Marc Marquez 2nd on French grid, Dani Pedrosa 11th after crash
Saturday afternoon at Le Mans saw the grid for the French Grand Prix decided in qualifying. Repsol Honda Team rider Marc Marquez claimed the second fastest time of the session, giving him a place on the front row for the fifth time this season. His 1:32.416 lap was just 0.441s off the pole position time, set by Jorge Lorenzo.
Teammate Dani Pedrosa did not enjoy such a successful afternoon, suffering a crash when pushing for a top time. Fortunately, the Spaniard escaped unharmed by the fall, but did lose time as a result.
After making it back to the pits and mounting his second bike, Pedrosa undertook further laps but was unable to place higher than eleventh. His time was 1.134s down on the pole lap, and his grid position means that he will need to make a comeback tomorrow during the race.
“I was able to set a good lap today, but it wasn’t perfect. At first with the new tyre I found it hard to get the same feeling I had with used tyres and the bike moved about a lot when I tried to push more. At the end I changed my riding style a little and set two pretty good laps that helped me to fulfil my main objective, which was to get on the front row. I think the pace that I have isn’t bad, and in the last free practice I felt comfortable, although I’m still not quite as fast as Jorge [Lorenzo]. We’ll see what weather we have tomorrow and what the track temperature is for the race, and try to manage things as best we can.”
“Well I’m obviously disappointed with today’s result, my worst qualifying this year. There isn’t much to say; I lost the front and crashed out with my first bike and I couldn’t complete my second flying lap. With the second bike, I didn’t have the same feeling and I wasn’t able to improve my time. Anyway, my race pace may not be the best but it’s not the worst either so tomorrow we’ll try to make the right tyre choice and to start the race well.”