Aleix Espargaro handed Suzuki their first MotoGP pole position since Assen 2007 in a thrilling qualifying session at the Circuit de Catalunya. In a fairytale scenario for the returning Japanese manufacturer, Maverick Vinales backed up his teammate with second spot on the grid, edging out double champions Jorge Lorenzo and Marc Marquez.
The result shouldn’t have come as a surprise to anyone with Vinales topping FP3 this morning, following up his teammate’s blistering pace on Friday, but in the early stages of qualifying, the usual suspects rose to the top of the leaderboard. Lorenzo was the first to draw blood with quickest lap of the weekend on his very first attempt but by the time the Yamaha man had returned to his garage, Marquez has usurped him with a circuit record 1:40.754.
Showing shades of Marquez in previous qualifying sessions, Lorenzo was opting for a three-run strategy and used his second YZR-M1 to regain pole position, clocking a 1:40.646. Unfortunately for Yamaha, they didn’t have the softest tyre option at their disposal and Suzuki used it to great effect, Espargaro going fastest with two minutes remaining while Vinales slotted in between his compatriots to hand Suzuki a dream qualifying result.
Marquez failed to improve on his second run and fell back to fourth with Andrea Dovizioso and Dani Pedrosa joining him on row two, the latter advancing from Q1 before securing sixth spot. Championship leader Valentino Rossi faces another uphill struggle on race day from seventh on the grid with leading satellite riders Bradley Smith and Cal Crutchlow next to him on row three, Crutchlow having thrown away a possible front row with a crash at turn ten.
Yonny Hernandez will start tenth ahead of Pol Espargaro who also tumbled on his final qualifying run while Andrea Iannone, quickest in Q2 at Mugello, was slowest of all in the pole position shootout this time and lines up twelfth.
2015 G.P. MONSTER ENERGY DE CATALUNYA – QUALIFYING CLASSIFICATION
|1||41. Aleix Espargaro||Suzuki||Team SUZUKI ECSTAR||1:40.546||Q2|
|2||25. Maverick Vinales||Suzuki||Team SUZUKI ECSTAR||1:40.629||Q2|
|3||99. Jorge Lorenzo||Yamaha||Movistar Yamaha MotoGP||1:40.646||Q2|
|4||93. Marc Marquez||Honda||Repsol Honda Team||1:40.754||Q2|
|5||4. Andrea Dovizioso||Ducati||Ducati Team||1:40.907||Q2|
|6||26. Dani Pedrosa||Honda||Repsol Honda Team||1:40.928||Q2|
|7||46. Valentino Rossi||Yamaha||Movistar Yamaha MotoGP||1:41.058||Q2|
|8||38. Bradley Smith||Yamaha||Monster Yamaha Tech 3||1:41.068||Q2|
|9||35. Cal Crutchlow||Honda||CWM LCR Honda||1:41.195||Q2|
|10||68. Yonny Hernandez||Ducati||Pramac Racing||1:41.333||Q2|
|11||44. Pol Espargaro||Yamaha||Monster Yamaha Tech 3||1:41.385||Q2|
|12||29. Andrea Iannone||Ducati||Ducati Team||1:41.524||Q2|
|13||8. Hector Barbera||Ducati||Avintia Racing||1:42.003||Q1|
|14||45. Scott Redding||Honda||Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS||1:42.029||Q1|
|15||6. Stefan Bradl||Yamaha Forward||Athina Forward Racing||1:42.053||Q1|
|16||9. Danilo Petrucci||Ducati||Pramac Racing||1:42.155||Q1|
|17||63. Mike Di Meglio||Ducati||Avintia Racing||1:42.273||Q1|
|18||69. Nicky Hayden||Honda||Aspar MotoGP Team||1:42.485||Q1|
|19||76. Loris Baz||Yamaha Forward||Athina Forward Racing||1:42.592||Q1|
|20||19. Alvaro Bautista||Aprilia||Aprilia Racing Team Gresini||1:42.600||Q1|
|21||43. Jack Miller||Honda||CWM LCR Honda||1:42.928||Q1|
|22||50. Eugene Laverty||Honda||Aspar MotoGP Team||1:42.971||Q1|
|23||15. Alex de Angelis||ART||Octo IodaRacing Team||1:43.601||Q1|
|24||33. Marco Melandri||Aprilia||Aprilia Racing Team Gresini||1:44.345||Q1|
|25||17. Karel Abraham||Honda||AB Motoracing||No Time||Q1|