Jorge Lorenzo sent records tumbling with another magnificent performance in qualifying at Le Mans. The world champion claimed his 63rd pole position, moving him back ahead of Valentino Rossi as the most successful qualifier of all time and in doing so, set the fastest ever lap time of the Bugatti circuit.
In a fascinating conclusion to FP3, Andrea Iannone snatched the fastest lap time away from Lorenzo after following the Yamaha in the closing minutes but no matter how hard they tried, no-one could keep pace with the Spaniard in Q2. On his very first attempt, Jorge clocked the quickest lap of the weekend so far, a 1:32.437. Iannone did manage to lap within half a tenth of the no.99 on his second flyer but Lorenzo extended his lead back out to 0.233s moments afterwards.
While Jorge retreated to the pits, two of his challengers hit problems with Dani Pedrosa losing control of his Repsol Honda at the Dunlop chicane, leaving him powerless to prevent himself from tumbling to eleventh, while Iannone also took a costly tumble, losing the front of his Ducati at turn 12. The chief beneficiary was Marc Marquez who leapt up to second with a tremendous final sector on his last lap but Lorenzo was untouchable, becoming the first rider ever to set a sub-1:32 lap of Le Mans to confirm his place on pole.
Pol Espargaro kept up his sensational practice form to qualify fourth ahead of Andrea Dovizioso while Tech 3 teammate Bradley Smith made a welcome return to form, beating Valentino Rossi to sixth spot. Maverick Vinales starts eighth for Suzuki ahead of Cal Crutchlow with the fit-again Danilo Petrucci pushing Pedrosa out of the top ten.
2016 Monster Energy Grand Prix de France (Qualifying Classification)
|1||99. Jorge LORENZO||Yamaha||Movistar Yamaha MotoGP||1:31.975||Q2|
|2||93. Marc MARQUEZ||Honda||Repsol Honda Team||1:32.416||Q2|
|3||29. Andrea IANNONE||Ducati||Ducati Team||1:32.469||Q2|
|4||44. Pol ESPARGARO||Yamaha||Monster Yamaha Tech 3||1:32.502||Q2|
|5||4. Andrea DOVIZIOSO||Ducati||Ducati Team||1:32.587||Q2|
|6||38. Bradley SMITH||Yamaha||Monster Yamaha Tech 3||1:32.820||Q2|
|7||46. Valentino ROSSI||Yamaha||Movistar Yamaha MotoGP||1:32.829||Q2|
|8||25. Maverick VINALES||Suzuki||Team SUZUKI ECSTAR||1:32.933||Q2|
|9||35. Cal CRUTCHLOW||Honda||LCR Honda||1:32.963||Q2|
|10||9. Danilo PETRUCCI||Ducati||Octo Pramac Yakhnich||1:33.102||Q2|
|11||26. Dani PEDROSA||Honda||Repsol Honda Team||1:33.109||Q2|
|12||41. Aleix ESPARGARO||Suzuki||Team SUZUKI ECSTAR||1:33.115||Q2|
|13||8. Hector BARBERA||Ducati||Avintia Racing||1:33.291||Q1|
|14||45. Scott REDDING||Ducati||Octo Pramac Yakhnich||1:33.310||Q1|
|15||68. Yonny HERNANDEZ||Ducati||Aspar MotoGP Team||1:33.360||Q1|
|16||50. Eugene LAVERTY||Ducati||Aspar MotoGP Team||1:33.452||Q1|
|17||6. Stefan BRADL||Aprilia||Aprilia Racing Team Gresini||1:34.003||Q1|
|18||43. Jack MILLER||Honda||EG 0,0 Marc VDS||1:34.049||Q1|
|19||19. Alvaro BAUTISTA||Aprilia||Aprilia Racing Team Gresini||1:34.333||Q1|
|20||53. Tito RABAT||Honda||EG 0,0 Marc VDS||1:34.348||Q1|
|21||76. Loris BAZ||Ducati||Avintia Racing||1:34.455||Q1|