Marc Marquez smashed the Misano lap record on his way to pole position for tomorrow’s San Marino Grand Prix. The championship leader was pushed by the factory Yamahas of Jorge Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi but unleashed the fastest ever lap of Misano in the final minute to go half a second faster than his rivals.
After a painful weekend so far, Monster Yamaha Tech 3 faced the ignominy of sending both of their riders out in Q1 along with the Pramac Ducati of Michele Pirro. With only two Q2 spots up for grabs, one prototype rider was destined to miss out and Bradley Smith was the odd man out after a crash at turn thirteen on his last lap. As a result, teammate Cal Crutchlow squeezed through by a tenth of a second.
Once again, the feature of Q2 turned out to be traffic as no fewer than eight riders found themselves on the same part of the race track. Lorenzo had parked himself at the end of pitlane prior to the session starting and was able to utilise the clear track, going fastest initially on a 1:33.824. The world champion improved immediately to a 1:33.797 but unfortunately for him, Marquez had also dodged the traffic and clocked a lap three tenths quicker than the Yamaha.
After a quick tyre change in the pits, Lorenzo and Marquez headed straight back out on track but Dani Pedrosa was visibly irritated upon arrival at the Repsol Honda pit, no doubt frustrated by the endless queue of riders that had followed him all the way around Misano and into the pitlane.
Marquez had no other riders to worry about and even though his gap at the front had been reduced by the Yamahas, that didn’t stop him breaking into the 1:32s to wipe out the previous lap record, pulling out a half second lead in the process. Lorenzo and Rossi had no answer for that kind of pace and will start second and third respectively while Dani Pedrosa could only drag a 1:33.726 out of his Honda to qualify fourth.
After taking an unconventional route to Q2, Cal Crutchlow pulled a stunning lap out of the bag to take fifth with Aleix Espargaro similarly impressive in sixth while the two satellite Hondas of Stefan Bradl and Alvaro Bautista finished seventh and eighth. With Bradley Smith eliminated earlier, the four remaining spots in Q2 were all taken by Ducatis with Andrea Dovizioso leading Nicky Hayden, Michele Pirro and Andrea Iannone.