Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) played qualifying to perfection in the Gran Premio d’Italia Oakley as the reigning Champion struck late to take his second pole position at Mugello and reassert some authority over ever-impressive rookie Fabio Quartararo (Petronas Yamaha SRT), setting a new lap record in the process. Nevertheless, Frenchman Quartararo will start his first premier class race at Mugello from second as both top Yamaha and top Independent Team rider, with Danilo Petrucci (Mission Winnow Ducati) completing the front row and flying the tricolore after a difficult day for a couple of his compatriots on home turf.
It was a star-studded Q1 to begin deciding the grid, with Valentino Rossi (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP), Andrea Dovizioso (Mission Winnow Ducati) and Jorge Lorenzo (Repsol Honda Team) all fighting it out to move through, and it was a nail-biter of a finale – for Dovizioso at least. On his final flying lap it was all or nothing for the 2017 Mugello winner, but he made it count to top wildcard and teammate Michele Pirro by just thousandths – knocking out Alex Rins (Team Suzuki Ecstar), who therefore starts 13th. But that’s better reading than it is for Lorenzo and Rossi, who line up in P17 and P18 respectively after not making it out of Q1 – 13 premier class wins at Mugello on Row 6.
In Q2 then, Dovizioso had another shot – but it was Marquez who was back in the driving seat. After getting followed by Pirro the reigning Champion decided to turn the tables on Ducati in the latter half of the session and actually followed key rival Dovizioso on what would turn out to be his record-breaking pole lap – getting a good tow from the Borgo Panigale machine as the flag came out and able to depose Quartararo. The Frenchman topped FP4 but couldn’t quite eke out those final two tenths, and he didn’t get a tow to the line…
Petrucci then is the sole home hero on the front row, and he’s had some serious pace all weekend. Searching for his first win and with previous podium experience at the venue, he could be one to watch and will be joining Quartararo on the mission to overtake Marquez off the line and convert pace into podium.
Franco Morbidelli (Petronas Yamaha SRT) heads an all-Independent Team Row 2 ahead of Jack Miller (Pramac Racing) and Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda Castrol), with Maverick Viñales (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) in P7 and Friday’s fastest, rookie Francesco Bagnaia (Pramac Racing), having a solid qualifying in P8 – just ahead of Dovizioso, who enjoyed a less solid day at the office. ‘DesmoDovi’ will need quite a start to try and get in the fight at the front from the off on Sunday – and it’s his 300th Grand Prix.
Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda Idemitsu) locks out the top ten, ahead of Pol Espargaro (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) after another automatic graduation to Q2 for the impressive Spaniard. Pirro slots into 12th as he starts his 100th GP, just ahead of the aforementioned Rins – one of many big names looking to launch forward quick style when the lights go out.
Mugello is always an incredible event, but with such a tantalising grid and a mix of searing ambition and veteran experience on every row, 2019 will surely be something special. Don’t miss the premier class race at 14:00 local time (GMT+2).
Pace and potential continues at Mugello with Espargaro 11th on the MotoGP grid
MotoGP 2019 – Round 6, Mugello (ITA)
Red Bull KTM maintained their exciting level of competitiveness in MotoGP and around the demanding fast layout of the Autodromo Internazionali del Mugello as Pol Espargaro took his KTM RC16 to 11th place in the Q2 Qualification session today for the Gran Premio D’Italia Oakley.
Still buoyed after 6th position from round five of nineteen at Le Mans two weeks ago, Red Bull KTM travelled to Mugello and the wonderfully scenic and challenging course a short distance north of Florence. Largely unaltered in design since the circuit first appeared in Grand Prix back in the mid 1970s, Mugello was a different prospect altogether compared to the heavy braking zones and tighter corners at the French venue.
Pol Espargaro was immediately on the clock from the first Free Practice sessions on Friday, already dipping into the 1min 46 bracket to vie for direct Q2 selection. Team-mate Johann Zarco also approached the top ten, split by fractions of the second as he took 12th. On Saturday Pol roared out of the pitbox to set the second fastest time in FP3; achieved with a lap almost two seconds better than the effort he managed in 2018 and thus representing fantastic progress.
As Zarco pushed in Q1 he unfortunately crashed in the third sector of a flying lap and rested 19th. Meanwhile Espargaro was able to wait until Q2 (the second time in six rounds he was able to enter the chrono) where he used his last flying lap of the fifteen-minute session to log a 1min46.4 and end the day in 11th.
Red Bull KTM Tech3 pairing Hafizh Syahrin and Miguel Oliveira will occupy 21st and 22nd positions respectively. The Portuguese misjudged the remaing time in Q1 to further improve his ranking.
Pol Espargaro: “I’m more than satisfied. The lap-time we did this morning was outstanding and I feel super-proud of what we are doing. I wanted to do better in the afternoon but if there is a small change then we pay for it quite hard. It was quite windy in some parts of the track in the afternoon and with the change of direction I could not move the bike. I was hitting T1 even faster than the morning lap but I was losing it through T2, 3, 4: more than four tenths of a second there. Honestly though I am super-happy and looking forward to tomorrow because I think we have better pace than what we are showing. It will be a fun race.”
Johann Zarco: “I tried to adapt myself as much as possible to the bike to use different lines and different places to brake and open the throttle – because this is what I have to do. Pol is going very well this morning and this means he has good confidence and this is possible on the bike and I am trying to change myself to do it. I need to learn and keep pushing for the race.”
Hafizh Syahrin: “I tried to do a good lap time and, in the end, it was better but we are still far from the top. We try to understand how to improve more for tomorrow, where we aim to stay on the wheel of some other riders in order to learn more about our new bike and have a decent race.”
Miguel Oliveira: “Today after FP4 we had a quite good feeling and pace. Actually, it was the shortest gap we had to the front, so I was pretty positive and going into the Qualifying, obviously on the first run, I couldn’t make a perfect lap. After this, I was waiting for a tow and when I finally got it I crossed the finish line one second down. This lap was more than half a second faster than my best, although it doesn’t count! Anyway, we’ll see tomorrow, we hope to have a good race and learn as much as possible.”
Moto2 & Moto3
Red Bull KTM Ajo’s Jorge Martin came through the Q1 period to take 12th place in Moto2 while teammate Brad Binder missed the qualification cut and will start from the seventh row in 19th spot. Former Moto3 Grand Prix winner at Mugello, Andrea Migno, was the highest KTM rider with 4th position after the Moto3 Q2 period. The Italian will line-up behind Lorenzo Dalla Porta, Gabriel Rodrigo and Polesitter Tony Arbolino for what will be the first race of the day tomorrow.
Races: June 2, 2019 – Moto3 11.00 | Moto2 12.20 | MotoGP 14.00 CET
Results Qualifying MotoGP Mugello 2019
1. Marc Marquez (ESP), Honda 1:45.519
2. Fabio Quartararo (FRA), Yamaha +0.214
3. Danilo Petrucci (ITA), Ducati +0.362
4. Franco Morbidelli (ITA), Yamaha + 0.440
5. Jack Miller (AUS), Ducati +0.510
11. Pol Espargaro (ESP), Red Bull KTM +0.914
19. Johann Zarco (FRA), Red Bull KTM +1.116 (Q1)
21. Hafizh Syahrin (MYS), Red Bull KTM Tech3 +1.944 (Q1)
22. Miguel Oliveira (POR), Red Bull KTM Tech3 +1.957 (Q1)
Marquez shatters lap record for Gran Premio D’Italia Oakley pole
Blistering pace under the Tuscan sun saw Marc Marquez take his fourth pole of 2019 as Lorenzo prepares for a comeback from 17th on the grid.
Having finished third fastest in both Free Practice 3 and Free Practice 4, Marc Marquez headed into Q2 confident of challenging for at least a front-row start. A busy session saw Marquez working hard for track position during his first run, setting a best time of 1’46.291 before a perfectly planned and executed second run had the reigning World Champion take his fourth pole of 2019.
Marquez’s 1’45.519 is a new lap record at the Mugello Circuit, Marquez one of only four riders ever to complete a 1’45 lap. This is Marquez’s second premier class pole in Mugello, his first coming in 2014 when he took six straight pole positions.
Saving fresh tyres for Saturday looked to pay off for Jorge Lorenzo in Free Practice 3, immediately able to go a full second faster as soon as a fresh rear was fitted. Eventually setting a 1’46.893, Lorenzo finished the session 12th. He continued to work on his pace for the race throughout Free Practice 4 and spent the session lapping consistently. Unable to improve his time as he had in FP3, Lorenzo will start 17th on the grid with a 1’47.135.
The Gran Premio D’Italia Oakley is scheduled for 14:00 local time on Sunday, June 01.
“It was a difficult Qualifying because it was different to other races and a bit hard to find space. With the first tyre I was ready to attack straight away but then Dovi slowed down so I overtook him and I lost some time there. Pirro was also trying to follow me for the slipstream so tactics were needed. With the second tyre we just followed our strategy and I found a good space with slipstream and I calculated the space to Dovi perfectly. The pole position is important but the most important part is being on the front row. There are a lot of opponents for tomorrow’s race!”
“We tried to improve the bike but we’re still missing that last piece or step and I’m struggling more than normal. Honda and myself are working hard together to find a solution to make me more comfortable on the bike but of course the rules limit what we can do. Tomorrow we will see what happens at this physical track.”
Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP’s Maverick Viñales put up a fight in a hot Q2 and secured 7th place on the grid for tomorrow‘s Gran Premio d‘Italia Oakley. Valentino Rossi aimed to battle his way through Q1 after finishing outside the combined top-10 results in this morning’s FP3 session, but couldn’t find the pace he was looking for. He will be starting the race from 18th position.
Viñales showed he had a strong pace, especially in sectors 1-3. He was keen on putting his agility to good use in the Q2 session and immediately positioned his YZR-M1 in fourth place on his first flying lap. He was pushed down a couple of positions soon after, but only briefly, as he responded by clocking a 1‘46.181s to take second place.
With more than six minutes remaining he was back in the pit box for a fresh set of tyres. There was a 0.336s-gap to bridge to snatch pole, so the Spaniard set out to give it another go. When he didn‘t improve on his next try, he was lying in fifth place. He gritted his teeth and set three personal best sectors but again couldn‘t better his time, taking seventh on the grid for tomorrow’s race, 0.662s from first.
Rossi had to contest in Q1, after only just missing out on a place inside the top-10 in this morning‘s FP3 session. The local hero let the majority of the riders go out ahead of him and also held back on his first flyer, so he had plenty of clear space on track to put in a hot lap on his second attempt, moving up from 11th to 7th.
The Doctor hurried into the pits with seven minutes on the clock. Two minutes later he was back on the track and after his sighting lap he, in theory, had just enough time left for two more tries. However, the Italian wasn‘t able to improve his time on his next go and just fractionally missed the opportunity to get another lap in. With other riders completing their final laps, he was pushed back to eighth place. He finished 0.906s off the fastest Q1 time and will start tomorrow‘s race from P18 on the grid.
“Today didn‘t play out the way we wanted it to. We made some small steps in the morning. Maverick promoted to Q2 without too much trouble, but at the end of FP3 it became clear that Vale would have to join Q1 because of an issue in the last corner, which ultimately proved very costly for him today. Valentino struggled to set the pace required to get into Q2 and, unfortunately, in the end the strategy he chose didn’t work out. Maverick showed competitive lap times in his first stint of Q2, but he couldn’t push the way he wanted to on the second run. Most likely the hard front tyre would have been the better option for him in qualifying. The team will be working hard all night to find a solution that we can test in tomorrow‘s Warm Up. Starting from row three and six is very difficult, so the start of the race will be crucial. Both riders will be pushing early on to battle their way up the order.”
“My pace is really good, but starting from seventh is always very difficult, very tough. We’re going to try to make a good start and ride some good first laps, which we have been working really hard on this weekend. Anyway, the race is always different, so then we will see where we are. The bike is moving a lot, I’m fighting it every lap. But anyway, luckily I’m physically really fit. I think I can arrive at the end of the race in a good condition. It’s going to be a tough and long race, with many bikes and overtakes, so we have to be smart and also manage the tyres.”
“This morning was quite a good practice. At the end I was on a good lap to get inside the top-10, but unfortunately I made a mistake in the last corner, and after that I had to go to Q1. In the afternoon, in FP4, I used a used tyre but, sincerely, I wasn’t very fast, so that’s when I realised it would be difficult to try to get into Q2. In Q1 we waited a bit and I took the chequered flag at the end. But anyway, I was too slow to get into Q2, unfortunately. Tomorrow we will try something different, because today – though we already improved the pace a lot compared to yesterday – it’s not enough. So in tomorrow’s Warm Up it will be very interesting to try to find something better. After that, the race will be hard, because I will start far towards the back and my pace is not fantastic. We need to stay concentrated, give the maximum, and try to take some points.”
Petrucci, 3rd in qualifying practice at Mugello, will start the Italian GP from first row. Dovizioso 9th, Pirro 12th
The Mission Winnow Ducati team resumed action today at Mugello Circuit for the Italian Gran Prix qualifiers. In sunny conditions, with 26 degrees in the atmosphere and almost 50 on the tarmac, Danilo Petrucci seized first row for the second time after Le Mans posting the third-fastest time in Q2 with a 1:45.881, while Andrea Dovizioso will start from third row in ninth position with a personal best of 1:46.293.
After gaining direct access to Q2 posting the fastest time in FP3 in the morning with a new (provisional) best lap of the track in 1:46.056, Petrucci then improved by two more tenths of a second in the second and decisive session, missing pole position by just 0.362 seconds. Dovizioso also made strides after facing some issues in the morning, progressively posting quicker lap times and improving the feeling with the Desmosedici GP to finish Q1 in first position before taking ninth place on the grid in the final session. Michele Pirro, on track as a wild-card with a third Desmosedici GP fielded by the Mission Winnow Ducati team, brilliantly passed Q1 just behind Dovizioso then finished Q2 in 12th position.
Danilo Petrucci (#9 Mission Winnow Ducati) – 1:45.881 (3rd)
“I’m very happy for this first row, because it was really important for us to make the most of our potential even during qualifying after posting the provisional new best lap in the morning. Before going out on track for Q2, my goal was to do a 1:45.8 and take first row, which is what actually happened, even though someone was able to do slightly better. I expect a tough race tomorrow, because I’m still not 100 percent fit due to a cold. After some laps I feel fatigued, but our pace seems competitive and the support of all the ducatisti in the grandstands will surely give me extra energy. It’ll be crucial to have a good start, then we’ll try to play our cards wisely.”
Andrea Dovizioso (#04 Mission Winnow Ducati) – 1:46.293 (9th)
“We’re competitive in terms of race pace but unfortunately today we struggled on the single lap, which slightly complicated our plans but also helped us understand how to improve the setup of my Desmosedici GP during FP4, as shown by the good lap time posted to get through Q1. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to push to the limit in Q2 because of the traffic, which made it very difficult to put a clean lap together even though second row was within our reach. Tomorrow we’ll have to recover positions and keep a strong pace from the very start. Given the track conditions, it’ll be crucial to pick the right tyres for the race, then we’ll be able to fight.”
Michele Pirro (#51 Mission Winnow Ducati) – 1:46.638 (12th)
“I’m quite happy because I was able to do a 1:46.2 in Q1, which is my personal best here at Mugello, and both Dovizioso and I were able to make it through and be in Q2, preceding some tough rivals. Unfortunately, in Q2, the ‘waiting’ game with other riders made me lose a bit of focus and I wasn’t able to post a really quick lap time as I made some mistakes. I’m sorry because, with two new soft rear tyres, I could have possibly posted a high 1:45 and start much closer to the front, but I’m also confident ahead of the race and I hope all Ducati riders can be in the mix. We all work together to be protagonists here at Mugello.”
The Mission Winnow Ducati team will take it back to the track tomorrow, June 2nd, at 09:40 for a warm-up session ahead of the race, which is scheduled to start at 14:00 local time (CET).
MOTOGP QUALIFIERS AT MUGELLO
FIFTH ROW FOR ALEIX ESPARGARÓ AND EIGHTH FOR ANDREA IANNONE
In a qualifying session that had never been so fast, where all the Mugello track records were smashed, Aleix Espargaró also did much better than his times a year ago, also improving his starting position, lapping at 1’46.988 to earn fifth place in Q1 and therefore fifteenth (fifth row) on the starting grid for tomorrow.
Andrea Iannone had to settle for a time of 1’48.303 which stopped him on the eighth row. The race tomorrow will be a difficult one for both where they will have to come back from behind if they want a spot in the top ten, an undertaking which has been well within the potential of the RS-GP in this first part of the season.
“I think that getting below the 1’47 mark is a good result for the level we are at today. I certainly can’t be satisfied with the final position, but I did a good lap in a time that nobody has ever done with this bike, so I feel like I did as much as possible.In terms of top speed, we do not have big problems, but we are struggling too much in acceleration. I think I have a bit better race pace than I had at Le Mans, but it will be a very difficult race, with the heat and on a very difficult track.”
“We are continuing to try a lot of different configurations and that does not help when you’re trying to find the best performance, especially in qualifiers that are this close right from the start. Yesterday we thought we were on the right path, but evidently we missed something. Starting so far back does not make life easy. It will be a complicated race that we’ll also need to use to better understand the reactions of the RS-GP.”
CRUTCHLOW SECURES SECOND ROW START FOR ITALIAN GP
PRESS RELEASE: 01 June 2019 | Mugello GP Qualifying
LCR Honda CASTROL Team’s Cal Crutchlow will start from the second row of the grid after making excellent progress throughout the Italian Grand Prix weekend. The British rider had felt improvements were needed after the first day of practice, and seemingly he and the crew made the necessary steps forward to give him a fighting chance of success in Sunday’s 23-lap race.
Crutchlow went straight through to the Qualifying 2 final, despite a small crash during the morning free practice session. He then put in an excellent lap time during the 15-minute shootout, despite being unable to take advantage from a slipstream as some of his rivals were able.
Cal Crutchlow – 6th
(1’46.079 – lap 7 of 7)
“I feel good actually and definitely a lot better than I did yesterday. We decided to focus our work on one bike and one setting which was good, because we could adjust small things from there. I wanted to be a bit quicker, and down into the 1’45s because that would have been there. We’re half a second behind Marquez in qualifying, but with the tow he got he probably picked up four-tenths, so we’re right there.”
“I’m quite pleased with my qualifying lap because I did it all alone and it felt good. We threw everything at it with the package we have, which hasn’t felt the best. We’re working hard and the LCR Honda CASTROL team are working great, getting the information we need to improve the bike. Overall, it’s good. It’s probably going to be a tyre war tomorrow, and hopefully we’ll make the right choices.”
Fast and flowing Mugello circuit stretches Red Bull KTM Tech3 pair to the limit
Red Bull KTM Tech3’s Hafizh Syahrin and Miguel Oliveira faced a difficult challenge at the Italian circuit today, finishing Qualifying one in P11 and P12, respectively.
Syahrin was using the sunny Saturday to improve his feeling aboard the KTM RC16 at the Autodromo Internazionale del Mugello and did his best time of the weekend during his last lap in Qualifying to hop from 13th to 11th position. Meanwhile, Oliveira was 0.891 seconds quicker in FP4 than on Friday, but was a bit unlucky in the final seconds of Q1. Therefore, the Portuguese MotoGP rookie has to attack from row eight in tomorrow’s 23 laps encounter at 14.00 local time.
“Overall, I have to admit, it was a difficult day for us. I tried to do a good lap time and, in the end, it was better, but we are still far from the top. We try to understand how to improve more for tomorrow’s race, where we aim to stay on the wheel of some other riders in order to learn more about our new bike and have a decent race.”
“Today after FP4 we had a quite good feeling and pace. Actually, it was the shortest gap we had to the front, so I was pretty positive and going into the Qualifying, obviously on the first run, I couldn’t make a perfect lap. After this, I was waiting for a tow and when I finally got it I crossed the finish line one second down and got the flag. But in any case, this lap was more than half a second faster than my best, although it doesn’t count. Anyway, we’ll see tomorrow, hope to have a good race and learn as much as possible.”
UPHILL BATTLE AWAITS RINS AND MIR AFTER DIFFICULT SATURDAY
Team Suzuki Press Office – June 1.
Alex Rins: 13th – 1:46.539
Joan Mir: 20th – 1:47.519
• Alex Rins narrowly misses out in Q1.
• Joan Mir getting to grips with Mugello ahead of race.
• Team acknowledge mountain to climb on Sunday.
The second day of track action proved challenging for Team SUZUKI ECSTAR. Mugello’s bright start on Saturday morning meant a highly competitive FP3 session, with many riders battling it out for direct passage to Q2. An early crash for Alex Rins at Turn 11 (Palagio) cost the Spaniard dearly, although he was luckily uninjured. The session was also tough for rookie, Joan Mir, who is still learning this very technical track, he finished 20th.
The team searched for improvements in the 30-minute FP4 session, keen to prepare an attack in Q1. Alex shot into 3rd place with a few minutes to go and closed the session in a decent 4th place.
Both Rins and Mir headed out for qualifying with the hard-soft tyre combination, and they quickly slotted in to 2nd and 5th places respectively. Joan tried hard to find his rhythm, but he will start from 20th on the grid. Alex held onto this 2nd place – which would have promoted him to Q2 – until the final seconds of the session, when he just missed a last flying lap, pushing him to 3rd in the session and 13th on the grid for tomorrow’s race.
Davide Brivio – Team Manager
“This morning was difficult because Alex’s crash made the whole session more complicated. Then, in FP4, we found a good feeling again and we think our race pace is quite good. Alex was very close to getting into Q2, but unfortunately it didn’t work out. Despite the starting position, he has a strong enough pace to make up a lot of places tomorrow. Joan did a good lap right at the end of Q1, and he is learning in every session, the race will be tough for him from that position – but we know he will give his best.”
“I lost some confidence after my crash, but I recovered it in the later sessions. For the final lap of Q1, I exited the pits at the same time as Rossi, he was behind me on the time sheets and I thought he would be pushing, so I intended to stay behind him on the track as it’s always easier here with a tow. But in the end the lap got messed up and I just lost out on Q2. Tomorrow I’ll try to put together a good race, there are many competitive riders at the front, and I’ll push hard to be up with them.”
“Qualifying was tough, I couldn’t manage to do a fast lap. I was trying to improve my lap time, but I was in a big group and I didn’t see the chequered flag, which was a shame because I felt I had good pace at the end of the session. It will be interesting to start this Italian Grand Prix from 20th place, I think it will still be a nice race because I feel that I’ll be able to get into a rhythm tomorrow. We’ll see what happens!”