Misano MotoGP: Lorenzo On Pole, Rossi Frustrated, Marquez Pulls A Boner & Then Has Eye Problem


MotoGP Press Office:

Five-time World Champion sets a new record to make it four Misano poles in five years as Marquez amps up the drama with a crash

Jorge Lorenzo (Ducati Team) broke his own 2016 pole lap record at Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli in an adrenaline-fuelled qualifying on the Adriatic, searing around the venue in a 1:31.629 to lower his own fastest laptime and secure Ducati’s first pole at the venue since 2008. Jack Miller (Alma Pramac Racing) put in a stunner at his team’s home race to take second and qualify as top Independent Team rider, with Maverick Viñales (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) locking out the front row after a last lunge for the front.

One key name missing from that trio? Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team), top qualifier this season so far, did not make it onto the front row – he crashed. Lorenzo’s ominous form was certainly a key headline but the drama for the Championship leader lit up the session. Crashing on his second run in a relatively fast lowside, the number 93 was straight to his feet without pause for thought and sprinting to get a lift back to the pits. Once back in the paddock on the back of a scooter, he hit the ground running again to run through his Repsol Honda garage from front to back, straight back on his other machine and heading back out. Could he do another ‘Texas 2015’ style pole dash?

The first sector looked like it might it be possible as it lit up red, but the reigning Champion then lost some time and it wasn’t to be. So he’ll line up fifth – his worst qualifying in the premier class at the venue – and he’ll have some serious company in the form of Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team), who’s just alongside him in fourth.

Behind Dovizioso and Marquez, Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda Castrol) was sixth and completes the second row, suffering a low-drama crash near the end of the session. And the Brit broke some local hearts, with Valentino Rossi (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) pushed down to head up the third row.

Rossi has had a weekend of ups and downs so far at his home venue, just making it into that all-important top ten on Friday and continuing to work hard on Saturday to get race ready. In qualifying the rider from Tavullia was hovering around the second row, before just losing out in that last minute shuffle. Row 3 is completed by last year’s podium finisher Danilo Petrucci (Alma Pramac Racing) and fellow Independent Team rider Johann Zarco (Monster Yamaha Tech 3).

Alex Rins (Team Suzuki Ecstar) was tenth fastest and top Hamamatsu machine after teammate Andrea Iannone just failed to make it through to Q2 – he starts P13 – with two-time Misano winner Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda Team) in P11. Franco Morbidelli (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) completes the top 12.

Behind Iannone, wildcard compatriot Michele Pirro (Ducati Test Team) took P14 after a crash hampered his chances in Q1, and Alvaro Bautista (Angel Nieto Team) completed the top 15.

So that’s it for the premier class on Saturday. A three-time winner on pole, a dark horse with nothing to lose alongside him and a man who hasn’t won for a year make for an incredible front row – with everything to play for. Marquez and Dovizioso lurk close behind too, and the ‘Doctor’ can never be counted out on race day – especially considering his incredible support around Misano. Who will emerge from the melee ahead? The lights go out at 14:00 (GMT +2).

 

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Ducati

 

Another fantastic pole position for Lorenzo in San Marino GP qualifying. Dovizioso starts from row 2 with Pirro qualifying on row 5

Two weeks after his Silverstone pole, Jorge Lorenzo has done it once again at the Misano Adriatico circuit by setting a new outright track record during the second qualifying session. His time of 1’31.629 means the Spanish rider has now set three poles this season, taking the Ducati Team up to a total of 40 pole positions in the Italian manufacturer’s history in MotoGP.

A second row start goes to Andrea Dovizioso, who finished fourth at the end of Q2 with a time of 1’32.003 while Michele Pirro, entered as a wild-card at Misano with the Desmosedici GP of the Ducati Test Team, crashed during Q1 and had to settle for 14th on the grid and a row 5 start.

The San Marino GP, which will be held over a distance of 27 laps, gets underway tomorrow at 14.00 CET.

Jorge Lorenzo (Ducati Team #99) – 1st (1’31.629)
“I’m very pleased and proud of this second successive pole position, my third of the season, because it confirms that we are working really well, that we’ve improved a lot of details and now we have at our disposal a competitive bike that allows us to set times like the one today at Misano. I was already impressed by the time set on my first run with the medium tyre, and I was in doubt whether or not to also try the soft one, but in the end we fitted it on my third run and I was able to get my time down even more and set the new track record. As well as my good feelings, I think that tomorrow’s race will be a really tough and physical battle and it will be important to make the right choice of tyres to be fast and consistent.”

Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team #04) – 4th (1’32.003)
“All in all, it was a very positive day, both this morning and in the afternoon. Unfortunately, in qualifying I was unable to do a perfect lap because I just wasn’t smooth enough. Pity, because the bike was fast and so we could have done better. For tomorrow we have a good race pace and we are in the leading group. As so often happens, it’ll be the small details that make all the difference because there are at least four or five riders who can fight for the podium and the win tomorrow.”

Michele Pirro (Ducati Test Team #51) – 14th (1’32.624)
“I’m disappointed because I couldn’t get into Q2, even though I had the potential to do a good time. Unfortunately, I crashed while I was trying to shave off a few tenths, but in general I’m getting up to speed again and when I have the opportunity to lap well, I’m improving all the time. Now we’ve got a really great bike, and I only have to try and get the best out of it seeing as I haven’t had a chance to race it in the last few months. Tomorrow I’ll try and do a consistent race and keep up a good pace seeing as in the FP4 session I was more or less on the same pace as the leading group.”

 

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LCR Honda

 

After heavy overnight rain, Crutchlow was already more or less assured of his spot in Q2 and went fifth fastest in the morning’s FP3 session on a drying track. The 32-year-old was quick again in FP4 before a fall at turn 14, but always pushing for a spot on the first or second rows in Q2. Eventually he had to settle for sixth position after going down when pushing hard on his final lap of the session.

Cal Crutchlow – 6th
(1’32.025 – lap 6 of 7)

“Obviously I’m a little bit disappointed. I probably took the wrong attitude on the last lap, I passed the flag with two seconds to go – I timed it perfectly – and one tenth better would have put me on the front row, but I thought I could go close to Lorenzo and it lasted three seconds into the lap! It was my own fault, I out-braked myself, but we were really struggling with the front tyre as the hard option hasn’t got enough grip on the left-hand side and the medium option is too soft on the right”.

“We have to take the positives from today, which were that we were fast in FP3 and FP4 on the used tyres and I think I have the pace to go with them tomorrow, although Lorenzo seems to have the advantage at the moment. Overall I’m pleased with a place on the second row as it looked like I was going to get knocked on to the third row. It’s really close and I’m looking forward to the race tomorrow.”

 

Aprilia

 

ESPARGARÓ AND REDDING TO START FROM THE SIXTH AND SEVENTH ROW IN THE GP OF SAN MARINO AND THE RIMINI RIVIERA

Neither Aleix Espargaró nor Scott Redding went through to the Q2 qualifying session and tomorrow they will start respectively from the sixth and seventh row in the race on the Misano track, the thirteenth round of the MotoGP Championship season.

The two placements are the fruit of the results achieved in the first qualifying session, where Aleix finished sixth with a time of 1’33.084 (just over six tenths from second place, which would have qualified him to go through to the second session), so sixteenth in the overall standings and Scott finished eleventh, twenty-first on the starting grid, with a time of 1’33.572.

ALEIX ESPARGARO’
“If we look at the times, I was faster than last year, but not enough because our rivals improved even more, so I am certainly not happy with the result today. We struggled in all the sessions and I do not have the solution to solve these problems. The problem does not arise only on the flying lap, but it also has to do with pace. I am really struggling to ride and this becomes demanding over race distance. In any case, we will try to take home the best possible result tomorrow.”

SCOTT REDDING
“Today we have not been able to improve as much as we had hoped. “The cold that prevents me from breathing doesn’t help, especially in the afternoon the situation got much worse. We have to analyse the setup changes well to select a package with the best possible characteristics. It’s hard to make predictions for tomorrow, a lot will depend on the pace of the opponents”.

 

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MOVISTAR YAMAHA SECURE FIRST AND THIRD ROW IN CLOSE MISANO QUALIFYING

Movistar Yamaha MotoGP’s Maverick Viñales put in his best lap of the weekend so far when it counted most, right at the end of today’s Q2 session. His strong final lap earned him a front row start at tomorrow’s Gran Premio Octo di San Marino e della Riviera di Rimini. Teammate Valentino Rossi held on to a place on the second row of the grid for a while, but ultimately missed out by just 0.003s when he was pushed to seventh place.

 

Misano Adriatico (Italy), 8th September 2018

Movistar Yamaha MotoGP’s Maverick Viñales saved his best effort for last in today’s 15-minute Q2 shoot-out to secure third place on the starting grid for tomorrow’s Gran Premio Octo di San Marino e della Riviera di Rimini. Teammate Valentino Rossi was looking competitive in the early stages of Q2, holding on to a second-row start, but ended the session in seventh place.

Viñales showed he’s feeling competitive in the dry during FP4, which he ended in first place. Following this ego-boost, he was eager in Q2 to get a hot lap in but soon realised the first tyre wasn’t working for him. He placed fourth on his opening lap but dropped to eighth place as other riders completed their initial flying laps.

After two tries the Spaniard hurried back to the box for a fresh tyre and with a little more than five minutes left on the clock headed out again, determined to show his speed. On his next attempt he moved up to fifth place, but as the pace quickened towards the end of the session he fell back to seventh. However, the youngster had one more trick up his sleeve and produced a 1’31.950s lap by riding three personal best sectors on S2, S3 and S4. This put him in third place, on the front row of the grid, 0.321s from first.

Rossi‘s first run also didn‘t go entirely to plan. He left the box looking for some clear space on track to put on a show for his fans, but they had to be patient as his first hot lap got cancelled. He appeared in fifth place on the timing screens after his second flying lap and he went straight back to the box.

The Italian returned to the fray with more than six minutes left, entering a half empty track as at that point many other riders were swapping tyres. He put his head down and climbed up to fourth on his next try, but soon was back in sixth. He kept pushing but was unable to improve on his 1’32.028s lap, 0.399s from pole, and finished in seventh place as his teammate made a late charge. The local hero will start tomorrow’s race from the third row of the grid, missing out on the second row by just 0.003s.

MASSIMO MEREGALLI
TEAM DIRECTOR

We made good progress in the dry today, also due to the track conditions that have been improving session by session. Maverick secured first place in the FP4 session, so he entered Q2 with confidence and secured the first row. It‘s a pity that Valentino will be starting from seventh place, especially considering that the margins in today’s Q2 session were very small, with 0.078s making the difference between starting from the first or from the third row. The most important thing we take away from today is that the riders are feeling confident for tomorrow. With both riders we still have to decide on the tyre choice for the race. Unfortunately, the tyre data we gained during the Misano test doesn‘t apply to the current conditions. As usual, it will be important to use the last 20 minutes of practice in tomorrow‘s Warm Up to the fullest to finalise our package before the race. We expect it to be a very entertaining show.

MAVERICK VIÑALES

It’s nice to be back and have the chance to start the race from the front row. I think we began the weekend really well, so we have a good rhythm for tomorrow and the bike is working well. We need to make some adjustments in a few areas, but I’m really happy, honestly. The work we’ve done since the Misano test is helping, I feel better with the bike. I think my lap time today could have been a little bit faster, because on the first tyre I didn’t feel so great, it was very slippery. This gave me less confidence for the second tyre, but I’m actually pleased. I did my best lap on the third try and we still have some room for improvement for tomorrow. I haven’t decided on a race tyre yet, let’s see tomorrow. The soft or the medium, I don’t know what I’m going to do. I’m fast on both, so that’s something pretty important. Another thing is that the team is working good and I actually feel really grateful because we got the feeling back again. I can push on the bike and they are understanding my feelings, and that’s great.

VALENTINO ROSSI

It‘s a great shame, because even second place is less than one tenth of a second away. It‘s unbelievable, we‘re very, very close. I did a good lap, but not a perfect one, unfortunately. I made a mistake and it cost me the first and second row. Starting from the third row is more difficult, for sure, but on the other hand, this afternoon in FP4 we improved the balance of the bike and I feel better. I‘m not so bad, I have a good pace, also on a used tyre it‘s quite good. It looks like I need two tenths more if I want to try to go for the podium, because we have a minimum of five other riders with the same pace. We have to work this night to try to understand how we can make another little step.

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Tech 3

Zarco to launch Misano GP from third row – Syahrin primed for catch up

In challenging conditions Monster YamahaTech3’s Johann Zarco showed his incredible talent at the Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli this morning by taking over the top with his last flying lap and lowering his best lap from Friday to make it directly to Q2. He concluded the all-important Qualifying just 0.621 seconds behind the new pole position record.

In the meantime, Hafizh Syahrin did some great steps in today’s FP3, imroving on his FP1 time by incredible 1.786 seconds, but struggled to find his strong feeling again during the short Q1 session in the afternoon and has to tackle his 12thever MotoGP race at 14.00 local time on Sunday from the ninth row of the grid.
Rider1 2018

Johann Zarco

Position: 9th – Time: 1’32.250 – Laps: 8

“Overall, it has been a good Saturday. I’m especially happy about this morning when I was able to make it directly into Q2 and I saw again how important it is to keep your energy in order to have the best possible Qualifying. My lap time has been incredible today, I also improved my personal one. In the end I start in ninth position and it is really difficult to do better. We are not so far and I think that the work, we are doing is positive, so I keep that in mind and stay strong for Sunday.”

 

Hafizh Syahrin

Position: 25th – Time: 1’34.080 – Laps: 8

“The Qualifying was very difficult for me after we had a great third and fourth Free Practice today. I wanted to do a race simulation in FP4, but I had a small crash in turn six with the bike I had the best feeling with. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to use my favorite machine in Q1, although we tried to use the same setting, but it didn’t work as we wanted. It’s a pity as I really wanted to improve my position. Now I need to start quite far back, so I know that I need to make a good start, try to deliver a decent race performance and work on this in the Warm Up tomorrow morning.”

 

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Repsol Honda

Gran Premio di San Marino e della Riviera di Rimini
MotoGP 2018 Round 13
Close second-row start for Marquez in Misano, Pedrosa on 4th row

Marc Marquez set the fifth-fastest time at the end of an eventful qualifying session in which he crashed his RC213V while fighting for a front-row start, rushed to the garage, jumped on his second bike, and then entered the battle again.

In the end, Marc was unable to better his best lap of 1’32.016”, which was just 0.387” off the new pole record set by Jorge Lorenzo, and tomorrow will still start from a good position on the second row.

Dani Pedrosa faced a mixed qualifying day. After missing the passage to Q2 this morning, he set the fastest time in Q1 but was unable to improve on that time in the final session of the day. Dani will start tomorrow’s San Marino GP, which begins at 2 p.m. local time, from the fourth row of the grid.

Marc Marquez
5th 1’32.016

“On my second flying lap in qualifying I was pushing hard when I lost the front and crashed. I got angry at myself as I knew I could improve a lot—I had a margin. I rushed back to the garage so fast that only when I jumped on the bike did I realize I had something in my eye, and then I lost a bit my concentration. I did a few mistakes and I wasn’t very precise, so I didn’t make a perfect lap, even if the adrenaline was there. Anyway, now we must wait for tomorrow’s race, because our rhythm is good, I feel comfortable on the bike, and we did a good FP4 session on used tyres. Crash aside, today everything went very well. Of course, being on the second row means you must pay close attention on the first lap but tomorrow we’ll try and fight for the podium.”


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