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MotoGP World Championship Grand Prix 2013

Round 09: U.S.A.

  • Overview
  • Race Results
  • Qualifying
  • Photo
July 20, 2013

Bradl Leads All-Honda Front Row At Laguna

German rider Stefan Bradl (LCR Honda RC213V) claimed his first MotoGP pole position at Laguna Seca, heading a trio of Hondas taking control of the front row of the grid for tomorrow's US GP at the exciting and challenging Californian circuit.

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

Bradl's triumph came with only 30 seconds of an exciting final qualifying session remaining. Repsol Honda RC213V rider Marc Marquez had set the pace all session, but had to watch powerless from the pits after slipping off unhurt while striving to put pole position out of reach.

Rookie championship leader Marquez stayed second, and will start from the front row of the grid for the sixth time this season. His earlier lap time was 0.017 seconds slower than pole.

Team GO&FUN Honda Gresini RC213V rider Alvaro Bautista stormed to third, for his first front row this year. Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda RC213V), returned from injury, qualified seventh, to head row three.

Bradl's maiden class pole comes after a run of improving results for the German, following a troubled start to the former Moto2 champion's second MotoGP season. He claimed his first front-row start at Assen in round seven, and scored his second fourth place of the season at the German GP last weekend.

The 23-year-old has his sights firmly set on his first MotoGP rostrum on his second visit to Laguna.

Marquez claimed his second win of the year in Germany, regaining the championship lead as his senior-class debut season continues to gather momentum. The reigning Moto2 World Champion arrived at the notoriously tricky 3.610-km Californian circuit sight unseen, since the smaller classes do not race here. He confounded predictions that he would find it hard to learn, taking to the top of the time sheets on the first afternoon, then continuing to force the pace as he polished his corner lines and braking points.

The high number of laps round the very short track helped him to unlock the circuit's secrets, and he seemed set for a second successive pole position, his third this year, when he slid off on the fast Turn 6. He was able to ride back to the pits, but there was not time to essay a clinching final lap.

Bautista's first front row of the season came after steady improvement through the free practice sessions, where he was fourth fastest. He went one better with a series of improving laps in final qualifying. The Spanish former 125 World Champion has a dual role for Honda, race-testing Showa suspension, the only rider on the grid to use it. The team reports encouraging recent progress with this project.

Factory rider Pedrosa was ruled out of last weekend's German GP with temporary low blood pressure problems after suffering a partial collarbone fracture in a practice crash. Courageously returning to this race, in spite of the risk of further damage, the Spanish star took a cautious approach. He did not take part in the morning free practice sessions and placed 11th on Friday afternoon. This meant he had to take part in the first of two final qualifying sessions, needing to be first or second fastest in Q1 to go through to Q2 with the top ten. He ran just four flying laps to secure a significant top time; then came out again after a ten-minute break, missing a second-row start by a quarter of a second to fellow returned injury victim and title rival Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha).

Pedrosa's aim will be to gather as many points as possible in his weakened condition, to limit damage to his championship score as the first half of the season ends and the summer break begins.

Team GO&FUN Honda Gresini FTR Honda rider Bryan Staring was another rider meeting Laguna Seca for the first time, and qualified his CBR1000RR-powered machine 22nd. The grand-prix first-timer is seeking to add to his championship points score as he continues to gain experience with the CRT machine.

Honda is seeking a third straight win at Laguna Seca, where the retired Casey Stoner took successive victories on the Repsol Honda machine in 2011 and 2012. In eight previous visits Honda has won five times, with Nicky Hayden victorious in 2005 and 2006, and Dani Pedrosa in 2009.

Tomorrow's race is the ninth of 18 rounds, and the halfway point of the season is followed by a three-weekend break.

Alvaro BAUTISTA (GO & FUN Honda Gresini)zoom
Alvaro BAUTISTA (GO & FUN Honda Gresini)
Dani PEDROSA (Repsol Honda Team)zoom
Dani PEDROSA (Repsol Honda Team)
Honda MotoGP rider quotess
Stefan Bradl, LCR Honda MotoGP: pole, 1m 21.176
"It's an unbelievable sensation! My first pole position in the premier class at this spectacular circuit and I am the first German rider to get this result in the MotoGP history. I cannot ask for more! We knew that we have a good pace all the weekend but this result is another step forward for me and the team. I am happy with the bike set-up, as happened in Germany, and want to thank my team for their job. We did not make any particular changes, just adjusted some small things ahead the qualifying and my pace was immediately fast. We had a small problem when I stopped at the garage to change the tyre and we lost half a second but once I was out again the track was clear in front of me and I could go for my perfect lap. I think it was my best lap ever."
Marc Marquez, Repsol Honda: 2nd, 1'21.193
"I am happy, because despite the crash we are going to be starting from second on the grid for my first US Grand Prix. Obviously we would have liked to have taken pole, but I made a mistake at Turn 6 when I went in too fast. I lost the front end and couldn't prevent the crash. I think that we've done a good job so far and have a strong pace, so we are confident that tomorrow we will be able to cap things off with a good race."
Alvaro Bautista, Team FUN&GO Honda Gresini: 3rd, 1'21.373
"We did some more work this morning on our race pace and I felt really confident on the bike. This afternoon we finally got the front row position that we have missed out on in recent races. Qualifying has been our weak point but I was on the pace from the start today and everything felt good. It means we have the opportunity to make a good start tomorrow and not lose time trying to pass riders over the early laps. I am happy, confident and thankful to the team for all the work they are putting in. Hopefully we can have a lot of fun tomorrow."
Dani Pedrosa, Repsol Honda: 7th, 1'21.728
"Today went a little better than yesterday. We were able to ride a little faster and I was able to make the cut for Q2. Getting seventh on the grid is very good and I'm happy with the placing, but the most important thing is that we had a good practice session and are in the mix to be able to have a good race tomorrow."
Bryan Staring, Team FUN&GO Honda Gresini: 22nd, 1'24.756
"I am quite happy with our performance although we're still lacking a little something if we want to run with the guys ahead of us. We have made some steps forward but we need to improve further in the race tomorrow. I feel confident with the bike but need to get more comfortable with the track. It's not an easy task because Laguna Seca is a difficult track to learn but we'll try our best."
MotoGP World Championship Grand Prix 2013
Round 09: U.S.A.
MotoGP Class
Rank Rider (Team)
1Stefan BRADL (LCR Honda MotoGP)
2Marc MARQUEZ (Repsol Honda Team)
3Alvaro BAUTISTA (GO&FUN Honda Gresini)
4Valentino ROSSI (Yamaha Factory Racing)
5Cal CRUTCHLOW (Monster Yamaha Tech 3)
6Jorge LORENZO (Yamaha Factory Racing)
7Dani PEDROSA (Repsol Honda Team)
8Andrea DOVIZIOSO (Ducati Team)
9Bradley SMITH (Monster Yamaha Tech 3)
10Nicky HAYDEN (Ducati Team)
11Aleix ESPARGARO (Power Electronics Aspar)
12Randy DE PUNIET (Power Electronics Aspar)
13Hector BARBERA (Avintia Blusens)
14Alex DE ANGELIS (Ignite Pramac Racing)
15Colin EDWARDS (NGM Mobile Forward Racing)

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