Repsol Honda rider Dani Pedrosa took an incredible pole position in qualifying for the Spanish Grand Prix, taking to the top in a last dash and teammate Marc Marquez unable to depose him on his last lap. Pedrosa was fastest on Friday and on Saturday in free practice three, on the charge at his first home race of the year. Behind Marquez is Cal Crutchlow, completing the front row in a Honda 1-2-3.
Pedrosa said: “This was probably one of the best poles of my career because it was a really hard battle. It was a strategic end of the session with Marc there right behind me, so for a moment I wasn’t sure if I should push or not. There was no choice anyway, so I just went for it. I’m very happy because our main target for the GP was to be on the front row.
“The feeling was really good, and it has been good all weekend, so I told myself, Okay, let’s try it. It has been a while since I’ve led in qualifying; I’ve struggled a lot last season so I’m very happy with today. Thanks to the team for the hard work, and I’m also happy for Honda. It looks like we’re doing really well so let’s focus for tomorrow and do the best we can!”
Movistar Yamaha MotoGP rider Maverick Viñales took fourth to head up the second row ahead of Q1 graduate and comeback king Andrea Iannone with rookie Johann Zarco in sixth.
Fourteen world titles start the Spanish GP from the third row, with championship leader Valentino Rossi in seventh just ahead of Ducati Team’s Jorge Lorenzo only 0.002 back, as the Spaniard had a good day's work on Saturday, back up the timesheets in his home race. Jonas Folger is ninth in another solid result for the German rookie.
Jack Miller backed up his Friday pace with direct entry to Q2 and a top ten start despite a crash, with Scott Redding in eleventh and Aleix Espargaró (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini) in P12 after graduating from Q1.
Bradley Smith had a successful day to finish only a second from qualifying from Q2 in 16th overall, while a fuel pump problem halted Sam Lowes’ charge to improve from 22nd.