MotoGP: Marquez tops frantic qualifying
The mad dash for pole was true to its name as the final 30 seconds saw everything shuffle and shuffle again, with Jorge Lorenzo (Ducati Team) and Andrea Iannone (Team Suzuki Ecstar) initially seeming to have the advantage before that final lap for the majority of those in the session – and the emergence of Marquez at the top. But it’s just 0.041 back to Crutchlow and 0.059 back to Rossi, with Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team) heading the second row despite only being 0.079 off pole.
The Italian is joined on Row 2 by the first of the Q1 graduates as Alex Rins (Team Suzuki Ecstar) impressed on his first run and his second to secure P5 as top Hamamatsu factory machine. Friday’s fastest Maverick Viñales (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) starts sixth and still within two tenths of pole, with the Spaniard hoping for a better launch off the line than in Barcelona.
That was also true of Italian and Catalan GP winner Jorge Lorenzo, who starts tenth after having been the early pacesetter. Less than four tenths off, the ‘Spartan’ will be looking for a lot more on Sunday and keen to make another lightning launch off the line.
Danilo Petrucci (Alma Pramac Racing) and Alvaro Bautista (Angel Nieto Team) took P11 and P12, with Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda Idemitsu) taking top rookie honours in P13. Both he and fellow debutant Haifzh Syahrin (Monster Yamaha Tech 3), who starts fifteenth, will be looking to gain some ground in the fight for Rookie of the Year – with current leader Franco Morbidelli (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) missing the race and declared unfit after suffering a small fracture in his left hand.
Jack Miller (Alma Pramac Racing) and Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda Team) will be two men keen to blast past that rookie battle as early as possible in the race – starting P16 and P18 respectively after a tough weekend for both so far.