News 31 May 2015

Iannone delights Italian fans with Mugello pole position

World champion Marquez provides the drama on qualifying day.

Source: MotoGP.

Source: MotoGP.

Andrea Iannone claimed Ducati’s first pole at Mugello since 2007, while Marc Marquez experienced his worst-ever MotoGP qualifying.

It was a day of contrasts at the Gran Premio D’Italia as Ducati Team’s Iannone sent the Italian fans at the Autodromo del Mugello into rapture as he claimed his first career MotoGP pole position in near perfect conditions, setting the fastest ever top speed recorded by a MotoGP bike in the process at 350.8km/h.

Iannone, riding with a fractured humerus sustained during a testing crash at the Tuscany Circuit, took advantage of the softer option tyre available to Ducati to set a 1m46.489s, which was almost seven-tenths quicker than Dani Pedrosa’s pole record from 2013.

Countering that was the dramatic action involving the reigning MotoGP World Champion Marc Marquez, as he failed to make it through to Q2 for the first time in his career and will start Sunday’s race from the head of the fifth row in 13th.

Marquez struggled throughout the day, getting caught out in FP3 and finishing down in 11th on the combined timesheets. It was only the second time the Spaniard has failed to automatically qualify for Q2, the first being at Mugello in 2013.

A crash in FP4 only compounded matters and as Marquez attempted to make it through from Q1 he set a time good enough for second on the timesheets with two minutes to go in the session.

Thinking that the job was complete, it was then that disaster struck for him and his team. Yonny Hernandez on the Octo Pramac Racing Ducati displaced him in the final seconds, securing the Columbians progress through to Q2 at Marquez’ expense.

This means that Marquez will have to start Sunday’s race from the front of the fourth row in 13th his worst MotoGP qualifying performance.

Movistar Yamaha’s Jorge Lorenzo will be a force to be reckoned come Sunday’s race, as he demonstrated in incredibly persistent race pace throughout Free Practice.

The double MotoGP World Champion was only 0.095s behind Dovizioso in Q2 and will start from second on the grid, a feat made all the more impressive as Lorenzo does not have the softer option tyre available to him.

Andrea Dovizioso followed up Iannone’s incredible pole lap by securing third on the grid, making it two Ducati GP15’s on the front row, and the team will be pushing hard for their first win since Stoner’s victory in Australia in 2010.

CWM LCR Honda’s Cal Crutchlow won the battle of the Satellite riders, as he once again impressed during Q2 to finish fourth fastest as the fastest Honda on the grid.

Team Suzuki Ecstar’s Aleix Espargaro was another rider who had to grit his teeth as he was suffering from the injury to his right thumb sustained during his Free Practice crash at Le Mans.

The Spaniard sought medical advice before the day’s action, and it clearly paid off, as he will start the race from the middle of the front row.

To top off an almost perfect day for Ducati, their test rider Michele Pirro managed to set a time good enough for sixth in Q2, and will complete the second row for Sunday’s race, the best qualifying performance from a wildcard rider since Ben Spies in 2008 at Indianapolis.

Dani Pedrosa on the second Factory Repsol Honda RC213V showed he is recovering from his arm pump surgery by setting the seventh fastest time. The Spaniard will start from the head of the third row, ahead of nine-time world champion Valentino Rossi.

Rossi once again could not perform as he wanted during qualifying, although he wont be too disappointed to start the race from eighth on the grid, as his last two victories have both been achieved when he started from that position.

Team Suzuki Ecstar’s Maverick Viñales will start the race from ninth on the grid, with Monster Yamaha Tech 3’s Pol Espargaro and Bradley Smith in 10th and 11th respectively.

Avintia Racing’s Hector Barbera was the leading Open class rider in 15th, with the Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS Honda of Scott Redding down in 17th.

Australian premier class rookie Jack Miller will start out of position 23, positing a 1m48.572s lap on his CWM LCR Honda.

The Gran Premio d’Italia TIM will see Britain’s Sam Lowes start from pole position in Moto2 on his Italian-built Speed Up bike.

Before the weekend the Mugello track record for Moto2 stood at 1m52.369 from Pol Espargaro in 2012, this record would not last long however.

Already in FP3 Tito Rabat dropped in the 1m51s to set a new best lap around Mugello. All of the top four riders on the grid would set laps in the 1m51s come qualifying.

The qualifying session got off to a difficult start for Britain’s Sam Lowes as he suffered a crash with half an hour left in the session.

Luckily, neither he nor the bike sustained any major damage and after brief repairs by his Speed Up Racing team Lowes was back on track. He then set a stunning 1m51.514, a new pole position record and the fastest ever Moto2 lap around the Mugello circuit.

It was a welcome return to the front row for Dominique Aegerter, who has struggled to score points in the opening five rounds, and he was second ahead of world champion Tito Rabat. Queensland’s Anthony West was well down the order in 30th with a 1m54.989s.

Britain’s Danny Kent claimed his second Moto3 pole position of the year and his first ever-front row at Mugello in dominant fashion with a new record of 1m56.615s. He will lead the front row from Hiroki Ono and Romano Fenati. Remy Gardner will start out of position 26.

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