Dani Pedrosa took a stunning pole position, his 29th in MotoGP and the 47th in his career, edging teammate Marc Marquez by just half a tenth in a breath-taking battle for the top spot during the final minutes of the Gran Premio Red Bull de España in Jerez. Cal Crutchlow in third completes an all-Honda front row for the first time since the German GP in 2014 (at the Sachsenring).
Movistar Yamaha MotoGP riders Maverick Viñales and Valentino Rossi continued the action today at the Circuito de Jerez, in the FP3, FP4 and Q2 sessions. They secured fourth and seventh place respectively on the grid for tomorrow. C Crutchlow of LCR Honda will start on P3.
Marc made good use of the work he did on the setup of his RC213V, and after a fourth-fastest time in the morning’s FP3 session ensured him a direct passage to Q2, he posted the top time in FP4 and then fought hard for the pole in qualifying.Dani has led every session this weekend apart from today’s FP4, showing a competitive pace and dazzling speed in every condition. Tomorrow he will start from pole for the first time since Malaysia in 2015, and he’ll do so at the 3,000thGrand Prix of the world championship.
”This was probably one of the best poles of my career because it was a really hard battle. It was a strategic end of the session with Marc there right behind me, so for a moment I wasn’t sure if I should push or not. There was no choice anyway, so I just went for it. I’m very happy because our main target for the GP was to be on the front row. The feeling was really good, and it has been good all weekend, so I told myself, Okay, let’s try it. It has been a while since I’ve led in qualifying; I’ve struggled a lot last season so I’m very happy with today. Thanks to the team for the hard work, and I’m also happy for Honda. It looks like we’re doing really well so let’s focus for tomorrow and do the best we can,” said Dani Pedrosa.
Movistar Yamaha adds:
Viñales was the last rider out this afternoon to clock a time in Q2 and immediately moved up to provisional fourth place, before the pace picked up. He put his head down and improved his time to a 1‘38.677s to promote to third on the provisional front row and returned to the box. On a one-stop strategy, he entered pit lane with seven minutes of the session remaining and went back out on track one and a half minute later.
He had just enough time for two more tries and didn’t hesitate to put the hammer down to drop a 1’38s lap, but he was unable to improve on his earlier achievement. His second hot lap of the session was fast enough to hold fourth place, 0.428s from pole, on the second row of the grid.
Teammate Rossi took a little while to get underway at the start of the 15-minute qualifying heat, allowing most of the traffic to leave before him. He entered a relatively empty track, but was struggling to breach into the top of the timesheets. His best lap on his first run, a 1’39.305s, kept him in tenth place as he entered the pits with less than seven minutes on the clock.
A little more than two minutes later, he was back out again and clearly on a mission. Having dropped to 11th place in the meantime, he was determined to better his position and had two more chances to strive for a top result, which he took with both hands to drop under the 1‘39-mark on his first try. His best lap, a 1’38.908s, 0.659s from the front, earned him seventh on the grid for tomorrow’s race.
eom/Team Press Releases