MotoGP World Championship Grand Prix 2013
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.
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.
|1||Marc MARQUEZ (Repsol Honda Team)|
|2||Jorge LORENZO (Yamaha Factory Racing)|
|3||Andrea DOVIZIOSO (Ducati Team)|
|4||Cal CRUTCHLOW (Monster Yamaha Tech 3)|
|5||Stefan BRADL (LCR Honda MotoGP)|
|6||Dani PEDROSA (Repsol Honda Team)|
|7||Alvaro BAUTISTA (GO & FUN Honda Gresini)|
|8||Valentino ROSSI (Yamaha Factory Racing)|
|9||Bradley SMITH (Monster Yamaha Tech 3)|
|10||Nicky HAYDEN (Ducati Team)|
|11||Aleix ESPARGARO (Power Electronics Aspar)|
|12||Randy DE PUNIET (Power Electronics Aspar)|
|13||Andrea IANNONE (Energy T.I. Pramac Racing)|
|14||Michele PIRRO (Ignite Pramac Racing)|
|15||Hector BARBERA (Avintia Blusens)|
|1||Takaaki NAKAGAMI (Italtrans Racing Team)|
|2||Scott REDDING (Marc VDS Racing Team)|
|3||Johann ZARCO (Came Iodaracing Project)|
|4||Esteve RABAT (Tuenti HP 40)|
|5||Xavier SIMEON (Desguaces La Torre Maptaq)|
|6||Nicolas TEROL (Mapfre Aspar Team Moto2)|
|7||Pol ESPARGARO (Tuenti HP 40)|
|8||Thomas LUTHI (Interwetten Paddock Moto2 Racing)|
|9||Mattia PASINI (NGM Mobile Racing)|
|10||Mika KALLIO (Marc VDS Racing Team)|
|11||Anthony WEST (QMMF Racing Team)|
|12||Mike DI MEGLIO (Jir Moto2)|
|13||Dominique AEGERTER (Technomag carXpert)|
|14||Toni ELIAS (Blusens Avintia)|
|15||Jordi TORRES (Mapfre Aspar Team Moto2)|
|1||Maverick VIÑALES (Team Calvo)|
|2||Miguel OLIVEIRA (Mahindra Racing)|
|3||Jonas FOLGER (Mapfre Aspar Team Moto3)|
|4||Alex RINS (Estrella Galicia 0,0)|
|5||Luis SALOM (Red Bull KTM Ajo)|
|6||Jack MILLER (Caretta Technology - RTG)|
|7||Alex MARQUEZ (Estrella Galicia 0,0)|
|8||Isaac VIÑALES (Ongetta-Centro Seta)|
|9||Niklas AJO (Avant Tecno)|
|10||Alexis MASBOU (Ongetta-Rivacold)|
|11||Romano FENATI (San Carlo Team Italia)|
|12||Brad BINDER (Ambrogio Racing)|
|13||Lorenzo BALDASSARRI (GO & FUN Gresini Moto3)|
|14||Jakub KORNFEIL (Redox RW Racing GP)|
|15||Zulfahmi KHAIRUDDIN (Red Bull KTM Ajo)|