New pole record for Marquez at Le Mans
Having secured MotoGP™ pole again at the Monster Energy Grand Prix de France Marc Marquez will head the grid for Sunday’s fifth race of 2014, with the front row also featuring Pol Espargaro and Andrea Dovizioso.
After the first flying laps Marquez was immediately top with a 1'32.567, to set a new fastest ever lap of Le Mans, the World Champion then improving to a remarkable 1'32.042 time to maintain his 100% qualifying record in 2014.
Repsol Honda’s Marquez was 0.692s clear of rookie Espargaro with the latter securing his best MotoGP grid result to date. Espargaro’s performance at his team’s home round will fill him with confidence ahead of just his fifth premier class race.
Making good use of the extra soft tyre Ducati Team’s Andrea Dovizioso qualified 0.713s behind Marquez to take the final spot on the front row.
The second row features Stefan Bradl (LCR Honda MotoGP), who has recovered quickly from arm pump surgery since Jerez, with Valentino Rossi (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) reaching his personal target of qualifying in the top five as he slots in behind the German.
Jorge Lorenzo (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) was 0.857s off pole in sixth place but he will still be confident of a good race at a venue where he has a strong record.
Making up an all Spanish the third row are Alvaro Bautista (GO&FUN Honda Gresini), top Open rider Aleix Espargaro (NGM Forward Racing) and Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda Team).
The fourth row meanwhile comprises Bradley Smith (Monster Yamaha Tech3), Andrea Iannone (Pramac Racing) and Cal Crutchlow (Ducati Team), with Iannone briefly flashing up in second place provisionally before his lap time was cancelled as he exceeded the track limits.
Marquez charges to fifth consecutive pole
After dominating the Monster Energy Grand Prix de France weekend so far, Repsol Honda’s Marc Marquez recorded his fifth pole of the season - setting the fastest lap ever on two wheels at the Le Mans circuit.
Teammate Dani Pedrosa will start from the third row of the grid in ninth position after struggling somewhat in qualifying.
Marquez wasted no time to set a fast time on his first run in the sunny conditions of Le Mans. However, on his second exit of Q2 Marc bettered his own time by half a second and lapped the 4.185km circuit in a new record time of 1’32.042, which was 0.692 faster than anyone else, and beat Pedrosa’s record time from 2008 by 0.605s (1’32.647).
Marquez commented, "I'm very happy to be on pole and also with the gap between myself and second place on the timesheet. Tomorrow will be interesting as my main rivals - Dani, Jorge (Lorenzo) and Valentino (Rossi) - are not on the front row but on rows two and three. However, I know they will be there in the battle and we must be prepared. Starting from pole is an advantage and I will try to capitalise from it and give 100% - as always - to fight for the win!”
It was a tougher session for teammate Pedrosa who had been fast all weekend but was unable to push in hard qualifying. Despite being the fastest rider in the speed trap with a top speed of 309.7km/h, Pedrosa was only able to qualify ninth for tomorrow’s 28 lap race with a time of 1’33.023.
“I’m riding a little smoother this weekend and not so aggressive, due to my injured forearm, and when I wanted to push to improve my times I wasn’t really able to. I think that in general we have done a good job in practice and I will try to get a good start in the race, because I am very far back. It will be important to bring the tyre temperature up on the warm-up lap and try to overtake some riders in the opening laps,” said Pedrosa