Marcel Schrotter heads up the Moto2 grid at the Italian Grand Prix after another record-breaking day, with the German taking his third career pole position by an infinitesimal 0.040 ahead of teammate Tom Lüthi. Alex Marquez (completes the front row, qualifying in the same P3 from which he took his first win of the year last time out and the third man of six to break the previous lap record. Championship leader Lorenzo Baldassarri meanwhile, had a difficult day at the office and will start his home Grand Prix from fifteenth.
Speaking afterwards, Schrotter said: “It's simply incredible because we didn't really expect the pole position. Of course, we always try our best and want to be ahead, but you have to be realistic. We've had a few problems in the last two races because of my foot and also with the new rear tyre. We didn't know which of the two things would let me struggle more. I just didn't have enough confidence with the bike. Even this weekend I haven't had the feeling that the bike is what I want it to be. I tried to explain my issues and for qualifying we were able to make some changes.
“My fastest lap was better than the fastest time this morning. Actually, it wasn't the plan to change the tyre, but after three or four laps I still went into the pits. It was a bit late, but I knew the tyre was ready. So I only had one more try and gave everything I could. And that worked out. I think it was one of the best qualifying laps of my career so far. I'm very happy about it."
More from the Italian Grand Prix
Sam Lowes had a slow start to the day with a crash in free practice three as they worked on bike set up, but the Federal Oil Gresini Kalex rider says he’s fired up for tomorrow’s race after coming home in eighth.
“The day didn’t start too well: this mornings crash cost me some confidence. Then during qualifying I felt good on the bike straight away. We worked very well and it’s a shame that traffic held us back in the second run with new tyres. It has been a tough qualifying for everybody so we can look at the bright side. From third row I can think about a good result because we need it after Le Mans. Our speed on the long run is a lot better than on the single lap, so we’ll aim at least at a top five.”
Marini tops day one at home
Home favourite Luca Marini has topped the opening day of Moto2 action at the Italian Grand Prix, ending Friday at Mugello a mere 0.008 clear of former series runner-up Thomas Luthi, with a strong ride from Petronas SRT replacement rider Mattia Pasini in third.
Sam Lowes was the best of the Brits in 14th, just sneaking into Q2 with a session still to go - but happy with his day's work after concentrating on race pace and not his single lap speed just yet.
“It’s been a positive day on many levels. The bike has improved a lot compared to this morning, so we’re heading in the right direction. We worked on the gearbox and we also tried two different solutions, which gave us enough information to analyse tonight in order to make the best decision ahead of tomorrow. I’m still not fully comfortable in some corners, especially the last ones, but apart from that we lapped with a good pace and always with used tyres. We can be a lot faster tomorrow and we know the weather will hold.”
Lowes hoping to bounce back after successful test
Sam Lowes says he’s hopeful that a test after last week’s French Grand Prix will enable him to bounce back into action at Mugello this weekend, after the weekend at Le Mans was brought to an end by a crash.
Struggling in the Moto2 class since Dunlop introduced their new specification of tyre two races ago in Jerez, he says that now he’s understood the new rubber and completed two days of work at lap record pace and without a crash.
“The two days of testing where really important and we managed to make many steps forward; we got a better understanding of the hard-compound tyres, which will surely be the go-to choice at Montmeló. We also tried some new interesting parts chassis-wise. Thank you to Kalex and obviously the team for the work done.
“We put in 190 laps in two days and now it’s time to focus on Mugello, a circuit a really like. I still hold the Moto2 lap record there and this test allowed us to forget the nightmare weekend at Le Mans and to find a little bit of serenity ahead of the team’s home GP.”
However, while he’s optimistic about his potential this weekend, it might be a tougher weekend for fellow Brit Jake Dixon as he heads to one of the season’s toughest tracks as a rookie. Still struggling with an underperforming KTM machine, he’s hoping that games console experience will help him out!
“I am looking forward to racing at Mugello, in front of the Italian fans. It is a historic circuit that I have seen on television many times over the years and I have heard a lot of good things about it. I have only ever raced it on my games console and even though I have done a lot of laps it will be completely different on the bike this weekend. Our expectations haven’t changed after the race in France and we know that in the dry, with the situation as it is, we have to keep fighting.”