News 25 Sep 2016

Marquez marches to convincing Aragon MotoGP pole position

Four different manufacturers at the front following Saturday's sessions.

Source: Supplied.

Source: Supplied.

The grey of Friday at MotorLand Aragon turned powder blue on Saturday, as qualifying day brought warmer temperatures and shining late September sun for the Gran Premio Movistar de Aragon.

Q2’s pre-session favourite for pole was unquestionably Marc Marquez after the Repsol Honda rider was fastest by some margin in both FP3 and FP4 on ominous form and the number 93 turned promise into pole position by an incredible gap of six tenths.

Maverick Viñales (Team Suzuki Ecstar) and Jorge Lorenzo (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) complete the front row as MotoGP gets back on their home turf, making for an all-Spanish front row ahead of Sunday.

FP4 saw PULL&BEAR Aspar rider Yonny Hernandez into the top ten, but the Colombian sadly wasn’t able to replicate the performance in Q1 as Danilo Petrucci (Octo Pramac Yakhnich), Hector Barbera (Avintia Racing) and Aprilia Racing Team Gresini duo Alvaro Bautista and Stefan Bradl joined the South American in the battle for graduation to Q2.

Petrucci eventually topped the session, with Bradl impressing as the German got an Aprilia through to Q2 for the second successive race after Bautista managed the same at Misano last time out. Alex Lowes (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) had a crash in FP3 and subsequently decided to stay off track on Saturday afternoon – with a decision on whether to race left for Sunday morning.

With Q2 underway Marquez hit first, with Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda) slotting into P2 early on and reigning champion Lorenzo suddenly pulling a laptime out the bag to take a provisional front row. Looking to improve in the second run, Repsol Honda rider Marquez’ first flying run proved to set his fastest time – just shy of a 1m46s lap of the 5.1km venue.

As the second run got underway, Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team) leapt up into P2 before former teammate Cal Crutchlow lost his Honda into turn one in the first high profile crash of the session. It was then Viñales who moved up into second, as Friday’s fastest Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda Team) suffered a crash soon after Crutchlow and saw his session come to an equally early end.

The last minute drama wasn’t over there, as Lorenzo again improved his laptime in the final minutes to knock Dovizioso back off the front row, completing the all-Spanish top three on home turf behind Marquez and Viñales.

Dovizioso finally heads up row two ahead of late-crasher Crutchlow, with Movistar Yamaha MotoGP legend Valentino Rossi further down the timesheets in P6 to complete the second row, despite proving fastest Yamaha on Friday. The ‘Doctor’ had a difficult day at the office, including a highside crash at turn nine in FP3.

Pedrosa starts from seventh after his crash in qualifying – one place higher than his grid position ahead of victory at Misano World Circuit – with second Suzuki rider Aleix Espargaro behind the ‘Baby Samurai’ in eighth.

Danilo Petrucci (Octo Pramac Yakhnich) just beat teammate Scott Redding to the third row, with the Pramac pair pushing Pol Espargaro (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) down to 11th. Stefan Bradl (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini) completed the Q2 graduates in 12th.

Sam Lowes (Federal Oil Gresini Moto2) had a tough weekend on the Riviera di Rimini, but the Moto2 title contender shone once again at MotorLand as he denied provisional pole-sitter Alex Marquez (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS) in the final minutes of qualifying.

Marquez, who was fastest in FP3, was 0.054 back on the Brit by the end of the session, with the two men proving the class of the field. Takaaki Nakagami (Idemitsu Honda Team Asia) completes the front row in another great showing of pace from the Japanese Dutch GP winner. Tasca Racing Scuderia’s Remy Gardner will start 25th.

Enea Bastianini (Gresini Racing Moto3) took pole position in Moto3, as the Italian ended the session two tenths above championship rival Jorge Navarro (Estrella Galicia 0,0). Livio Loi (RW Racing GP BV) set the third fastest lap of the session, but must take a three-place grid penalty.

Gabriel Rodrigo (RBA Racing Team) put in the fourth fastest effort of QP, but was similarly affected with a four place penalty on race day. Aron Canet (Estrella Galicia 0,0) will be a big winner once penalties are applied to those on the front rows, as the home rookie qualified in fifth and will be set to move up the grid.