These just in from Catalunya
Pedrosa takes stunning pole at sunny Catalunya, Marquez fourth
Dani Pedrosa delivered an astonishing performance this afternoon in the Catalan sunshine, taking pole position for the second time this year.
Dani started the day by setting the second-fastest time in the FP3 session before going on to top the standings in both FP4 and qualifying. He was the only rider able to crack the 1’44” barrier, setting a 1’43.870 time that earned him his 30th pole in MotoGP and the 48th of his career.
Marc Marquez also showed a brilliant pace over the day, ending FP3 in first, FP4 in third, and finally settling for fourth in qualifying despite two crashes in the session.
POLE POSITION 1’43.870
“I’m very happy because taking pole is always very difficult, and doing it in front of your home fans is just amazing. Last year we struggled a lot in qualifying, while this season we’ve already earned two poles, so I wish to thank my team for the good work. We’ve worked really hard on this aspect, and we’re getting better and better. The conditions were quite difficult today, especially for the tyres as it was very hot and the grip wasn’t the best. We tried to manage the situation as well as possible, working a lot on the setup to improve tyre life. The tyres will be the key to the race tomorrow; it’d be great to have the same feeling from today, but we’ll wait and see. We’ll just remain focused and be prepared to do our best.”
“Fourth on the grid, four crashes—today was a bit challenging for us, but in reality we’re not so bad. We started the day very well; I felt very comfortable in FP3, but then I crashed in FP4 and everything followed from that. We were able to prepare the bike for the qualifying session, but the feeling wasn’t exactly the same; when the temperature gets so high, the front tyre moves a lot. But I was at my home GP, so I just gave it my all and tried 100%. I crashed, but in the end we’ll start from fourth, which isn’t that bad. I think if I’m able to keep calm and ride more smoothly, we’ll be okay. I look forward to having a great race tomorrow, and to fighting for the podium.”
Miller primed for hot and fast race in Barcelona
In heat wave conditions Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS Jack Miller qualified fifteenth for Sunday’s seventh round of the MotoGP World Championship in Barcelona.
A repeat of the energy sapping weather and scorching hot track temperatures, which topped 50 degrees for qualifying, are forecast for the 25-lap race.
This will place a premium on tyre endurance and much of Miller’s work with his crew today focussed on race set-up on his Honda RC213V, especially to boost front-end feel.
Miller set a platform for a strong race with the tenth fastest time in race trim during the FP4 session in advance of qualifying. Miller’s qualifying lap of 1’44.829 was almost 1.5s faster than his FP4 time as he focussed on maximising the potential of the new Michelin front tyre.
Tito Rabat is focussing on continuing his recent string of strong races despite being disappointed with his performance to qualify 19th on the grid. Rabat finished 11th in both the Italian and French Grands Prix.
For qualifying and tomorrow’s race the final chicane at the 4.655km Barcelona Circuit has been changed back to the layout used for Formula One, after safety concerns were raised by riders with the revised chicane used for Friday practice.
Jack Miller: 15th – 1’44.829
“I feel better on the bike than I did in Mugello last weekend and I’m getting to grips with this new front tyre and making progress in every session to adapt the set-up. It is not an ideal situation because I missed the test here a couple weeks ago. I would rather be further up the grid but there are positives with my race pace and the key will be managing the tyre life, the performance drops quite a lot after just a few laps in these hot conditions.”
Tito Rabat: 19th – 1’45.741
“I am very disappointed with my qualifying result, I tried so much to be faster but it was impossible. I felt comfortable on the bike but I made a mistake to wait for a rider to go for a faster time so, I didn’t achieve my full potential. Now I will now focus on the race and try to score points as I have in the past two races.”
Michael Bartholemy: Team Principal
“Similar to Mugello last weekend we are struggling to find the ideal set-up for Jack at this track in the hot conditions, but things improved with his front feeling in qualifying and FP4 this afternoon. This is important for the race distance tomorrow. With Tito we know if he has someone to follow it is easier for him but he was alone for his second qualifying run. I am confident that Jack can fight for the top ten and Tito can score points in the race.”
Jorge Lorenzo on front row for the Catalan GP after qualifying second at the Montmelò circuit. Andrea Dovizioso, seventh, will start from row 3
Jorge Lorenzo put in a superb performance in qualifying to conquer the front row of the grid for the Catalan GP with second-fastest time he recorded today at the Montmeló circuit. This morning the Spanish rider had been sixth fastest in the FP3 session, the only one decisive for direct access into Q2 because of the modifications made to the last chicane after yesterday’s practice. Lorenzo lapped in 1’44.201 on his first run in Q2 and tomorrow will share the front row with poleman Dani Pedrosa and with a competitive Danilo Petrucci, who was third on a 2017 Pramac Racing Team Desmosedici GP.
Seventh quickest time and a row 3 slot went to Andrea Dovizioso, who set a time of 1’44.451 on his second run in Q2. The Italian rider had also guaranteed his place in the second qualifying session thanks to fifth-quickest time this morning in FP3.
The race, over 25 laps (116.375 km), is scheduled to get underway tomorrow at 14.00 CET.
Jorge Lorenzo (Ducati Team #99) – 1’44.201 (2nd)
“Today finally we were able to do a really good qualifying session and for the first time I start from the front row on a Ducati. Montmeló is a circuit that I like a lot, and above all it allows me to express myself to the maximum over one lap. In this afternoon’s free practice session we improved the bike a lot and we were able to make it more stable and keep up quite a fast pace. For tomorrow it will be very important to have good grip with the rear tyre in the last part of the race. I’m happy with today’s result and tomorrow morning in the warm-up we’ll try and make some final modifications to put us in a position to fight for a good result in the race.”
Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team #04) – 1’44.451 (7th)
“Today was an intense and demanding day, but in the end I’m pleased with the way we worked because we were able to improve my feeling and it was very difficult because of the very low grip. There are a lot of holes on the track, and many riders crashed today, and so it wasn’t easy at all. We have a good race pace even though we weren’t able to demonstrate it with our times, because in FP4 we decided to lap with a used medium rear tyre, unlike our adversaries, and now only the race can tell us what our real position is. In qualifying I didn’t have a perfect feeling with the soft tyres but despite this I set a good time. I think that if we get a good start we can have a say in the outcome of the race tomorrow.”
ALEIX ESPARGARÓ TAKES APRILIA TO THE SECOND ROW WITH THE FIFTH BEST TIME
GREAT PERFORMANCE BY THE SPANISH RIDER, ALSO FAST IN TERMS OF RACE PACE
On the second day of practice in Barcelona, Aprilia has confirmed the RS-GP’s continuous trend of improving performance. It has been an extremely positive weekend thus far, culminating in the qualifiers today where Aleix Espargaró earned a spot on the second row of the starting grid with the fifth best time. The Spanish rider had already shone in FP3, finishing fourth, and in FP4 he took sixth place in race configuration. The Spaniard’s result is the best in qualifying for Aprilia since their return to MotoGP.
The confidence in the Aprilia Racing Team Gresini garage stems first and foremost from the good feedback gathered in view of the race. The Catalan track has little grip and the high asphalt temperatures will condition management of the 25 laps scheduled for tomorrow. In this area, Aleix and his team worked well, demonstrating an encouraging pace that makes him a candidate to be one of the key players in the Spanish race.
It was an unlucky day for Sam Lowes, hindered by some technical issues that conditioned FP3 and qualifying for him. The English rookie will have to settle for the seventh row, despite the good consistency he demonstrated with used tyres.
“I am happy, especially with the feeling I have on the bike for the race. Qualifying was very tight. I had expected something more with the soft tyre, but on both flying laps I lost a few tenths in the first sector. In any case, fifth place is fantastic. It will definitely make life easier in the race. I have a good pace and on this track with such little grip, anything could happen. I am motivated and positive. I am expecting a good Sunday.”
“It’s a pity. We really had a lot of problems today. It is disappointing because yesterday was my best day in MotoGP, whereas today I wasn’t able to go out in FP3 and in the qualifiers because of some technical problems. Right now I need to stay on the track as much as possible. I am making progress and to be honest, in terms of race pace the situation is quite good.”
Fantastic front-row start for Petrux in qualifying for CatalanGP. Scott 11th with great confidence on the race pace
An extraordinary day for Octo Pramac Racing. Just six days after the fantastic podium at Mugello, Danilo Petrucci returns to celebrate at the parc fermeè of the Grand Prix de Catalunya after winning his first career front-row start. Very positive news also from Scott Redding who will start 11th.
Following the great result on Friday’s free practices (5th place) Petrux repeats on Saturday’s qualifying, first winning the direct qualification to Q2 then lapping with a very good race pace in the FP4 finished 1 tenth of a second from the third lap-time of Marc Marquez. In the second run of the Q2 Petrux makes another masterpiece pushing hard while lapping alone. His P3 is celebrated in the garage of Octo Pramac Racing and by his team at the park fermeè.
Scott Redding just missed a bit of luck on his second time attack to gain at least the third row. The English rider finished with the time of 1’44,852, two-tenths of a second from the ninth position of Maverick Vinales. Extremely positive indications come also from the FP4 that Scott ended up in eighth place, 141 milliseconds behind the second time of Andrea Iannone.
3th – Danilo Petrucci – 1’44.220
“It was a very good qualifying, perhaps even unexpected because the asphalt is not in good conditions as it is very slippery. Since yesterday we have been very fast with soft tires. We will have to improve tomorrow on race distance. The second half of the race will really be very difficult. We will start from a better position than Mugello so I hope to manage to save the rubber at the beginning. I want to make a good start to try to stand in front. I’d like to end up in the top five”.
11th – Scott Redding – 1’44.852
“All thing considered I’m happy about how things went in the weekend so far. To be honest I expected something more from qualifying but I was not lucky, especially when I was doing a very good crono behind Marquez but he did crash. I had the potential to do third row but still am satisfied. We did out best and the race pace is good. Tomorrow will be a very difficult race but I am very confident”.
FRUSTRATING DAY FOR CRUTCHLOW IN CATALONIA
LCR Honda rider Cal Crutchlow endured another frustrating day at the Catalan Grand Prix on Saturday as he qualified on the sixth row for Sunday’s race at the Circuit de Barcelona. The Briton experienced more difficulties with his Honda RC213V throughout the day and now faces a tall order to come away from the seventh round of the MotoGP World Championship in Spain with a positive result.
Crutchlow went 12th fastest in this morning’s FP3, but that would be as good as things got on a baking hot day in Barcelona. A fall at the end of the first qualifying session ended his hopes of advancing to Q2 as he lost the front end of his bike, leaving him down in 17th position on the grid. However, it was a similar story for other Honda riders with three-time world champion Marc Marquez crashing no fewer than four times on Saturday.
Marquez’s factory Honda Team-mate Dani Pedrosa qualified on pole for Sunday’s race, with Jorge Lorenzo and Danilo Petrucci completing the front row.
Cal Crutchlow – 17th
(1’45.162 – lap 2 of 7)
“It’s been a difficult weekend so far, there’s no doubt about that, to be 17th on the grid is not ideal. Funnily enough, I’m actually quite happy, the qualifying position doesn’t reflect where we are at all. I had an issue in qualifying on the first run, so I came in to change the tyre and go out on a second run and then I had no brake on the first lap and crashed on the second”
“I wasn’t the only guy to crash today, we’ve had eight Honda crashes on the left-hand side so there’s not a lot to say. We just have to try and manage the situation and get out of here with a positive result. The only (Honda) guy that seems to be able to manage the tyre is Dani (Pedrosa) because he is a lot lighter than me and Marc (Marquez). Our bike seems good over race distance though, so we just have to look forward to that tomorrow.”
Montmeló (Spain), 10th June 2017
Movistar Yamaha MotoGP’s Maverick Viñales fought hard today in the first qualifying session at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya to secure a place in the top2 and gain promotion to the top12 shoot out for pole position. He finished in ninth place in the final qualifying results. Teammate Valentino Rossi came just short to proceed to Q2 and will start tomorrow’s Gran Premi Monster Energy de Catalunya from 13th on the grid.
The track was returned to the 2016 Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya race layout, so only the FP3 results would determine which riders would secure a place in Q2. As the Factory Yamaha teammates finished outside the top10 in the morning free practice session, they had to take part in Q1.
Viñales had a relatively easy pass through Q1 to promote to Q2. He was out of the box early, ahead of the field, and immediately moved up to second on his first flying lap. He returned to the box with six and a half minutes remaining.
When the Spaniard resumed his attack, he was still sitting in second position and set a 1’44.934s, improving his time if not his place, but the lap was fast enough for him to hold onto a place in Q2 until the end of the session.
The home rider didn’t waste a minute at the start of the second session to get a flying lap in and shortly held second place, before being pushed back to fourth as the riders behind him crossed the line. Unable to better his time on the next two tries, he rode into pit lane with less than seven minutes to go.
A minute later, Vinales headed back out on track for another go. He found himself in eighth place, but was ready to fight back with a personal best lap, taking fifth. Two minutes then remained to advance his position, but he had to settle for ninth, on the third row on the grid, with a best time of 1’44.620s.
In Q1, Rossi waited for the first group of riders to get out on track before he left pit lane and took fifth place on his second flying lap. He quickly returned to the pits with less than six minutes on the clock for a tyre swap.
The Italian was eager to improve on his second stint, though he had only four minutes left to put in two more laps. He was pushed back to seventh as the pace quickened, but soon moved up to fourth on his next attempt. He had time for one more go and was looking threatening, only to miss out on an entry into Q2 when he bettered his placement in the rankings to third with a 1’44.661s. He will start tomorrow’s race from the fifth row on the grid.
We tried different settings and various tyre options with both Maverick’s and Valentino’s bike during FP3 and FP4, but none of the options gave us the expected improvement. With this in mind, Maverick‘s achievement of coming through Q1 shows how hard he‘s pushing. Valentino put in a couple of strong laps towards the end of the first qualifying session, but unfortunately he just missed out on Q2 by 0.040s and will be starting from 13th place. We still have a lot of work to do for tomorrow, we will be working hard this evening to come up with solutions that we can test in the warm up, which will be crucial to prepare for the race.
Compared to yesterday we improved the bike a little bit, but for us the problem isn‘t the bike, but rather a combination of factors. I‘ve tried many set-ups today and nothing was working, not even our basic set-up. I was just going to try to do my best and that‘s what I did. I aim to make a good start tomorrow and then I will try my best again.
We had some good ideas for today, so I expected to be more competitive, but it‘s a little bit like the situation in Jerez, with a lack of grip we suffer a lot with the tyres and the qualifying was bad. I was also unlucky I lost the entry into Q2 by just one position, so for sure it‘s difficult because the pace is not fantastic. It will be a hard race for everybody because the tyres seem to struggle to produce grip, especially in the hot conditions it will be hard, but we will try something else tomorrow morning and we‘ll see.