Espargaro Returns To Form With Catalunya Pole


Pol Espargaro claimed his first pole position since the opening race of the 2013 season with a display of total dominance in Barcelona. In the traditionally tight intermediate class, the home favourite had a full six tenths in hand over the chasing pack with championship leader Scott Redding pipping Esteve Rabat to second.

The majority of the fast times were set early on with the soaring temperatures preventing any serious improvements in the latter stages. Espargaro’s first effort of the afternoon was a 1:46.660 but he managed to trim another quarter of a second off his own benchmark twenty minutes later to make absolutely sure of pole.

His advantage was 0.666s over teammate Rabat but Redding managed to squeeze in front of the second Pons Kalex with one of the few late changes, jumping from fifth to second. Rabat lost time in the final sector of his final lap which might have seen him regain P2 but the Jerez winner would have to make do with third.

Redding’s improvement meant that Takaaki Nakagami’s 100% record of qualifying on the front row this year came to an end with the Italtrans rider ending up fourth, albeit just 0.069s behind second placed Redding, and Alex de Angelis was another rider marginally slower than the top three although his best lap was followed by a crash, preventing him from going any further. Johann Zarco rounds out the second row with Jordi Torres next up ahead of Randy Krummenacher and Moto3 champion Sandro Cortese who qualified a career best ninth in the class.

Although he will have his hands full at the front, Redding will be boosted to see his immediate championship challengers starting in lowly grid positions. Mika Kallio and Nicolas Terol, who are equal in second place in the title chase, will line up twelfth and twentieth respectively with the two British rookies Danny Kent and Kyle Smith between them after impressive performances took them to seventeenth and eighteenth.