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MotoGP World Championship Grand Prix 2013

Round 04: France

  • Overview
  • Race Results
  • Qualifying
  • Photo
May 18, 2013

Marquez and Honda Take Pole Position at Le Mans

Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda RC213V) stormed to pole position at Le Mans this afternoon, the World Championship leader beating off a challenge from reigning World Champion Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha) by three hundredths of a second. Stefan Bradl (LCR Honda RC213V) and Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda RC213V) will both start tomorrow's French Grand Prix from the second row of the grid after qualifying fifth and sixth fastest.

Marc MARQUEZ (Repsol Honda Team)zoom
Marc MARQUEZ (Repsol Honda Team)
Stefan BRADL (LCR Honda MotoGP)zoom
Stefan BRADL (LCR Honda MotoGP)

Remarkable rookie Marquez started practice yesterday morning having never ridden a lap of the legendary French track aboard a MotoGP bike, and yet by the end of the day he was second fastest, 0.134 seconds behind team-mate Pedrosa. The reigning Moto2 World Champion commented that Le Mans is a small and tight track, and that it feels a lot smaller and tighter on a MotoGP bike than a Moto2 machine! In the final pre-qualifying practice session Marquez slid off at Turn Two - the first left-hander that claimed five riders today - but that hardly affected his confidence at all.

This is the 20-year-old Spaniard's second premier-class pole, following his pole position at last month's Grand Prix of the Americas, which made him the youngest premier-class pole sitter in GP history. He backed that up with victory the next day, making him the youngest premier-class race winner.

Bradl's determined push to fifth, which puts him in the middle of the second row between Cal Crutchlow (Yamaha) and Pedrosa, was some reward for all the hard work he's put in with his team to solve a front-end issue that had hampered him at the last two races. The German ended the day less than a tenth of a second off his first MotoGP front row.

Pedrosa was confident of fighting for pole position after ending the first three practice sessions second fastest, behind Marquez. But a tumble at Turn Two interrupted his efforts during the 15-minute QP2 qualifying session. The former 125 and 250 World Champion got back to the pits, took his second bike and managed to better his time, but he had to be happy with sixth on the grid, just five thousandths of a second behind Bradl.

Alvaro Bautista (Team GO&FUN Honda Gresini RC213V) was another who fell at the first left, sliding off there during FP3. He recovered to go seventh fastest in qualifying, which puts him at the top of the third row of the grid. The first three rows are tightly packed, with the top nine riders covered by just 1.035 seconds.

Bryan Staring (GO&FUN Honda Gresini FTR Honda) will start from 21st on the grid. The Australian rookie - who has never ridden at Le Mans before - was happy with his progress and with his race pace.

Takaaki Nakagami (Italtrans Racing Team Kalex) scored his first Grand Prix pole position this afternoon, bettering Moto2 rival Scott Redding (Marc VDS Racing Team Kalex) by 0.350 seconds. Nakagami was ahead when rain began to fall, denying his rivals the chance to attack the lap time of the Japanese rider.

The Japanese and the Briton will be joined on tomorrow's Moto2 front row by local hero Johann Zarco (Came Ioda Racing Project Suter) who also made sure he got in a good lap time before the rain came.

The second row will be led by World Championship leader Esteve Rabat (Tuenti HP 40 Pons Kalex), winner of the last race at Jerez in Spain. He will start the race alongside Xavier Simeon (Desguaces La Torre Maptaq Kalex) and Nicolas Terol (Mapfre Aspar Team Moto2 Suter), winner of the Moto2 race at the Circuit of the Americas.

Jack Miller (Caretta Technology - RTG FTR Honda) was Honda's top performer in Moto3, scoring his third successive second-row start. The 18-year-old Australian was in fine form, ending the session sixth fastest, less than six tenths off pole position, which went to Maverick Vinales (KTM). Miller attributed some of his performance to new bodywork from FTR.

Isaac Vinales (Bimbo Ongetta-Centro Seta FTR Honda) ended the afternoon on the third row, with eighth fastest time, despite a minor engine glitch during qualifying.

Alexis Masbou (Ongetta-Rivacold FTR Honda) was the top French performer in Moto3 qualifying, taking tenth place on the grid, just over three tenths of a second down on Miller. The Frenchman was just ahead of Romano Fenati (San Carlo Team Italia FTR Honda), Brad Binder (Ambrogio Racing Suter Honda) and Lorenzo Baldassarri (GO&FUN Gresini FTR Honda)

Rain is forecast for tomorrow at Le Mans, round four of this year's 18-race MotoGP World Championship.

Dani PEDROSA (Repsol Honda Team)zoom
Dani PEDROSA (Repsol Honda Team)
Alvaro BAUTISTA (GO & FUN Honda Gresini)zoom
Alvaro BAUTISTA (GO & FUN Honda Gresini)
MotoGP rider quotes
Marc Marquez, Repsol Honda: pole position, 1m 33.187s
"Qualifying went very well. After FP3, in which we had a small front-end crash and I lost my confidence a little, I was back on it immediately. It was hard to heat up the tyres, but that was the same for everyone. I think that's the reason why there were so many crashes. I am very happy, because I think that we had a good session and have a good peace. Tomorrow we will try to give 100 per cent and see if we are fortunate enough to have a dry race. If it is a wet one, then we just have to do as well as we can."
Stefan Bradl, LCR Honda: 5th, 1m 33.634s
"Finally we've done a good job in qualifying, as the gap from the third to the sixth in the classification is very narrow. It's nice to be back after the difficult weekend in Jerez and I knew I was fast enough to get fifth place, which is our usual position. I want to thank the team for their efforts because they've done a good job adjusting the front end, working on suspension, electronics and mapping. Now I can ride the bike with confidence no matter what the weather will be tomorrow and I am confident we can race at the front."
Dani Pedrosa, Repsol Honda: 6th, 1m 33.639s
"The afternoon practice sessions were difficult. I crashed in qualifying, so I had to go back to the garage and only had a little time left on the clock when I got back out on track. I was not able to make the best use of the session, but at least I was able to clock a fairly decent time and place sixth. It is a pity, because we could have been much higher up the grid. For tomorrow we will have to try to get a good start, get back up through the field and have a good race."
Alvaro Bautista, Team GO&FUN Honda Gresini: 7th, 1m 33.984s
"Today was a difficult day, especially this morning because we tried some things with the set-up to resolve the issues we had yesterday but they didn't work. We made some progress with the electronics and then went back a step with the set-up but at the end of the morning session I had a crash on cold tyres that was quite heavy. Thankfully I wasn't really hurt apart from a blow to my chest, which was painful this afternoon. I couldn't ride at 100 per cent for qualifying but I felt more confident with the front so I am looking forward to riding it tomorrow. We have another thing to try in the warm-up with the electronics and then we will see what the weather does for the race."
Bryan Staring, GO&FUN Honda Gresini FTR Honda: 21st, 1m 36.714s
"I am halfway happy because I feel I could have done better but we have still closed the gap to the guys in front of us. Our race pace is important and it makes me confident for the race. Obviously our biggest problem is that the tracks are always new to me and it has taken me some time to learn the right line around here. Taking everything into account I think we can have a good race tomorrow."
Moto2 rider quotes
Takaaki Nakagami, Italtrans Racing Team: pole position, 1m 38.508s
"Qualifying was quite difficult because of the weather - as soon as the session started there were already a few drops of rain falling. I tried 100 per cent from the start and tried to make no mistakes and ride some good laps. I'm really happy to get my first pole. Big thanks to my team and to my mechanics who help me a lot. I was quite strong in winter testing and I have a good feeling with my Kalex. If it rains tomorrow it will be a very hard race. I will try 100 per cent, try to make no mistakes and to be on the podium."
Scott Redding, Marc VDS Racing Team: 2nd, 1m 38.858s
"I was up for taking another pole position today, as I definitely had the pace here, despite the small crash this morning. Unfortunately the timing was wrong, in a session that was more of a sprint than qualifying is normally. I put in a fast lap right at the start but, unfortunately, Taka got a lap behind me, which was all he needed to take pole. I thought I could come back, but then the rain arrived and that was it. Anyway, I'm happy enough with the front row, especially as I'm ahead of Espargaro and Rabat on the grid. We also got some time on the bike in the wet this afternoon, which could be important given that there's a good chance of rain tomorrow."
Johann Zarco, Came Ioda Racing Project: 3rd, 1m 39.187s
"I'm happy with my first front row of the season and I've done it in France which makes it taste even better. The changing weather made qualifying difficult, with a few drops of rain falling at the start of the session, so everyone was immediately pushing to get a good time. I have a good feeling with my Suter, so I was able to go quite fast. After it started raining more heavily I went out again to test the feeling of the bike in the wet, knowing that Le Mans doesn't have much grip. Tomorrow I'll try to fight for a podium and make France proud."
Moto3 Rider quotes
Jack Miller, Caretta Technology - RTG: 6th, 1m 44.278s
"That was good, I'm pretty happy - another solid second row. There are a couple of big straights here, so we've done well to be where we are and I know there are a couple of points I can improve for the race. We've got a new fairing here which is working really well. It's smaller for better aero and it's better in windy conditions too. The team is working phenomenally hard, I can't thank them enough."
Isaac Vinales, Ongetta-Centro Seta: 8th, 1m 44.548s
"The bike is good, through the engine wasn't pushing as hard in qualifying as it was in this morning's session. We've made a few small adjustments to the chassis set-up, which have helped, so I'm quite confident for the race because my rhythm is pretty good."
Alexis Masbou, Ongetta-Rivacold: 10th, 1m 44.600s
"We have been improving the bike and today we tried two different settings, one that was good for corner entry and the other that was good for corner exit. Now we have to decide which one to prove or maybe try something in between. This is the first time we have been within a second of pole, so I am quite happy. All the Honda teams are working very hard and we are starting to close the gap."
MotoGP World Championship Grand Prix 2013
Round 04: France
MotoGP Class
Rank Rider (Team)
1Marc MARQUEZ (Repsol Honda Team)
2Jorge LORENZO (Yamaha Factory Racing)
3Andrea DOVIZIOSO (Ducati Team)
4Cal CRUTCHLOW (Monster Yamaha Tech 3)
5Stefan BRADL (LCR Honda MotoGP)
6Dani PEDROSA (Repsol Honda Team)
7 Alvaro BAUTISTA (GO & FUN Honda Gresini)
8Valentino ROSSI (Yamaha Factory Racing)
9Bradley SMITH (Monster Yamaha Tech 3)
10Nicky HAYDEN (Ducati Team)
11Aleix ESPARGARO (Power Electronics Aspar)
12Randy DE PUNIET (Power Electronics Aspar)
13Andrea IANNONE (Energy T.I. Pramac Racing)
14Michele PIRRO (Ignite Pramac Racing)
15Hector BARBERA (Avintia Blusens)
Moto2 Class
Rank Rider (Team)
1Takaaki NAKAGAMI (Italtrans Racing Team)
2Scott REDDING (Marc VDS Racing Team)
3Johann ZARCO (Came Iodaracing Project)
4Esteve RABAT (Tuenti HP 40)
5Xavier SIMEON (Desguaces La Torre Maptaq)
6Nicolas TEROL (Mapfre Aspar Team Moto2)
7Pol ESPARGARO (Tuenti HP 40)
8Thomas LUTHI (Interwetten Paddock Moto2 Racing)
9Mattia PASINI (NGM Mobile Racing)
10Mika KALLIO (Marc VDS Racing Team)
11Anthony WEST (QMMF Racing Team)
12Mike DI MEGLIO (Jir Moto2)
13Dominique AEGERTER (Technomag carXpert)
14Toni ELIAS (Blusens Avintia)
15Jordi TORRES (Mapfre Aspar Team Moto2)
Moto3 Class
Rank Rider (Team)
1Maverick VIÑALES (Team Calvo)
2Miguel OLIVEIRA (Mahindra Racing)
3Jonas FOLGER (Mapfre Aspar Team Moto3)
4Alex RINS (Estrella Galicia 0,0)
5Luis SALOM (Red Bull KTM Ajo)
6Jack MILLER (Caretta Technology - RTG)
7Alex MARQUEZ (Estrella Galicia 0,0)
8Isaac VIÑALES (Ongetta-Centro Seta)
9Niklas AJO (Avant Tecno)
10Alexis MASBOU (Ongetta-Rivacold)
11Romano FENATI (San Carlo Team Italia)
12Brad BINDER (Ambrogio Racing)
13Lorenzo BALDASSARRI (GO & FUN Gresini Moto3)
14Jakub KORNFEIL (Redox RW Racing GP)
15Zulfahmi KHAIRUDDIN (Red Bull KTM Ajo)

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