It was a dramatic day at the GoPro British Grand Prix and after weather affected several sessions, the schedule for Sunday has been changed due to the forecast. The MotoGP™ race will begin at the earlier time of 11:30 (GMT +1), with Moto3™ now planned for 13:00 but Moto2™ remaining at 14:30.
On Saturday as the grid headed out for a delayed Q2, however, it was Jorge Lorenzo (Ducati Team) who secured a sensational second pole position of the season at Silverstone, with teammate Andrea Dovizioso earning his third consecutive front row start in second on a track split between wet patches and a dry line elsewhere. That makes it a first Ducati 1-2 since 2006, with the two Bologna bullets joined on the front row by Johann Zarco (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) as the Frenchman returned to his early season qualifying form to impress.
The start of the second qualifying session was delayed following an incident involving several riders in FP4, including Tito Rabat (Reale Avintia Racing), who was taken to hospital nearby and will take no further part in the weekend. Once the green flags flew once again, the stage was set for a very close showdown for pole.
After graduating from Q1, Bradley Smith (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) was the early pace-setter, before Jack Miller (Alma Pramac Racing) led Dovizioso and Pramac teammate Danilo Petrucci over the line to give the Desmosedicis a provisional front row lock out. But that was just the start of the constant chopping and changing for pole, with home hero Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda Castrol), Zarco and Dovizioso then setting the fastest times of the session in tandem.
Not long after it was a case of deja vu for Miller as the Australian took the gamble to head out on slicks, just like he did in Argentina when it paid off for pole. This time, however, the cards – or the clock – didn’t deal him the same hand and at the front it remained a wet tyre dominated game as Lorenzo made his move to go provisional pole by 0.159, just pipping teammate Dovizioso. Ultimately that was all she wrote, and the two Ducatis stayed P1 and P2 as the chequered flag came out. There was a late change to who would join them on the front row though, with Zarco knocking Crutchlow out of third on his final lap – meaning the Brit starts P4 at his home GP.
For Championship leader Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team), meanwhile, it was a tricky session. Managing to salvage P5 on his final lap – 0.928 behind the Ducati duo – the reigning Champion and former winner at the venue will be gunning for a good start from Row 2. Petrucci eventually claimed sixth to join the Hondas of Crutchlow and Marquez on the second row.
Andrea Iannone (Team Suzuki Ecstar) spearheads the third row for Sunday’s showdown, ahead of a stunning showing from Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Q1 graduate Smith. The Brit took the Austrian factory’s best qualifying of the season in P8, just ahead of the gambling Miller. Smith’s fellow Q1 graduate Alex Rins (Team Suzuki Ecstar) rounds out the top ten.
After such a strong start to the weekend, Q2 didn’t go the way Maverick Viñales (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) and teammate Valentino Rossi would have envisioned. The Spaniard will start P11, with Rossi just behind after missing out on a final flying lap by a fraction of a second. It’s 12th for the ‘Doctor’, but he’ll have memories of his Austrian ride through the field fresh in his mind as he aims for a repeat.
The shake-up on the grid sets us up for a classic on Sunday, with former winners at the venue scattered over the first few rows and everything to play for. What will the weather bring? Find out when the lights go out at 11:30 local time (GMT +1) for the GoPro British Grand Prix.
On a drying Silverstone circuit, Francesco Bagnaia (Sky Racing Team VR46) grabbed pole position on his final lap at the GoPro British Grand Prix to deny a maiden Moto2™ pole for Remy Gardner (Tech 3 Racing). Nevertheless, the Australian took his first career front row start in P2, with Alex Marquez (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) completing the front row in third.
Sunny skies welcomed the Moto2™ grid for qualifying after rain had disrupted much of the day and as expected, the quickest lap times came at the end of the session as track conditions continued to improve. Bagnaia sat on provisional pole with less than three minutes remaining, before Free Practice’s fastest rider Marcel Schrötter (Dynavolt Intact GP) jumped to the top, closely followed by Marquez at the checkered flag before Gardner lit up the timing screens – going provisional pole by 0.064. However, despite making a mistake on his penultimate run, the Championship leader was able to get a final flying lap in – making it count to snatch pole by nearly two tenths.
Schrötter slipped down to fourth, with Luca Marini (Sky Racing Team VR46) ending qualifying in fifth after jumping from 18th with only seconds remaining. Fabio Quartararo (+ Ego Speed Up Racing) lines up at the rear of the second row, with Mattia Pasini (Italtrans Racing Team) just 0.016 behind the Frenchman, in seventh. Iker Lecuona (Swiss Innovative Investors) secured eighth place on the grid, just ahead of teammate and home favourite Sam Lowes in ninth, despite the British rider battling for pole throughout as he aims to earn a first podium of the season in front of his home crowd.
Rookie Romano Fenati (Marinelli Snipers Team) rounds out the top ten in qualifying, with Xavi Vierge (Dynavolt Intact GP) producing a heroic ride in P11 despite fracturing his wrist at the Austrian GP. Lorenzo Baldassarri (Pons HP40) completes the top 12.
Championship challenger Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM Ajo) has some serious work to do on Sunday if he’s to challenge title rival Bagnaia at Silverstone, as the Portuguese rider could only manage P23 on Saturday afternoon after a difficult weekend so far.
Rain is forecast on Sunday, so who will come out on top in the intermediate class? Lights go out for Moto2™ at a different time to usual, with the race getting underway at 14:30 local time (GMT +1).
Jorge Martin (Del Conca Gresini Moto3) continues to defy the odds after taking pole position at the GoPro British Grand Prix despite still recovering from a broken wrist – coming back out after the rain with three minutes on the clock and winning the mad three-minute dash to pole. But by the end of the flurry it was incredibly close, with Jaume Masia (Bester Capital Dubai) just 0.001 behind in second and Lorenzo Dalla Porta (Leopard Racing) only a further 0.020 in arrears to complete a tightly-contested front row.
It was Martin’s teammate Fabio Di Giannantonio who sat on provisional pole as a shower hit Silverstone with 20 minutes of the session to go. However, the sun soon re-appeared, giving the lightweight class just enough time to get two more flying laps in. Fourth place Albert Arenas (Angel Nieto Team Moto3) joined Martin, Masia and Dalla Porta in leapfrogging ‘Diggia’ at the end, and the Italian was eventually forced to settle for fifth.
Tatsuki Suzuki (SIC58 Squadra Corse) will line up sixth on the grid, with Gabriel Rodrigo (RBA BOE Skull Rider) slipping to seventh after sitting P2 before the riders came back out and left to rue his late crash at Turn 11 while on a personal best lap. Enea Bastianini (Leopard Racing) will launch from P8 on the grid as the Italian threatened the front row on his final run, with Nicolo Bulega (Sky Racing Team VR46) grabbing ninth and Marcos Ramirez (Bester Capital Dubai) rounding out the top ten.
Championship leader Marco Bezzecchi (Redox PrustelGP) was tucked in behind Martin on the final flying lap before suddenly sliding out at Turn 9 to end his hopes of a British GP pole – P11 for the Italian.
Niccolo Antonelli (SIC58 Squadra Corse) will start 12th despite an incident with Adam Norrodin (Petronas Sprinta Racing), just ahead of Aron Canet (Estrella Galicia 0,0), who missed the opportunity to improve his time by heading out on wets and then sitting it out. Friday’s fastest man Philipp Öttl (Südmetall Schedl GP Racing) P14. Norrodin rounds out the fastest fifteen.
It’s a shuffled grid and there’s rain expected on Sunday – could someone like John McPhee (CIP – Green Power) reproduce his Brno 2016 heroics? Will Bezzecchi blast through? Or can Martin strike back? Find out when the lightweight class go racing at 11:20 local time (GMT +1).
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