British Grand Prix, Silverstone: Qualifying roundup – MotoGP, Moto2, Moto3
Repsol Honda’s Marc Marquez set the fastest ever lap by a motorcycle around the legendary Silverstone Circuit to take his 28th career MotoGP™ pole position. The reigning MotoGP™ World Champion went under his 2013 pole record (2’00.691) on his very first flying lap to lay down a marker to the rest of the field at the Octo British Grand Prix.
The Spaniard then went even quicker on his second run to set a 2’00.234 in near perfect conditions (Track temp. 33˚C) as all of the riders made use of their softer option tyres. Marquez had earlier topped FP4 by almost a second, and carried his pace into Qualifying to finish 0.288s ahead of Lorenzo.
Movistar Yamaha’s Jorge Lorenzo had earlier topped FP2 & FP3 and had been touted as the favourite for pole when the session started. The Spaniard had shown blistering pace throughout the weekend, and he too went under the old pole record on his way to claiming second, his 9th front row start of the season.
Dani Pedrosa (+0.482s) set his fastest time on his first flying lap to complete an all-Spanish front row. Pedrosa was in second when everyone returned to the pits for fresh rubber, but could not improve on his time but it was still good enough for third.
Movistar Yamaha’s Valentino Rossi (+0.713s) will have his work cut out come Sunday’s race after he could only manage to qualify on the middle of the front row in fifth. The Italian improved his time from practice by over a second, but still found himself 0.4s behind his teammate and main title rival Lorenzo.
Monster Yamaha Tech 3’s Pol Espargaro (+0.797s) was the leading Satellite rider in fifth, as he equalled his best qualifying performance of the season (Assen). His teammate Bradley Smith (+0.906s) had been third on the combined timesheets after FP3, but will start the race from the back of the second row as the leading British rider in sixth.
Smith’s compatriot Scott Redding (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) pulled off his best qualifying performance since Austin to start from the head of the third row in seventh. Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda) made it a good day for the home fans as they saw three British riders on the front three rows of the grid as he secured eighth.
Ducati Team’s Andrea Iannone completes the third row ahead of the two men who made it through from Q1, Aleix Espargaro (Team Suzuki Ecstar) and Yonny Hernandez (Octo Pramac Racing). Hernandez left it late to split the two Factory Suzuki’s at the top of the timesheets in Q1 and surprise Maverick Viñales who thought he had done enough to progress. The Spaniard was forced to watch as the Columbian pulled off a sensational last lap to deny him passage to Q2.
Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team) completes the fourth row, ahead of Viñales, with Stefan Bradl impressing on only his third outing on the Aprilia Racing Team Gresini RS-GP in 13th.
Forward Racing’s Loris Baz will start from 15th as the leading Open class rider, with Australian Jack Miller (LCR Honda) the leading Open Honda rider in 16th. The two Aspar MotoGP Team Honda’s of Eugene Laverty and Nicky Hayden will start from 19th and 21st respectively, with the rookie Laverty out-qualifying his more experienced teammate for the seventh time this season.
Speed Up Racing’s Sam Lowes pulled off an incredible record-breaking lap to take his third pole position of the season at the Octo British Grand Prix to the delight of the home fans.
The British rider was forced to push his bike back to the pits after running out of fuel during the session, but responded brilliantly. Lowes managed to get back out with five minutes remaining and stayed calm to set a sensational 2’06.345, destroying Takaaki Nakagami’s pole record (2’07.186) from 2013 in the process.
Paginas Amarillas HP40’s Alex Rins (+0.058s) had been quickest after practice and thought he had secured pole with only seconds left on the clock. The rookie Spaniard had gone under the pole record in FP3 and went even quicker in qualifying but even he had no response to Lowes pace. Rins eventually had to settle for second, his fifth front row start of the season.
Moto2™ championship leader, Ajo Motorsport’s Johann Zarco, completes a front row that was separated by just 0.074s as the top six all went under Nakagami’s previous pole record time.
EG 0,0 Marc VDS’s Tito Rabat (+0.243s) finished the session in fourth but suffered a nasty looking highside on his very last lap. The Spaniard was taken to the Medical Centre grasping his right knee after losing the rear and taking out Dominique Aegerter in the process, but was later declared fit.
Derendinger Racing Interwetten’s Thomas Luthi (+0.456s) will start from fifth, ahead of Takaaki Nakagami (+0.494s) on the Idemitsu Honda Team Asia Kalex in sixth, with AGR Team’s Jonas Folger in seventh. Lorenzo Baldassari (Forward Racing), Alex Marquez (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) and Sandro Cortese (Dynavolt Intact GP) complete the top ten.
Estrella Galicia 0,0’s Navarro left it until the last lap of the session to set a 2’12.440 to annihilate the previous pole record (Alex Rins – 2’13.112 – 2013) in ideal conditions at Silverstone.
Navarro finished 0.539s ahead of Red Bull KTM Ajo’s Karel Hanika to claim his first pole position in Moto3™ and follows on from his career best result of fifth last time out in Brno. Hanika took advantage of a tow from the Spaniard to finish in second and start from the front row for the third time in five races.
Leopard Racing’s Danny Kent (+0.604s) normally prefers to set his flying laps on his own, but even the man leading the Moto3™ standings found himself searching for a tow. With three long straights at Silverstone the slipstream can be worth up to a second and the final moments of the session saw an intriguing game of cat and mouse develop between the top riders. Kent had led for most of the session but could not find anyone to follow in the frantic final moments and had to settle for third, completing the front row.
Kent’s teammate Efren Vazquez (+0.684s) will start from the head of the second row, ahead of RBA Racing Team’s Isaac Viñales (+0.704s). Viñales was announced as a permanent replacement for Niklas Ajo in the team after impressing while substituting for the injured Ana Carrasco recently.
SAXOPRINT RTG’s Alexis Masbou (+0.1.006s) completes the second row ahead of the man second in the championship standings, Enea Bastianini (Gresini Racing Team Moto3).
Romano Fenati (Sky Racing Team VR46) was languishing down in 21st with minutes remaining before he improved to end the session in eighth with the Red Bull KTM Ajo duo of Miguel Oliveira and Brad Binder completing the top ten.
Scotsman John McPhee (SAXOPRINT RTG) finished in 12th, with Maria Herrera (Husqvarna Factory Laglisse) in 14th ahead of the leading Mapfre Team Mahindra of Francesco Bagnaia in 15th.
British wildcards Taz Taylor (RS Racing) and Luke Hedger (FPW Racing) will start from the back of the grid in 35th and 36th respectively.