Marc Marquez destroyed his own circuit record on his way to pole position at Motorland Aragon this afternoon. The reigning champion came under late pressure from his Repsol Honda teammate Dani Pedrosa but responded superbly to claim his eleventh pole of 2014.
Yamaha had endured a miserable start to the weekend with Valentino Rossi forced to go through the slightly embarrassing process of Q1 before getting an opportunity to compete for pole position. The Italian needed the medium tyre but did eventually book his place in Q2, joined for the first time this season by Avintia’s Hector Barbera, making good use of the team’s new Ducati machine.
The second session started with some more positive news for Yamaha’s factory squad with Jorge Lorenzo going straight to the top of the timesheet but his 1:48.332 was soon put into context when Marquez completed his first time lap, a 1:47.680. Marc went a tenth faster second time around to pull 0.690s clear of Andrea Iannone’s Ducati but there was still work to be done before pole was secured.
With two minutes remaining, Pedrosa took up the challenge to his teammate with a 1:47.549 but despite a poor start to his final run, Marquez was more than equal to the task. The 21 year old didn’t just reclaim pole position, but opened up a sizable advantage over Pedrosa, lapping over three tenths quicker than his compatriot.
Iannone kept up his impressive pace to take the last place on the front row ahead of Pol Espargaro while Cal Crutchlow produced his best qualifying performance of the season to finish fifth. Valentino Rossi surprised many by qualifying sixth despite a shortage of new tyres, knocking his teammate Lorenzo off the second row. Lorenzo will have Stefan Bradl and Andrea Dovizioso for company after the Ducati rider crashed late on while Bradley Smith was also left to rue an accident which consigned him to eleventh.