Dani Pedrosa was simply untouchable in qualifying for tomorrow’s Catalunya Grand Prix, setting a lap record to claim pole position by six tenths of a second. The championship leader turned the tables on Yamaha after they’d dominated Friday’s practice running to beat Cal Crutchlow and Jorge Lorenzo to pole.
The factory Yamahas had a disrupted session with Lorenzo furiously gesticulating at his mechanics as he returned to the pits after one lap of Q2. Jorge would later reveal he had suffered a clutch problem and the session would be halfway towards completion when he finally registered a time.
By this point, Pedrosa had already taken pole position out of reach after initially setting a 1:41.401 before going on to break the 1:41s barrier. His first flyer would actually have secured pole position anyway but a 1:40.893 would be way faster than the rest could manage. Lorenzo did pull a 1:41.566 out of his second bike to momentarily go second but Cal Crutchlow was on a hot lap behind him and regained the status of top Yamaha rider with a 1:41.501 in the dying seconds.
Alvaro Bautista was another rider on satellite machinery to impress, qualifying fourth for Gresini ahead of Nicky Hayden on the leading Ducati, with Marc Marquez and Valentino Rossi the two factory riders with work to do tomorrow from sixth and seventh. Andrea Iannone, having earned a Q2 reprieve by finishing second in Q1, used a tow from Pedrosa’s Honda to go eighth ahead of Andrea Dovizioso with Stefan Bradl, Bradley Smith and Aleix Espargaro making up the fourth row.
Michael Laverty will start 20th after another impressive qualifying performance which saw him out-qualify teammate Yonny Hernandez again while the last spot on the grid will be taken up by Spaniard Javier del Amor who has been drafted in by Avintia Blusens in place of Hiroshi Aoyama who injured himself in final practice, ending his weekend early.