Marquez hangs on to claim “strange pole” despite small crash
Marc Márquez continued his steady progression in preparations for the French Grand Prix at Le Mans with pole position on Saturday afternoon. The work undertaken in the prior free practice sessions enabled the Repsol rider to have his Moto2 machine in top shape for the afternoon qualifying run, in which he recorded the best time despite suffering a small crash. The Spaniard will start from pole position for the third consecutive race.
In the final 45 minutes of the morning session, Márquez completed 18 laps of the French track with continuous improvements in his lap times. He went round the Le Mans circuit 18 times and was fourth at the end of the run, 0.242 down on leading rider Pol Espargaró. He spent a large part of the session experimenting with changes to the chassis and shock absorbers of his bike, preparing for the fight for pole position.
Rainfall at the end of the free practice session left a damp track in Moto3 and MotoGP, and the skies threatened to open with every passing minute. Thus, the Repsol rider decided to go for fast laps from the off, clocking a 1’37.710 that marked a new record for the class at Le Mans.
There were a couple of scares along the way, including a small crash from which Márquez escaped unscathed. That came on his ninth lap, when he lost the front on a slippery patch at the braking point for turn 8. A few knocks to the bike were smoothed out in the garage and the rider was able to get back on track with 15 minutes to go. However, there was no further opportunity for dry laps as rain made the provisional grid official.
Marc Márquez FP3 – 1:38.058, 18 laps, 75 km. QP – 1:37.710, 17 laps, 71 km.
“That was a strange pole, because it was raining at varying degrees of intensity throughout the session. It was always slightly spitting, which always leaves you guessing as to when to push. We got a fast lap out early, which was the important thing. I went out on new tyres around halfway through and could go even faster, but I was too late on the brakes on the corner —whilst I knew that I had run wide, I tried to keep the bike up and soon realised that I couldn’t.
It was just a scare in the end. I was able to pick up the bike, get it repaired and go out again. I went at a fast pace again and am confident about tomorrow”.
Source: Repsol Media