Marc Marquez claimed his second pole position from four attempts in MotoGP after edging out Jorge Lorenzo in a tight battle between the two at Le Mans. Marquez had destroyed the field in morning practice before Lorenzo responded in FP4 and with the two side-by-side on the grid tomorrow, the Spaniards look set to renew their rivalry from Jerez.
The afternoon began in dramatic fashion with Cal Crutchlow crashing at La Chapelle with the back end of the Yamaha stepping out before slamming the Briton down on his right shoulder. Crutchlow lay prone on the tarmac for a long time, causing the red flags to come out, but thankfully he would return to his feet and take a full part in Q2.
Marquez himself had taken a tumble in FP4 when the front end of his Honda folded at the Dunlop chicane but he would make no such mistake in the session that mattered, clocking a 1:33.187 to demote early pacesetter Lorenzo. Instead it was the other Repsol Honda rider that slipped up as Dani Pedrosa made an identical mistake to his teammate at Dunlop. Dani was sitting second to Lorenzo at the time of his fall and would be powerless to prevent his rivals pushing him down the order.
The main surprise came from Andrea Dovizioso who dragged his Ducati up to third while Cal Crutchlow produced a performance equally impressive given the way his afternoon began to qualify fourth. Stefan Bradl will start from the middle of row two in fifth with Dani Pedrosa sixth after failing to get a fast lap out of his second motorcycle.
Alvaro Bautista heads row three ahead of a disappointed Valentino Rossi whose Friday practice promise failed to translate into a good grid position. The three-time MotoGP winner here will start eighth with Bradley Smith right behind in ninth having qualified just two tenths slower than his factory colleague.
Nicky Hayden lines up tenth ahead of the two Aspar ARTs of Aleix Espargaro and Randy de Puniet after both advanced from Q1, doing so at the expense of the two Pramac Ducatis. Michael Laverty meanwhile will start twentieth having outqualified Paul Bird teammate Yonny Hernandez.