MotoGP

Lorenzo denies Dovizioso for pole in tense rain-affected qualifying

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Lorenzo Silverstone
Credit: motogp.com

Jorge Lorenzo has claimed pole for the British GP at Silverstone in mixed conditions, setting a pole lap time of 2:10.155 ahead of Andrea Dovizioso and Johann Zarco. The session started an hour later than scheduled due to delays caused by safety concerns, largely thanks to the heavy rain.

Although not forecast, heavy rain came during FP4 and the session was red flagged. Five riders went off track at the same corner due to standing water causing the bikes to aquaplane. Tito Rabat was involved in a nasty crash and has been airlifted to University Hospital Coventry, conscious but with multiple fractures to his leg.

Q1 eventually started when conditions were deemed safe enough, and it was British rider Bradley Smith that dominated the session. He was up to 3 seconds ahead of his competitors at some points in the session and eventually finished on a lap time of 2:13.340, three tenths ahead of Alex Rins who also progressed to Q2. Dani Pedrosa was looking strong for much of Q1 but couldn’t get another lap in like most other riders, meaning he ended up pushed down to 6th in the session and 16th on the grid.

When Q2 was about to start, riders entered the pit lane just as the red flag was bought out; the session was delayed for some time due to safety concerns, as the air ambulance was not available whilst it flew Rabat to hospital. Q2 eventually began an hour later than scheduled in mixed conditions, with parts of the track fully wet and other parts dry. Many riders took turns for the top spot throughout the session, with Smith setting the fastest lap of the first timed runs. Jack Miller was the only rider to gamble on the slicks but this time the gamble didn’t pay off and he ran off track due to lack of grip.

For the final timed laps, it was Zarco that sat on pole and many riders were setting red sector times. Dovizioso came out on top but was swiftly knocked down by his team-mate Lorenzo who remained unchallenged. Marc Marquez could only manage 5th place, whilst Cal Crutchlow will start 4th on the grid for his home GP. The satellite Yamaha team faired much better than the factory team despite the factory riders having a strong weekend so far, with Maverick Viñales and Valentino Rossi 11th and 12th on the grid respectively.

Although Scott Redding couldn’t quite make it out of Q1, it was otherwise a good qualifying for the British riders with Crutchlow on the 2nd row ahead of the factory Honda and Smith starting in 8th position. However, with the forecast for tomorrow much more rain than we saw today, the safety concerns could cause problems with the scheduled timings.

 

2018 GoPro British Grand Prix (Qualifying)

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