Stefan Bradl delivered the performance of a champion in qualifying for the San Marino Grand Prix by comfortably beating Marc Marquez to pole position, ending his run of four consecutive poles. The championship leader has been under relentless pressure from the Spaniard in recent weeks but the momentum swung back in his favour in a dramatic qualifying session.

The fight for pole was a straight fight between the title protagonists and Marquez took the early lead with a 1:38.451. Bradl responded though with the fastest ever lap of Misano on a Moto2 machine to move 0.353s ahead of his rival.

For the first time in the championship fight, the pressure appeared to be getting to Marquez. After his next lap fell two tenths short of pole position, the 18 year old lost the front end of his Suter as he tipped it into turn one. Although he was unhurt, Marquez lost valuable time as he recovered back to the pits for checks.

Bradl promptly turned the screw and improved to a 1:38.073 but he wasn't finished there. On his final run, the Kalex rider broke into the 1:37s, smashing his own pole record by another quarter of a second.

Marquez did make it back out on track and needed to, as his original time would have left him down in fifth. A 1:38.084 was good enough to hold on to second while Yuki Takahashi put in a consistent run of laps to claim third, half a second back.

The Japanese rider denied Alex de Angelis a front row start at his home Grand Prix with a minute to go and his failure to go any quicker in the final few minutes allowed Scott Redding to sneak into fourth, a tenth ahead of him.

Two thirds of the second row will be British thanks to Bradley Smith's performance on the Tech 3 Mistral 610. The 20 year old spent most of the session on the fringes of the top ten but found clear space right at the death to take sixth, nine thousandths ahead of Andrea Iannone.

Michele Pirro capped a good day for the Gresini team with eighth place while Pol Espargaro and Thomas Luthi completed the top ten.

With the times so close, the pressure was on the riders to deliver a clean lap and it took its toll on several men. Esteve Rabat and Jordi Torres came unstuck on their first runs while Santiago Hernandez ended the session in the gravel trap, as did Kenny Noyes.

 

Qualifying Result:

Pos Rider Nat Bike Team Time/Gap
1 Stefan Bradl GER Kalex Viessman Kiefer Racing 1:37.828
2 Marc Marquez SPA Suter Team Catalunya Caixa Repsol +0.256
3 Yuki Takahashi JAP Moriwaki Gresini Racing Moto2 +0.512
4 Scott Redding GBR Suter Marc VDS Racing Team +0.536
5 Alex de Angelis RSM Motobi JIR Moto2 +0.633
6 Bradley Smith GBR Tech 3 Tech 3 Racing +0.707
7 Andrea Iannone ITA Suter Speed Master +0.716
8 Michele Pirro ITA Moriwaki Gresini Racing Moto2 +0.772
9 Pol Espargaro SPA FTR HP Tuenti Speed Up +0.819
10 Thomas Luthi SWI Suter Interwetten Paddock Moto2 +0.829
11 Jules Cluzel FRA Suter NGM Forward Racing +0.902
12 Aleix Espargaro SPA Pons Kalex Pons HP 40 +0.957
13 Mattia Pasini ITA FTR Ioda Racing Project +1.055
14 Julian Simon SPA Suter Mapfre Aspar Team Moto2 +1.059
15 Simone Corsi ITA FTR Ioda Racing Project +1.177
16 Esteve Rabat SPA FTR Blusens-STX +1.324
17 Max Neukirchner GER MZ-RE Honda MZ Racing Team +1.338
18 Mike Di Meglio FRA Tech 3 Tech 3 Racing +1.411
19 Randy Krummenacher SWI Kalex GP Team Switzerland Kiefer Racing +1.583
20 Claudio Corti ITA Suter Italtrans Racing Team +1.604
21 Alex Baldolini ITA Pons Kalex Pons HP 40 +1.608
22 Raffaele de Rosa ITA Suter NGM Forward Racing +1.612
23 Xavier Simeon BEL Tech 3 Tech 3 B +1.736
24 Anthony West AUS MZ-RE Honda MZ Racing Team +1.742
25 Robertino Pietri VEN Suter Italtrans Racing Team +1.857
26 Mika Kallio FIN Suter Marc VDS Racing Team +1.873
27 Ricard Cardus SPA Moriwaki QMMF Racing Team +1.898
28 Tomoyoshi Koyama JAP Suter Technomag-CIP +1.946
29 Dominique Aegerter SWI Suter Technomag-CIP +2.185
30 Alessandro Andreozzi (WC) ITA FTR Andreozzi Reparto Corse +2.535
31 Joan Olive SPA FTR Blusens-STX +2.631
32 Santiago Hernandez COL FTR SAG Team +2.646
33 Valentin Debise FRA FTR Speed Up +2.710
34 Ratthapark Wilairot THA FTR Thai Honda Singha SAG +2.778
35 Carmelo Morales SPA Suter Desguaces La Torre G22 +2.779
36 Jordi Torres SPA Suter Mapfre Aspar Team Moto2 +2.993
37 Kenny Noyes USA FTR Avintia-STX +3.511
38 Jacob Gagne USA FTR Aeroport de Castello +3.712
39 Mashel Al Naimi QAT Moriwaki QMMF Racing Team +4.012
107% Qualifying Time: 1:44.676