Marc Marquez extended his unbeaten qualifying streak in Italy by claiming his sixth pole position out of six in the 2014 MotoGP season. Much like in Le Mans, the world champion had an edge on the rest throughout the session while an unexpected challenger emerged to qualify second, Andrea Iannone providing the shock this weekend on the Pramac Ducati.
A trio of Yamahas led the field out for Q2 with Jorge Lorenzo setting the initial benchmark while Pol Espargaro followed the factory machine around to set a 1:47.612, enough for second at the time ahead of Valentino Rossi. Marquez had held back slightly but by the time he had completed his first timed lap, the Repsol Honda jumped straight to the top of the leaderboard. A 1:47.438 only gave him a slight advantage with Iannone using a slipstream and soft tyres to go second but a 1:47.270 on the next lap extended his lead into unassailable territory.
Iannone and Lorenzo completed the front row with many riders failing to improve on their second runs although Dani Pedrosa was one of the exceptions, climbing to fourth ahead of Pol Espargaro who paid for a crash at turn nine. Cal Crutchlow delivered a superb qualifying performance on his first appearance in Ducati colours at the team’s home GP, taking sixth ahead of Bradley Smith and teammate Andrea Dovizioso, with Stefan Bradl rounding out the third row in ninth.
Valentino Rossi was punished for failing to improve on his very first lap, falling all the way to tenth, with Alvaro Bautista and Aleix Espargaro, the two riders who advanced from Q1, starting alongside him on the fourth row tomorrow.
Scott Redding starts fourteenth on the grid but Nicky Hayden, so often the closest rival to the British rookie on the Aspar production Honda, will sit the race out with a wrist injury which will require surgery next week.