Dani Pedrosa took his first pole position in a year during qualifying for the Grand Prix of Catalunya. Dani Pedrosa took his first pole position in a year during qualifying for the Grand Prix of Catalunya. Photo courtesy motogp.com

Pedrosa puts stop to Marquez perfection

Written by  on Saturday, 14 June 2014 14:35

Saturday afternoon’s Q2 at the MotoGP Gran Premi Monster Energy de Catalunya ended with Dani Pedrosa securing pole position, ahead of Jorge Lorenzo and Marc Marquez on row one for Sunday’s race – with Marquez suffering a late crash in the session.

At his home event Pedrosa took his first pole since the 2013 Catalan Grand Prix with a 1:40.985 lap in the Barcelona-Catalunya heat and in doing so the Repsol Honda rider ended Marquez’ successive pole run.

“I am very happy to have taken pole position today, in front of my family and the home fans,” Pedrosa said. “I am also delighted that, for the first time this year, I felt good on the bike in qualifying. I had a good feeling with the first tire and I could push well with the second one. I had one mistake but I still made a good lap time. Now we focus on tomorrow and doing a good race.

“I'll try and get a good start from pole position tomorrow. I am sure that it will be very hot and we will have to manage the tires well during the race, but we will try to do as well as possible. My arm is feeling much better so I can ride more normally.”

Following his fascinating battle with Marquez at Mugello, Lorenzo qualified in second place and will be looking forward to fighting the Honda riders again at a track where the Mallorcan has a strong record and has won the last two MotoGP™ races.

In a reversal of his usual practice routine Lorenzo was the last to leave the pits for the 15-minute qualifying heat, allowing the MotoGP™ pack to move on before hitting an empty race track. He moved straight into third with his first flying lap, a 1:41.463. He was unable to beat the time on his first tire.

He returned to the track with five minutes remaining, after being dropped to fourth and was able to out in a 1:41.100, good enough for second.

The 2010 and 2012 MotoGP™ World Champion stated, “I made a very good lap, I risked a lot, especially in the braking to make it.  Finally we made a good setting for this track, it’s hard because with the track and temperatures it’s difficult to make the bike stable.

“We hope to remain consistent and strong like in Mugello to fight for the win again. You can feel the heat all around, from the engine to your chest. But it’s not a big drama as I finally feel good physically. Weather is the key for tomorrow, there’s a chance of rain. We hope it’s dry, a sunny race is much more enjoyable and safer.”

Marquez walked away from his first crash of the year after losing the front end at turn 1 towards the end of the session. The young MotoGP™ World Champion therefore starts third on the grid, his first non-pole result since Motegi last year.

The standings leader’s first Q2 flying lap of 1:41.135 immediately put him top. He remained unchallenged until the dying moments of the session when Repsol Honda teammate Pedrosa went ahead.

Marquez again tried the strategy of switching bikes instead of tires, and he returned to his number one bike with several minutes remaining. On his final flying lap Marquez entered turn 1 too quickly and subsequently crashed.

“Today I made the first mistake of the season, so I need to apologize to the team because it was my fault,” Marquez admitted. “The strategy we had set out was coming together perfectly, but when riding with the last tire I braked too late. I knew it was my last attempt, so I tried to go into the corner anyway. That was not the best choice; I should have written off the lap, but these things happen when you are riding at home; you always try to give a little bit extra.

“We’re on the front row and ready for the fight. It’ll be a tough race but we’re ready to challenge Dani and Jorge. We prefer a dry race, for the fans and for us it is much better. But if rain comes we put on the wet tires and we will race. The last wet session we had was Motegi so there are a lot of unknown factors.”

German rider Stefan Bradl (LCR Honda MotoGP), who himself suffered two big crashes at Mugello, qualified fourth after looking sharp in practice earlier in the day.

Valentino Rossi (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) admits qualifying is not currently his strongest point but he equaled his second best Q2 result of 2014 so far in fifth, having qualified 10th last time out in Mugello.

Another home rider, Aleix Espargaro (NGM Forward Racing) was delighted with his qualifying effort as he completed row two, just 0.323s behind Pedrosa.

Row three will feature Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team), Bradley Smith (Monster Yamaha Tech3) and Yonny Hernandez (Energy T.I. Pramac Racing), with Hernandez riding well for ninth.

The fourth row will comprise Pol Espargaro (Monster Yamaha Tech3), Andrea Iannone (Pramac Racing) and Alvaro Bautista (GO&FUN Honda Gresini). Iannone and Bautista made it through from Q1 as spots of rain threatened to disrupt Q2.

The conditions stayed dry but Bautista suffered a big Q2 highside at turn 7 and was stretchered away, though he appeared to be ok.

Moto2 action on Saturday saw Tito Rabat secure pole in the final session of the day, with Mika Kallio and Maverick Viñales set to accompany him at the front of the grid.

Rabat notched up his fifth pole position of 2014 with a 1:46.569 best lap which put him over a half a second clear of his nearest challenger, Marc VDS Racing Team teammate Kallio. Rabat will go in search of a fourth win of the season as he looks to extend his championship lead on Sunday.

For Kallio his quest is to prevent another Rabat win and to reduce the 22-point deficit at the top of the standings, which he will attempt to do from second on the grid. The front row was completed by Moto3™ World Champion Viñales (Paginas Amarillas HP 40), who trailed Rabat by 0.623s.

Sandro Cortese (Dynavolt Intact GP) was one of three crashers in the session - Mattia Pasini (NGM Forward Racing) and Louis Rossi (SAG Team) also had spills without major consequence – though Cortese still qualified in fourth. Cortese’s compatriot Jonas Folger (AGR Team) and Pasini join him on the second row.

Moto3™ QP at the Gran Premi Monster Energy de Catalunya resulted in Alex Marquez taking pole, with Enea Bastianini and Alex Rins joining him on the front row.

Marquez produced a superb 1:50.232 lap to shatter the Barcelona-Catalunya Moto3 pole record and outpace his nearest rival by more than 0.6s.

Bastianini (Junior Team Go&FUN Moto3) will be delighted with his qualifying result, featuring on the front row for the first time, at just his seventh Grand Prix.

Marquez’ Estrella Galicia 0,0 teammate Rins ended up third but had a huge turn 10 highside at the end of the session and suffered a fractured toe on his left foot, with his fitness to be reviewed on Sunday morning.

MotoGP Qualifying Results (courtesy Repsol Honda)

1

Dani Pedrosa

26

ESP

Repsol Honda Team

HONDA

1'40.985

2

Jorge Lorenzo

99

ESP

Yamaha Factory Racing

YAMAHA

1'41.100

3

Marc Marquez

93

ESP

Repsol Honda Team

HONDA

1'41.135

4

Stefan Bradl

6

GER

LCR Honda MotoGP

HONDA

1'41.220

5

Valentino Rossi

46

ITA

Yamaha Factory

YAMAHA

1'41.290

6

Aleix Espargaro

41

ESP

NGM Mobile Forward Racing

YAMAHA

1'41.308

7

Andrea Dovizioso

4

ITA

Ducati Team

DUCATI

1'41.337

8

Bradley Smith

38

GBR

Monster Yamaha Tech 3

YAMAHA

1'41.491

9

Yonny Hernandez

68

COL

Pramac Racing

DUCATI

1'41.671

10

Pol Espargaro

44

ESP

Monster Yamaha Tech 3

YAMAHA

1'41.677

11

Andrea Iannone

29

ITA

Pramac Racing

DUCATI

1'41.751

12

Alvaro Bautista

19

ESP

Go & Fun Honda Gresini

HONDA

1'42.024

13

Cal Crutchlow

35

GBR

Ducati Team

DUCATI

1'42.578

14

Scott Redding

45

GBR

Go & Fun Honda Gresini

HONDA

1'42.730

15

Michele Pirro

51

ITA

Ducati Team

DUCATI

1'42.955

16

Nicky Hayden

69

USA

Drive M7 Aspar

HONDA

1'43.043

17

Colin Edwards

5

USA

NGM Mobile Forward Racing

YAMAHA

1'43.226

18

Karel Abraham

17

CZE

Cardion AB Motoracing

HONDA

1'43.360

19

Broc Parkes

23

AUS

Paul Bird Motorsport

PBM

1'43.530

20

Hiroshi Aoyama

7

JPN

Drive M7 Aspar

HONDA

1'43.564

21

Michael Laverty

70

GBR

Paul Bird Motorsport

ART & PBM

1'43.737

22

Hector Barbera

8

ESP

Avintia Racing MotoGP

FTR-KAWASAKI

1'44.115

23

Mike Di Meglio

63

FRA

Avintia Racing MotoGP

FTR-KAWASAKI

1'45.012

24

Michel Fabrizio

84

ITA

IodaRacing Project

IODA-SUTER

1'46.214

--From motogp.com

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John Hopkins

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