San Marino Grand Prix, Misano: Qualifying roundup – MotoGP, Moto2, Moto3

 In MotoGP, News



Movistar Yamaha MotoGP’s Jorge Lorenzo took a record-breaking pole position at Misano World Circuit, beating his own pole lap from 2015 and putting in the first ever 1:31 lap of the Adriatic venue. Teammate Valentino Rossi took P2 on home turf, with a last dash from Silverstone winner Maverick Viñales (Team Suzuki Ecstar) enough to lock out the front row.

The skies over the Riviera di Rimini have proved a stark contrast to those above Silverstone circuit for qualifying in the #BritishGP, with the sun high in the Italian sky and the grandstands shining their own gleaming yellow. With FP4 commanded by home hero Rossi, it was however his teammate who staged the first real challenge for pole as Lorenzo put in the first low 1:32 effort of the session.

Lorenzo wan’t done there, as the reigning champion then put in a new lap record to beat his own from 2015, laying down a marker at a track that – whilst behind enemy lines – has proven one of the Mallorcan’s best. After just missing the 1:31 bracket in that first run, the ‘Spartan’ then came back out and lowered the lap time once again to put in 1:31.868 and smash the record. The pole at Misano is his 64th in the world championship – taking him one above Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) and Rossi in the record books.

Rossi put in a great lap in the second run of the session to go P2, before Race Direction cancelled the lap time after the Italian had exceeded track limits. With one shot left, the Italian put in another, legal lap and took back his place on the front row – the only man to get within half a second of his teammate on pole.

Maverick Viñales moved onto the front row to knock Marquez back on his second run, as the paddock’s most recent victor took his Team Suzuki Ecstar team back to the front once again; the warmer temperatures not proving as difficult for the Suzuki as feared.

Marquez was the closest challenger after the initial run of fast laps, but with visors cleaned and final preparations for the last run made was unable to set a better time in the second half of the session and will begin P4. Joining him on the second row are the Ducati Team duo of Michele Pirro, replacing Andrea Iannone, and Andrea Dovizioso.

LCR Honda’s Cal Crutchlow heads up the third row as top Independent Team rider from Repsol Honda Team’s Dani Pedrosa, with Aleix Espargaro (Team Suzuki Ecstar) and Pol Espargaro (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) completing the top ten.

Hector Barbera (Avintia Racing) and Alvaro Bautista (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini) were P11 and P12 as the last of the Q2 participants.

28 laps of Misano now await the grid, with the curtain up at 14:00 local time (GMT+2) as Marquez and Lorenzo face down local legend Rossi in the Italian’s backyard.



Johann Zarco (Ajo Motorsport) came out fighting in qualifying at Misano World Circuit, as the Frenchman took pole at the Italian venue after being outpaced throughout the weekend by Takaaki Nakagami (Idemitsu Honda Team Asia), who lines up P2. Lorenzo Baldassarri (Forward Racing) completed the front row as the hot afternoon temperatures bore down on the intermediate class.

After Nakagami had proved the man to beat going into qualifying as the Japanese rider proved the only member of the exclusive 1:37 club throughout the weekend, it was Baldassarri and Zarco who first got into that bracket as Moto2™ qualifying got underway. Championship contender Alex Rins (Paginas Amarillas HP 40) was initially just inside the top ten as he struggled somewhat with his healing collarbone, with fellow title rival Sam Lowes (Federal Oil Gresini Moto2) showing a sudden improvement as the Brit pushed up into P4.

Zarco, who won at the venue in 2015, set himself up well to repeat the feat in 2016 as the Frenchman came out the blocks quickest to top the session and will start from his fourth pole position of the year. Putting in an immediate 1:37 and consistently lapping in the same bracket, the reigning champion looks ominous once again as he looks to defend his 10-point lead in the standings.

Nakagami put up a good fight to try and topple the Frenchman at the top, but found himself less than a tenth back on the Ajo Motorsport rider’s lap time by the end of qualifying, making it the only session the Assen winner has not led at the San Marino GP so far. With one of his best efforts also his last, he will be chasing the win on Sunday – and unlike Zarco counts on no pressure in the championship standings.

Lorenzo Baldassarri got off to a storming start and by the end of the session proved the only man left with the chance to take pole from the reigning champion, but the Italian just lost out as the lap went on and will have to settle for P3; a front row at his home GP nevertheless an impressive showing from the Forward Racing rider.

Sam Lowes recovered from some tough sessions at the San Marino GP to qualify fourth and keep his title hopes alive, with second Italian on the block Franco Morbidelli (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS) completing the top five. Silverstone winner Tom Luthi (Garage Plus Interwetten) had a solid session despite a wobble in the final minutes and will start P6, ahead of Dynavolt Intact GP rider Sandro Cortese.

Title challenger Alex Rins, who is riding for only the second race weekend since a collarbone break in training, will start from P8, with Italtrans Racing Team’s Mattia Pasini impressing once again in P9. Hafizh Syahrin (Petronas Raceline Malaysia) completed the top ten, with Jonas Folger (Intact Dynavolt GP) and Alex Marquez (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS) just pushed out into P11 and P12 respectively.

Moto2™’s pivotal race in Misano begins at 12:20 local time (GMT+2), with only ten points in it at the top of the table and six races remaining.



Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Ajo) stole pole position at Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli in the final seconds of the session, with the South African heading a qualifying freight train before timing it perfectly to take back P1 over the line on his final lap. 2015 pole sitter and victor Enea Bastianini (Gresini Racing Moto3) was second fastest after proving the pacesetter on Friday, with Sky Racing Team VR46 rookie Nicolo Bulega qualifying in P3.

With perfect blue skies at Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli, the classic Moto3™ qualifying waiting game saw everyone put their banker lap in before returning to the pits ahead of the final run, with all eyes focused on who would blink first.

Brad Binder spent his FP3 consistently putting in the 1:42s and was wise to the game as the majority of his rivals sat it out and waited for the championship leader to move. Heading out and finding himself at the head of a freight train as riders looked for a tow, Binder then backed off and found himself just enough space to go for one last run – taking pole just at the flag to edge ever closer to that championship trophy.

Bastianini followed Binder across the line with some well-judged track tactics, and similarly set his best lap on his last, ending up with the second fastest lap as Moto3™ return to the scene of his 2015 pole position and maiden race win. The ‘Beast’ has shown fantastic pace all weekend and was the pacesetter on Friday as well as closest to Binder in qualifying.

Nicolo Bulega shot up the timing screens to take a provisional pole before the last run began, and then just found his time beaten by Binder and Bastianini. The Sky Racing Team VR46 rider has had a pole position in his rookie year at Jerez, but will have to settle for P3 at his home GP. Teammates Lorenzo Dalla Porta and Andrea Migno had a more difficult session, recording lap times that saw them end the session in P17 and P22 respectively.

Jakub Kornfeil (Drive M7 SIC Racing Team) had fantastic pace to take P4, just ahead of late crasher and title contender Jorge Navarro (Estrella Galicia 0,0), with his compatriot and teammate Aron Canet just behind with the sixth fastest lap of the session. Philipp Oettl (Schedl GP Racing), Hiroki Ono (Honda Team Asia) and Juanfran Guevara (RBA Racing Team) were the next quickest in QP, with local rookie Fabio Di Giannantonio (Gresini Racing Moto3) completing the top ten.

Joan Mir (Leopard Racing) was down in P26 for some of the session as the team worked on his bike, before finally getting back out in the last fifth of the practice and pushing to move up the order – eventually ending up sixteenth fastest despite his morning pace. Francesco Bagnaia (Gaviota Mahindra Aspar) was another rider out of position in P21 by the time the final run began, as the Silverstone polesitter faced a mountain to climb but was unable to improve in Mahindra’s 100th race, sliding down to P25 on the timesheets. In addition, Bagnaia’s teammate Jorge Martin suffered a crash in qualifying that saw the Spaniard break two bones in his foot, and the Brno podium finisher will sadly be forced to sit out the rest of the San Marino GP; hoping to return to action in Aragon.

Due to the nature of the Moto3™ qualifying session, Race Direction are expected to apply penalties that may affect the grid before the race.

Every Moto3™ race of 2016 so far has been a classic, with Misano World Circuit ready to host another when the lights go out on Sunday at 11:00 local time (GMT+2).



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