MotoGP: Five-time World Champion Lorenzo sets a new record Pole as Marquez amps up the drama with a crash
Jorge Lorenzo (Ducati Team) broke his own 2016 pole lap record at Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli in an adrenaline-fuelled qualifying on the Adriatic, searing around the venue in a 1:31.629 to lower his own fastest laptime and secure Ducati’s first pole at the venue since 2008. Jack Miller (Alma Pramac Racing) put in a stunner at his team’s home race to take second and qualify as top Independent Team rider, with Maverick Viñales (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) locking out the front row after a last lunge for the front.
One key name missing from that trio? Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team), top qualifier this season so far, did not make it onto the front row – he crashed. Lorenzo’s ominous form was certainly a key headline but the drama for the Championship leader lit up the session. Crashing on his second run in a relatively fast lowside, the number 93 was straight to his feet without pause for thought and sprinting to get a lift back to the pits. Once back in the paddock on the back of a scooter, he hit the ground running again to run through his Repsol Honda garage from front to back, straight back on his other machine and heading back out. Could he do another ‘Texas 2015’ style pole dash?
The first sector looked like it might it be possible as it lit up red, but the reigning Champion then lost some time and it wasn’t to be. So he’ll line up fifth – his worst qualifying in the premier class at the venue – and he’ll have some serious company in the form of Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team), who’s just alongside him in fourth.
Behind Dovizioso and Marquez, Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda Castrol) was sixth and completes the second row, suffering a low-drama crash near the end of the session. And the Brit broke some local hearts, with Valentino Rossi (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) pushed down to head up the third row.
Rossi has had a weekend of ups and downs so far at his home venue, just making it into that all-important top ten on Friday and continuing to work hard on Saturday to get race ready. In qualifying the rider from Tavullia was hovering around the second row, before just losing out in that last minute shuffle. Row 3 is completed by last year’s podium finisher Danilo Petrucci (Alma Pramac Racing) and fellow Independent Team rider Johann Zarco (Monster Yamaha Tech 3).
Alex Rins (Team Suzuki Ecstar) was tenth fastest and top Hamamatsu machine after teammate Andrea Iannone just failed to make it through to Q2 – he starts P13 – with two-time Misano winner Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda Team) in P11. Franco Morbidelli (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) completes the top 12.
Behind Iannone, wildcard compatriot Michele Pirro (Ducati Test Team) took P14 after a crash hampered his chances in Q1, and Alvaro Bautista (Angel Nieto Team) completed the top 15.
So that’s it for the premier class on Saturday. A three-time winner on pole, a dark horse with nothing to lose alongside him and a man who hasn’t won for a year make for an incredible front row – with everything to play for. Marquez and Dovizioso lurk close behind too, and the ‘Doctor’ can never be counted out on race day – especially considering his incredible support around Misano. Who will emerge from the melee ahead? The lights go out at 14:00 (GMT +2).
NEWS: in-season test dates confirmed
The MotoGP™ class will test on the 6th May at the Circuito de Jerez-Angel Nieto after the Spanish GP, and the second test will be held at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya after the Grand Prix there, on the 17th June. The final official test for the premier class in 2019 will be held at the Automotodrom Brno, on the 5th August.
The Moto3™ and Moto2™ classes, meanwhile, will test in Jerez and Barcelona on the Tuesdays after the premier class have tested, and they will test at the Red Bull Ring on the 12th August after the Austrian GP.
A two-day Official Test for the premier class is also forecast for the 28th and 29th August. If the Kymiring is confirmed on the 2020 MotoGP™ calendar, that will be held in Finland. If not, this test will be at Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli.