MotoGP World Championship Grand Prix 2014
Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda RC213V) kept his amazing momentum going at Le Mans this afternoon, riding to his fifth pole position from the first five races of the season. The 21-year-old reigning MotoGP World Champion goes into tomorrow’s French Grand Prix with a full house points score of 100 points from the first four rounds and looking to extend his advantage over team-mate Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda RC213V) who holds second place in the points chase.
The last time a rider took pole and race victory at the first five races was way back in 1971 when Giacomo Agostini – the most successful rider in history – dominated on the MV Agusta.
Marquez started out yesterday with the same set-up he had used to win his home Grand Prix at Jerez two weeks ago and gradually honed the settings with his team to end the day fastest. This morning he was a close second fastest to Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha) and ready to up his pace for the crucial qualifying outing, thanks largely to improvements to corner-entry stability. As a result, he set a new qualifying lap record.
Fourth-fastest Stefan Bradl (LCR Honda RC213V) was less than one hundredth of a second away from taking his second front-row start of the year, just 0.091 seconds behind Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati). The young German – who had post-Jerez surgery to fix an arm-pump problem – will start the race alongside factory Yamaha pairing Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo who were fifth and sixth quickest.
Alvaro Bautista (Team GO&FUN Honda Gresini RC213V) will head the third row of the grid after qualifying seventh fastest, a mere 0.107 seconds behind Lorenzo. The Spaniard was third fastest at the end of day one but slipped down the order today, struggling more than his rivals as the circuit’s grip level improved.
Pedrosa showed good pace in free practice but was unable to up his speed for qualifying, largely due to the surgery he underwent on his right arm to reduce arm pump following the Spanish Grand Prix. Ninth fastest and on the third row, he knows he will have to focus on getting his tyres as hot as possible on the warm-up lap so he can attack and pass rivals in the first laps of the race.
Nicky Hayden (Drive 7 Aspar Honda RCV1000R) won the contest to be the quickest rider on Honda’s production MotoGP bike, the RCV1000R. Handicapped by an old right wrist injury – which requires painkilling injections – the former MotoGP World Champion improved his pace today and probably only missed out on a place in QP2 due to a small mistake on his best lap in QP1.
MotoGP rookie Scott Redding (Team GO&FUN Honda Gresini RCV1000R) was delighted to be the second fastest of the four RCV1000R riders. The Briton – who won last year’s Moto2 race at Le Mans – was 16th overall, just ahead of former 250 World Champion Hiroshi Aoyama (Drive 7 Aspar Honda RCV1000R) who was happy with his work today, only spoiled by a small error on his best lap in qualifying.
Karel Abraham (Cardion AB Motoracing Honda RCV1000R) was 18th quickest in qualifying after finding the ideal set-up a little too late to further improve his pace.
Jonas Folger (AGR Team, Kalex) continued his impressive adaption to the hard-fought Moto2 class, taking pole position for his fifth race in the category. Two weeks ago the former Moto3 race winner scored his first Moto2 podium at Jerez.
Folger’s late charge in this afternoon’s qualifying outing dislodged points leader Tito Rabat (Marc VDS Racing Team, Kalex) from pole by four thousandths of a second. The Honda-powered Moto2 pack is as tightly packed as ever, with pole position and 20th-placed Johann Zarco (AirAsia Caterham, Caterham Suter) separated by just 1.067 seconds.
Rabat, who scored three poles and two wins from the first four races, had led much of the session until he slid off at the slow-speed Garage Vert double right. He returned to the pits where his crew undertook repairs, but when he returned to the track he was unable to improve his time and slipped to second. Another former Moto3 winner, Luis Salom (Pons HP 40, Kalex), who scored his first Moto2 podium at last month’s Argentine GP, was third fastest, just 0.112 seconds from pole.
Mika Kallio (Marc VDS Racing Team, Kalex), who scored a start-to-finish victory from pole at Jerez, missed out on another front-row start by just less than four hundredths of a second today. The Finn shares the second row with Thomas Luthi (Interwetten Paddock, Suter) and Simone Corsi (NGM Forward Racing, Forward Kalex).
Grand Prix of the Americas victor Maverick Vinales (Pons HP 40, Kalex) heads row three in front of Ricard Cardus (Tech 3, Tech 3) and Sandro Cortese (Dynavolt Intact GP, Kalex).
Efren Vazquez (SaxoPrint-RTG Honda NSF250R) scorched to his first Grand Prix pole position this afternoon, giving Honda its second Moto3 pole position of the year. The Spaniard – currently third in the points standings – outpaced Jack Miller (KTM) in the final minutes, ending up 0.025 seconds ahead of the Australian. Alex Rins (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Honda NSF250RW) made it two Hondas on the front row, completing the outing 0.202 seconds behind Miller.
Alexis Masbou (Ongetta-Rivacold Honda NSF250R) is back to form at his hone race, following a difficult start to the season. He qualified fourth fastest, just 0.034 seconds off the front row, to make it three Hondas in the top four. The Frenchman and his crew adjusted the set-up of his NSF250R for this race, finding a new and promising direction that gives him the confidence to push the limits like he could last year. Masbou had moved into second place midway through the session, then lost the front and crashed at the Musee left-hander. Although he didn’t improve his lap time following the minor tumble, his earlier time was good enough to put him fourth.
Alex Marquez (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Honda NSF250RW) was seventh fastest and will head the third row of the grid tomorrow, alongside fellow NSF250R riders John McPhee (SaxoPrint-RTG Honda NSF250R) and Zulfahmi Khairuddin (Ongetta-AirAsia Honda NSF250R).
Tomorrow’s racing is followed by the Italian GP at Mugello on June 1.
|1||Marc MARQUEZ (Repsol Honda Team)||F|
|2||Pol ESPARGARO (Monster Yamaha Tech 3)||F|
|3||Andrea DOVIZIOSO (Ducati Team)||F|
|4||Stefan BRADL (LCR Honda MotoGP)||F|
|5||Valentino ROSSI (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP)||F|
|6||Jorge LORENZO (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP)||F|
|7||Alvaro BAUTISTA (GO & FUN Honda Gresini)||F|
|8||Aleix ESPARGARO (NGM Forward Racing)||O|
|9||Dani PEDROSA (Repsol Honda Team)||F|
|10||Bradley SMITH (Monster Yamaha Tech 3)||F|
|11||Andrea IANNONE (Pramac Racing)||F|
|12||Cal CRUTCHLOW (Ducati Team)||F|
|13||Nicky HAYDEN (Drive M7 Aspar)||O|
|14||Yonny HERNANDEZ (Emergy T.I. Pramac Racing)||F|
|15||Colin EDWARDS (NGM Forward Racing)||O|
* F=Factory option, O=Open category
|1||Jonas FOLGER (AGR Team)|
|2||Esteve RABAT (Marc VDS Racing Team)|
|3||Luis SALOM (Pons HP 40)|
|4||Mika KALLIO (Marc VDS Racing Team)|
|5||Thomas LUTHI (Interwetten Paddock Moto2)|
|6||Simone CORSI (NGM Forward Racing)|
|7||Maverick VIÑALES (Pons HP 40)|
|8||Ricard CARDUS (Tech 3)|
|9||Sandro CORTESE (Dynavolt Intact GP)|
|10||Sam LOWES (Speed Up)|
|11||Xavier SIMEON (Federal Oil Gresini Moto2)|
|12||Julian SIMON (Italtrans Racing Team)|
|13||Alex DE ANGELIS (Tasca Racing Moto2)|
|14||Franco MORBIDELLI (Italtrans Racing Team)|
|15||Dominique AEGERTER (Technomag carXpert)|
|1||Efren VAZQUEZ (SaxoPrint-RTG)|
|2||Jack MILLER (Red Bull KTM Ajo)|
|3||Alex RINS (Estrella Galicia 0,0)|
|4||Alexis MASBOU (Ongetta-Rivacold)|
|5||Niklas AJO (Avant Tecno Husqvarna Ajo)|
|6||Isaac VIÑALES (Calvo Team)|
|7||Alex MARQUEZ (Estrella Galicia 0,0)|
|8||John MCPHEE (SaxoPrint-RTG)|
|9||Zulfahmi KHAIRUDDIN (Ongetta-AirAsia)|
|10||Romano FENATI (SKY Racing Team VR46)|
|11||Karel HANIKA (Red Bull KTM Ajo)|
|12||Danny KENT (Red Bull Husqvarna Ajo)|
|13||Enea BASTIANINI (Junior Team Go & FUN Moto3)|
|14||Miguel OLIVEIRA (Mahindra Racing)|
|15||Niccolò ANTONELLI (Junior Team GO & FUN Moto3)|