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Marc Marquez takes fourth pole position from four races
Repsol Honda rider uses one tyre more than his rivals to set best time in qualifying for Spanish GP, clocking a new circuit record at Jerez. Dani Pedrosa will start from third on the grid.
Marc Marquez again made a statement of intent in qualifying for the Spanish Grand Prix. On Saturday at the Jerez circuit, the Repsol Honda rider took the best time in the afternoon shootout to make optimum use of the final 15 minutes. The reigning World Champion and his team opted to use three new soft tyres instead of the two utilised by his rivals, taking two trips to the pits. His reward for the gamble was a fourth pole position in as many races. He will be joined by teammate Dani Pedrosa on the front row, in third.
With a strategy devised in collaboration with his team, the current series leader broke Jorge Lorenzo's circuit record at Jerez that had stood since 2008 (when qualifying tyres were still permitted). His time of 1'38.120 placed him on pole for the Spanish GP, and drew him closer in the history books to Valentino Rossi -who took five consecutive poles back in 2002 when riding for Repsol Honda. Dani Pedrosa led the third free practice session, with Marquez third, was fifth in FP4 and finished the day with the third fastest qualifying time. His 1'38.630 lap puts him on the front row of the grid.
The fourth race of the season takes place tomorrow at 2pm local time.
Marc Marquez 1st 1:38.120 40 laps 177 km
"I am very happy with this pole position, as it was hard fought and I wasn't expecting it. We are suffering a little more here than at other tracks, but despite this we are still at the same level as Lorenzo and Dani [Pedrosa]. We changed our strategy at the last minute; I asked Santi [Hernandez] if it would be possible to use three soft tyres, and he said that it was. It was all last minute and I am satisfied with how it worked out, but we know that tomorrow is the important day. Jorge and, above all, Dani have a great pace."
Dani Pedrosa 3rd 1:38.630 43 laps 190 km
"We took a step forward with the bike setup today and also went better with the race tyres. In the qualifying session we tried to do as well as possible, but it is always difficult to put in a really fast lap. Tomorrow we will try to get a good start, then have a good race."
Lorenzo Scores Front Row for Home Grand Prix
Blazing sunshine and track temperatures of 50°C provided the background to a duel for pole position this afternoon in qualifying for tomorrows Gran Premio de España.
Movistar Yamaha MotoGPs local hero Jorge Lorenzo dominated 99% of the session, taking second at the end to secure his place on the front row of the grid for the race.
Lorenzo led the qualifying heat from his first timed lap, dropping immediately into the 138s with a 138.541 lap. He remained unchallenged, coming in for a change of rear tyre with eight minutes remaining and returning to the circuit in under a minute to continue his attack. He was unable to improve on his lap time, but again remained unchallenged until the last minute as rival Spaniard Marc Marquez took pole, just over four tenths ahead of him.
Nine time world champion Valentino Rossi was straight out in to the action behind Jorge Lorenzo, making a Yamaha one-two attack on the track. His first flying lap of 139.050 gave him initially second before dropping to third as the pace increased. He returned to the pits with eight minutes to go in fourth position. Following a change to the rear and front of the bike he was back on track with five minutes remaining to step up his pace. With three minutes left on the clock he dropped into the 138s with a 138.857 and looked safe for third on the grid until rival Dani Pedrosa jumped in front, moving him to fourth on the second row for tomorrows race.
Monster Yamaha Tech3 Team experienced a positive day of qualifying at the tight and twisty Circuito de Jerez after both riders qualified on the third row for tomorrows 27-lap sprint.
Pol Espargaro will contest the Grand Prix de Espana from 8th position on the grid after the Spanish rider produced a powerful and determined ride today in hot conditions in Jerez. The 22 year old rookie furthered his competitive streak during the opening races to complete FP3 with a top time of 1.39,530, ending in 9th position. This permitted him to qualify straight through to the Q2. He experienced slight issues yesterday due to having to relearn the relevant racing lines for a MotoGP bike, which differ from the Moto2 ones. Yet, today the Spanish rider showed true grit to clinch 8th position with a best lap time of 1.39.293, which was less than half a second behind multiple world champion and Factory Yamaha rider Valentino Rossi. The reigning Moto2 world champion who is growing ever confident in his race pace and ability, will be gunning for a strong finish tomorrow in his fourth MotoGP race aboard the Monster Yamaha Tech3 Team Yamaha YZR-M1, as he aims to build on his personal best result of 6th position in Texas.
Bradley Smith pulled off another top ten qualifying result to start tomorrows Spanish Grand Prix in 9th position. The British rider set a best time of 1.39,561, in FP3 this morning which was almost a second quicker than his final qualifying time last year and allowed him to progress immediately through to Q2 in sunny conditions at the Andalucian circuit. The Monster Yamaha Tech3 Team rider then gritted his teeth and worked hard to power over the finish line with a best lap of 1.39,390 in the final fifteen minute Q2 session with his Yamaha YZR-M1 and cement his starting position of 9th place. Smith remains resolute in battling for a top five position around the 4332-metre circuit for tomorrows 27-lap race.
NGM Forward Racing riders Aleix Espargaro and Colin Edwards will take the start of the Spanish GP respectively from the 5th and 11th positions of the starting grid. Both riders used at the best the free practice of the morning to work on the set up of their machine in preparation of the race, with Colin Edwards who set a superb 139.200, finishing in 5th place of the FP3 and Aleix Espargaro who worked on the race pace with hard tyres, closing with the 7th best lap time (139.267).
In the Qualifying Espargaro and Edwards gave their best to get the best possible result, with the Spaniard claiming the fifth position (139.007) and best open behind pole man Marc Marquez, Jorge Lorenzo, Dani Pedrosa and Valentino Rossi. A crash without consequences prevented Aleix to further improve his lap time.
It was the best qualifying session for Colin Edwards, who couldnt replicate his lap time of the morning, but despite this he finished with a very positive 11th position (139.814). Colin found a good set up on the technical track of Jerez and is confident for tomorrows race.
We tried our best to make the best lap time, but unfortunately with the second tyre I don't know why I it didn't feel the same, it felt a little more slippery which is why I didn't improve my lap. The goal was to stay in the first row; that was important. Obviously pole position would be better but the most important thing is to start well tomorrow, I think we have a good pace so we can definitely fight at the front. It will be important to stay close at the front for the first couple of laps, the rear tyre is going to drop a lot but I feel physically good as I did last year which will be very important for the race.
I wanted to try for the front row but I knew it would be very difficult. In all the practice and also this afternoon I wasn't very far from the top three and my lap time is good. Im quite satisfied because its the best qualifying and especially I feel good with the bike. We worked well in the practice and I have a good setting. Tomorrow I will try to do the maximum to stay with the top three. We still have to improve something with acceleration as with the high temperature we spin a lot. We will decide on the tyre tomorrow when we see the temperature.
Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Team Director
"So far we have done a good job and we are set for tomorrow, although we still have to think about the different tyres. We have a good pace and were able to do a long distance over FP4 to get important data. It will be a tough one, three very hot Spanish riders and Vale is also a real contender. Its going to be very physical, there are a number of great overtaking places on the track, including turn one and turn six so I expect a good race for fans to watch! Jorge made an impressive lap straight out of the pits. First and second row are good positions for the start. Were looking forward to tomorrow.
Today I am really pleased with the level of improvement we have made, and feel great about starting from 8th on the grid. My best time from FP2 was a 1.41, and finally I finished with a 1.39,2, so its clear to see how much of a leap forward we have made. I am improving race by race, and we found a really positive setting, which I am very comfortable with and it is allowing me to ride faster. The competition will be fierce tomorrow, but every race is different. This one will be quite tricky due to the conditions, but I am happy with my race pace and I really look forward to battling in front of my fans in my home country, even if we are completely set yet. I tried both tyre options over the weekend, but we have to wait for the weather tomorrow morning to make the final decision about which one we want to do the race with.
Today was a challenging day as there were a few issues which we werent fully able to amend, but I am pleased that I was still able to qualify inside the top ten again, and will be able to start on the third row despite our problems. During the free practice sessions here, I have spent time trying to solve the issue of the bikes feeling at the beginning of a race, and also my riding position. I concentrated on finding a solution, and rode with a full fuel load to try to test this situation. The crash yesterday didnt help anything at all, and with the contrasting conditions of the track, all of the data we collected wasnt very useful. Now we need to concentrate on a setup for tomorrow. My race pace is good, and I feel optimistic about a good result this weekend.
Im satisfied as we worked very well in the FP3 and FP4 in preparation of the race. I have a good pace and Im confident for tomorrow. It was a pity for the qualifying! I was lapping in 139.0 and I was missing a couple of tenths from Jorge and Valentino to be in front row so I pushed hard but I was at the limit and I lost the front. Im disappointed but I tried it! Its not easy to beat the official bikes but we will keep on trying. For tomorrow the tyres will be a key element. We will use the hard option, it is not so hard as we would have wanted but this is what we have, so Im not worried about it.
"Im happy with todays result. The bike was good already from the morning session. We sorted out the electronics and we improved a lot the set up of the machine. Im starting to understand more the bike and using the correct tyres I was comfortable and I could push as I wanted. In the qualifying we couldnt replicate the same strong performance, but the feeling was good so Im confident for the race. We are evaluating which tyre we will use in the race as this will be very important. With the hot temperatures, the machine spins a lot so tyres will be a key element.
NICKY HAYDEN MAKES Q2 SHOOTOUT FOR SECOND TIME IN A ROW
American rider to start from twelfth on the grid, one place ahead of his team-mate Hiroshi Aoyama.
Tomorrow's MotoGP race at Jerez looks like it could be the closest since the opening round in Qatar after a qualifying session that saw Jorge Lorenzo dominate on his Yamaha only to be usurped on the final lap by Marc Márquez's all-conquering Honda. The current World Champion has three wins from three so far this season and today he made it four pole positions from four with a late effort that saw him find four tenths of a second to clock a 1'38.120 and break the previous pole record set by Lorenzo back in 2008 (1'38.189). However, in terms of race pace both Lorenzo and Pedrosa are much closer to Márquez than their qualifying times might suggest and even Valentino Rossi will be hopeful of causing an upset tomorrow if he can make a good start.
Just like last Saturday in Argentina the DRIVE M7 Aspar pairing of Nicky Hayden and Hiroshi Aoyama battled hard to make it into the top two places in Q1 and secure a place in Q2, with the American making it thanks to a late charge on his final two laps. The Japanese also pushed hard in the final couple of laps but despite his incredible pace through the second sector of the Spanish track he lost vital time in T3 and had to settle for thirteenth place on the grid.
12th Nicky Hayden: "We managed to make a couple of improvements today that made the bike more balanced and more fun to ride. The track conditions change a lot from the morning to the afternoon and you have to really pay attention so that you don't get caught out. The team did a great job and we managed to get into Q2, which was our objective, but I am not completely happy with the performance of the front tyre. We tried the harder compound yesterday and I destroyed my leathers saving front-end crashes but the soft version is too soft for us. That limits our options so we had to be conservative in Q2. I was hoping to be closer to the factory prototypes here and to qualify further up but with the tyre situation we had to be too cautious in the second session. Anyway, in general I am happy, the bike is responding well and I think we are ready for the race."
13th Hiroshi Aoyama: "We worked hard this morning to confirm the set-up and I felt comfortable with the lower temperatures. Like yesterday the heat went up in the afternoon and the behaviour of the bike changed as a result so we made some changes to adapt. We put some fresh tyres in at the end and I pushed hard for a lap time to get myself into Q2 and even though I didn't manage it we have improved the lap time from yesterday so we can be satisfied because we are on the right path. We are getting faster every day, the bike is reliable and I feel more comfortable every time I ride it so we are seeing the results of our hard work. From yesterday to today we have improved the stability under braking and now we need to find some more corner speed. It has been a tough day with a lot of work to get through but our performance in qualifying was positive so I am happy."
BRADL SATISIFIED WITH HIS 7TH SPOT ON JEREZ GP GRID
Jerez, 3 May: this morning session at sweltering Jerez de la Frontera circuit saw LCR Honda rider Stefan Bradl setting the 6th fastest time which secured him the "access" to the QP2 session as estimated yesterday by the German. Bradl was pleased with his remarkable progression on the Iberian track that has been always tough for him since his debut in the premier class. The 24-year-old posted the 7th lap time on soft tyres (1'39.243) and will start from the third row followed by Smith and Espargaro.
Stefan: "I have tried to do my maximum in the qualifying because the target was to be in second row and we missed it for 0.021s only. So we can be happy because we did a good job on a race track that has been always very tough for me on a MotoGP bike. We improved a lot compared to the last two years and we have the possibility to end the race in the top five. This would be good for me and the Team and for the ranking. Tomorrow's common problem will be the tyre wear because of the hot temperatures but we have found a good pace on used tyres".
Marquez claims pole position and new lap record in scorching conditions at Jerez
Round 4: Spanish MotoGP? - Qualifying Practice
Circuito de Jerez, Saturday 3 May 2014
Bridgestone slick compounds available: Front: Soft, Medium & Hard; Rear: Extra-soft, Soft & Medium (Asymmetric)
Bridgestone wet tyre compounds available: Hard (Main), Soft (Alternative - front), Extra-hard (Alternative - rear)
Weather: FP3 - Dry. Ambient 20-23°C; Track 29-34°C (Bridgestone measurement)
FP4/QP - Dry. Ambient 27-28°C; Track 51-53°C (Bridgestone measurement)
An interesting qualifying strategy helped Repsol Honda's Marc Marquez claim his fourth successive pole position and set a new Circuit Best Lap of 1'38.120 in scorching conditions at Jerez.
Marquez's tactic to do three stints in QP2 using a new soft compound rear slick each time paid dividends, with the reigning World Champion able to set a time 0.421 seconds quicker than Movistar Yamaha MotoGP's Jorge Lorenzo, who was second quickest in qualifying. Third quickest was last year's Spanish Grand Prix race winner Dani Pedrosa whose personal best lap time was 1'38.630.
Conditions at Jerez were again dry and very hot, with a peak track temperature of 53°C during QP2; 2°C down on yesterday's maximum temperature. With the Jerez circuit notorious for becoming greasy in high temperatures, the provision of asymmetric rear slicks at Jerez for the first time this year ensured riders had enough grip to post extremely quick lap times in qualifying. Marquez's benchmark time in QP2 beat the six year-old Circuit Best Lap record for Jerez that was set by Jorge Lorenzo in 2008 on qualifying tyres.
Race tyre choice became clearer after many riders performed race simulations in FP4 today. The medium compound front slick was again the most popular option, while the hard compound front slick will also be used by some riders in tomorrow's race. Although hot track temperatures are forecast for tomorrow's race, all three rear slick options could be selected by riders for tomorrow's twenty-seven lap Spanish Grand Prix. The medium compound rear slick is the prevalent choice for the Factory Honda and Yamaha riders; the soft compound rear is likely to be used by the Ducati and Forward Yamaha riders, while the extra-soft rear slick is preferred by the other Open-class entrants.
The riders will have their final chance to decide on race tyre choice in tomorrow's twenty-minute Warm Up session at 0940 local time (GMT +1) before the MotoGP? race starts at 1400.
Masao Azuma - Chief Engineer, Bridgestone Motorsport Tyre Development Department
"We had similar weather conditions today, with a mild morning turning to very hot temperatures in the afternoon so the teams had a good understanding of how the tyres would behave today. In FP4, riders tried a lot of different tyre options to see what would work best for the race, and at this stage it looks like almost all compound options we brought to Jerez are viable race options. For the front tyre, both the medium and hard compound front slicks will feature in tomorrow's race. Given the high temperatures forecast for tomorrow, the soft compound rear slick for the Ducati and Open-class riders, and the medium compound rear slick for the Factory Honda and Yamaha appear to be the likely choice for the race. However, some Open-class riders did long runs on the extra-soft rear slick in FP4, so I think we will also see this option used for the race. The high performance of the new asymmetric rear slicks we developed for Jerez was evident today, with Marc able to beat the circuit best lap record from 2008 which was set on qualifying tyres."
Dovizioso qualifies on row 2 for tomorrow's Spanish GP, Crutchlow and Pirro further back on grid
Andrea Dovizioso has qualified in sixth place for the Spanish Grand Prix, the fourth round of the 2014 MotoGP World Championship, which will take place tomorrow at the Jerez de la Frontera circuit. The Ducati Team rider, who had concluded the three free practice sessions that give direct access into Q2 in eighth place, managed to take another couple of tenths off his time in the final qualifying session, using two extra-soft rear tyres. The Italian's second run powered him to sixth place, one second away from the top slot.
Day 2 of the Jerez action was not so positive for Cal Crutchlow, who only stepped back onto his GP14 yesterday after missing the Argentina GP due to an injury in his right hand he suffered at Austin. Battling against increasing pain due to effort and fatigue, the British rider tried to end the day with a decent performance, but had to settle for fourth in Q1, which meant that he did not go through to Q2. As a result Cal will start from row 5 in tomorrow's race.
Michele Pirro, the Ducati Test Team rider, qualified in seventeenth place after a positive morning when he lapped just outside the top 10. The Italian rider will start from the sixth row.
Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team #04) - 6th (1m39.222s)
"I am very happy with qualifying and the time that I did, even more so because I did it on my own. I think I really managed to get the best out of my bike in these very difficult conditions because the temperature is very high for the tyres we had available. I got an unexpected second row start and this will help us for the race, because Jerez is a narrow track, and in the early laps you can lose a lot of time if you don't start up at the front. I'm a bit worried for the race, because our pace is not so quick and above all there is a performance drop after several laps: when it's so hot, everything becomes more difficult for us. In my view, after the top 5 riders there will be a small group with a similar pace, and we'll have to fight it out with them in the race: starting from row 2 will surely help us."
Cal Crutchlow (Ducati Team #35) - 14th (1m39.849s)
"I am a bit disappointed with the end result and the qualifying position, but I think it was as to be expected for this weekend. We really struggled with the grip at the front and the rear of the bike, and I didn't have confidence to push with the bike as much as possible. When I tried I made some mistakes and was at my limit. However I tried my best but the times were very close and it was difficult to get through to Q1, I was disappointed about that. The hand is getting sorer every session so it's becoming difficult, but thanks also to the assistance the Clinica Mobile are giving me, I will try my best to do a good race tomorrow."
Michele Pirro (Ducati Team #51) - 17th (1m40.239s)
"This morning didn't go bad because I was close to the top 10, only that this afternoon we tried some new solutions and I was unable to improve. I only used one extra-soft tyre and perhaps this penalized me; maybe if I had used another I could have shaved off a few more vital tenths. For sure my grid position is not an easy one. It's a shame because throughout the weekend we had some pretty positive practice sessions. However my feeling with the GP14 is much better than it was in Argentina."