Marc Marquez delivered on the promise shown in free practice by claiming his tenth pole position of the 2014 MotoGP season at Silverstone. The world champion faced stiff competition from Andrea Dovizioso and Jorge Lorenzo in a thrilling end to qualifying but responded in emphatic style, taking pole by three tenths of a second.
Dovizioso had looked as realistic a challenger as anyone through free practice and true to form, the Ducati rider popped up at the top of the leaderboard after the first set of flying laps. Marquez’s initial flyer was only good enough for third behind Jorge Lorenzo but normal business was restored second time around as Marc clocked a 2:01.259, three tenths faster than Dovizioso’s benchmark.
The fight wasn’t over yet though with everyone diving back into the pitlane for a change of tyres and Jorge Lorenzo’s next run will have certainly caught Repsol Honda’s attention, the no.99 snatching provisional pole on a 2:01.175. Marquez was equal to the task though and became the first rider to drop below the 2m01 barrier, setting a 2:00.829, and with the Ducati suffering in the final sector, Dovizioso could only slot into second despite a blistering final run on extra-soft tyres.
Lorenzo fell to third with Aleix Espargaro appearing from nowhere to snatch fourth, helped by the softer rubber on option to the open-class riders. Dani Pedrosa will start fifth on the second Repsol Honda ahead of Valentino Rossi with the Yamaha star bumping Bradley Smith off the second row in the dying seconds. The Briton will line up seventh with his teammate Pol Espargaro and LCR’s Stefan Bradl for company on row three. Andrea Iannone starts tenth after crashing in the final sector of his fastest lap while Scott Redding produced another superb showing to take eleventh from his teammate Alvaro Bautista.
The Gresini riders safely navigated their way through Q1 thanks in no small part to some smart teamwork as Bautista and Redding circulated together. With a 15km/h deficit to the fastest machines on the circuit, Gresini were able to compensate for Redding’s lack of grunt by using Bautista’s slipstream to tow the production Honda along. The plan worked to perfection as Scott topped the session, six hundredths quicker than his teammate.
Cal Crutchlow’s miserable weekend showed no signs of improving though with the home favourite beaten to third by Yonny Hernandez’s satellite Ducati while an excellent lap in the dying seconds from Karel Abraham cost him yet another place, relegating him to fifth and fifteenth on tomorrow’s grid. Leon Camier will line up eighteenth despite a crash at Farm during Q1 with Michael Laverty two places further back in 20th.