Marc Marquez produced a typically scintillating display to claim pole position for tomorrow’s French Grand Prix at Le Mans. The world champion had been quiet through free practice but unleashed some extraordinary performance from his Repsol Honda to outpace Andrea Dovizioso and Jorge Lorenzo by half a second.
A heavy downpour during Moto3 qualifying left a sodden race track for the premier class riders but persistent running during FP4 and Q1 managed to dry the surface in time for the pole position shootout. Cal Crutchlow felt comfortable the quickest with a 1:34.084 but Marquez immediately stamped his authority on proceedings with a 1:33.374 moments later, a time he would better by another four tenths before returning to the pits.
The Ducatis hadn’t shown their hand until Saturday practice with Andrea Iannone making a sizeable leap forward to secure his place in Q2 and despite dislocating his shoulder in midweek, the Italian matched Marquez’s time to go second two minutes from time. Andrea was soon demoted by ex-Ducati rider Cal Crutchlow after the Briton broke into the 1:32s but Marquez remained a long way ahead of the rest, improving to a 1:32.246 in the dying seconds.
Crutchlow wouldn’t hang onto a front row start with Dovizioso edging ahead by a tenth of a second while Jorge Lorenzo recovered from a mistake on his quickest lap to snatch third, half a tenth ahead of Crutchlow. Iannone will line up fifth with Friday pacesetter Bradley Smith securing a place on the second row in sixth.
Championship leader Valentino Rossi faces another uphill struggle tomorrow from seventh on the grid, especially with the second Repsol Honda of Dani Pedrosa alongside him, but no-one will be in for a tougher race than Aleix Espargaro who rode in agony following a horrendous highside in FP3. Despite the obvious pain, the Suzuki man produced a heroic ride to qualify tenth.
2015 MONSTER ENERGY GRAND PRIX DE FRANCE – QUALIFYING CLASSIFICATION
|1||93. Marc Marquez||Honda||Repsol Honda Team||1:32.246||Q2|
|2||4. Andrea Dovizioso||Ducati||Ducati Team||1:32.749||Q2|
|3||99. Jorge Lorenzo||Yamaha||Movistar Yamaha MotoGP||1:32.846||Q2|
|4||35. Cal Crutchlow||Honda||CWM LCR Honda||1:32.897||Q2|
|5||29. Andrea Iannone||Ducati||Ducati Team||1:33.001||Q2|
|6||38. Bradley Smith||Yamaha||Monster Yamaha Tech 3||1:33.299||Q2|
|7||46. Valentino Rossi||Yamaha||Movistar Yamaha MotoGP||1:33.352||Q2|
|8||26. Dani Pedrosa||Honda||Repsol Honda Team||1:33.419||Q2|
|9||9. Danilo Petrucci||Ducati||Pramac Racing||1:33.556||Q2|
|10||41. Aleix Espargaro||Suzuki||Team SUZUKI ECSTAR||1:33.665||Q2|
|11||68. Yonny Hernandez||Ducati||Pramac Racing||1:33.714||Q2|
|12||44. Pol Espargaro||Yamaha||Monster Yamaha Tech 3||1:33.724||Q2|
|13||25. Maverick Vinales||Suzuki||Team SUZUKI ECSTAR||1:34.245||Q1|
|14||69. Nicky Hayden||Honda||Aspar MotoGP Team||1:34.267||Q1|
|15||45. Scott Redding||Honda||Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS||1:34.551||Q1|
|16||6. Stefan Bradl||Yamaha Forward||Athina Forward Racing||1:34.575||Q1|
|17||63. Mike Di Meglio||Ducati||Avintia Racing||1:34.833||Q1|
|18||43. Jack Miller||Honda||CWM LCR Honda||1:34.858||Q1|
|19||8. Hector Barbera||Ducati||Avintia Racing||1:34.870||Q1|
|20||17. Karel Abraham||Honda||AB Motoracing||1:34.940||Q1|
|21||50. Eugene Laverty||Honda||Aspar MotoGP Team||1:34.947||Q1|
|22||76. Loris Baz||Yamaha Forward||Athina Forward Racing||1:35.456||Q1|
|23||19. Alvaro Bautista||Aprilia||Aprilia Racing Team Gresini||1:35.458||Q1|
|24||15. Alex de Angelis||ART||Octo IodaRacing Team||1:35.680||Q1|
|25||33. Marco Melandri||Aprilia||Aprilia Racing Team Gresini||1:37.522||Q1|