had to settle for ninth, with a time of 1’48.542 that he set on his first run. Dovizioso will start tomorrow’s race from row 3.
Also worthy of mention is the excellent qualifying run by Andrea Iannone on the Pramac Racing Team’s GP14.2 machine. The young Italian, who will be team-mate to Dovizioso in the Ducati Team next year, set third-quickest time in 1’47.685 and will start from the front row.
Cal Crutchlow (Ducati Team #35) – 5th (1’47.897) – “Obviously I’m more pleased with today’s result than over the other weekends. We managed to qualify on the second row, which is the best result since Assen for me. Hopefully we can get away with the other guys tomorrow and have a better race. I think we deserve it, because it was a fantastic job by the team today in the qualifying session for me to be so fast, but we still have to work a lot on the race pace and the set-up. It’s going to be a tough race tomorrow, because the tyres drop a lot, but I’ll try my best to get a strong top 10 finish.”
Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team #04) – 9th (1’48.542) – “It was a real pity, because in FP4 we had good pace, and I think I can say now that we are a lot closer to the top guys also for race pace. I was sure I could do a good qualifying session but I lost the front at turn 8 in a rather strange crash. I don’t think I did anything wrong: it was my mistake but I don’t think I exaggerated that much, maybe we’re a bit too close to the limit at the front. We’ve got to work to improve this tomorrow because otherwise in the race I won’t be able to push that hard. Today however we did a good job and we’ve got good race pace.”
Bridgestone Report Bridgestone slick compounds available: Front: Soft, Medium & Hard. Rear: Soft, Medium & Hard (Asymmetric)
Bridgestone wet tyre compounds available: Soft (Main) & Hard (Alternative)
Weather: FP3 – Dry. Ambient 15-17°C; Track 18-22°C (Bridgestone measurement)
FP4/QP – Dry. Ambient 22-23°C; Track 36-38°C (Bridgestone measurement)
Marc Marquez smashed the MotorLand Aragon Circuit Best Lap record by over half a second for his eleventh pole position of 2014, and helped to secure a Repsol Honda lockout of the front two grid slots at the Aragon Grand Prix.
Marquez set an extraordinary lap time of 1’47.187 on his final run in Qualifying Practice 2 to claim pole position ahead of teammate Dani Pedrosa, whose best time of 1’47.549 was 0.362 seconds adrift of the 2014 World Champion. Pramac Racing’s Andrea Iannone fully exploited the extra grip on offer from the soft compound rear slick to set the third-quickest qualifying lap time of 1’47.685 and claimed the final front row position for tomorrow’s race.
It was another cool morning at Aragon, yet prolonged sunny weather helped raise track temperatures to a peak of 38°C during QP2; the same peak figure as yesterday. In a similar situation to yesterday, all three asymmetric rear slick options; the soft, medium and hard compounds were evaluated today. The hard compound rear slick was preferred by most of the Factory Honda riders; the medium rear was the tyre of choice for the Ducati and Yamaha riders, while the soft rear was best suited to the majority of Open-class entrants. For the front tyre, both the soft and medium compound slicks showed good potential during race simulations and qualifying, with the hard compound front slick remaining unused thus far this weekend. At this stage, race tyre choice is still open as the teams and riders will wait to see what the weather brings tomorrow, with cooler temperatures and even rain a possibility.
Sunday’s morning Warm Up session is scheduled for 0940 local time tomorrow morning (GMT +2), giving the riders one last chance to decide on their race tyre combination ahead of the twenty-three lap Aragon Grand Prix at 1400.
Shinji Aoki – Manager, Bridgestone Motorcycle Tyre Development Department – “Today’s weather conditions were almost a carbon copy of yesterday, so the riders were able to continue evaluating different slick tyre combinations and define their preferred race tyre combination. All three rear slick options we have at Aragon are likely to be utilised tomorrow. The Factory Honda’s are working well with the hard compound rear slick, Ducati and Yamaha prefer the medium compound rear, while some of the Open-class riders look set to use the soft compound rear slick tomorrow. For the front tyre, only the soft and medium front slicks will be used for the race. This year’s Aragon tyre allocation is working extremely well as the balance between warm-up performance, grip and durability is allowing the riders to reach the limits of their bike securely, with the end result being that the top three riders today set qualifying times quicker than the old outright lap record.”
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