Red Bull Indianapolis Grand Prix, qualifying report: MotoGP, Moto2, Moto3
Marc Marquez continued his domination of the Red Bull Indianapolis Grand Prix weekend by claiming a spectacular pole position on Saturday, beating the previous pole record by over eight tenths of a second. The Repsol Honda Team rider will share Sunday’s front row with his closest title rivals, Jorge Lorenzo and Dani Pedrosa.
The fight at the end of Q2 was be to be thrilling, but Marquez’s eventual effort of 1’37.958 sees him claim pole by the huge margin of half a second. Behind, just fractions separated positions two to four which are filled by Yamaha Factory Racing’s Lorenzo and Repsol Honda’s Pedrosa – both still recovering from crashes at previous events – as well as Monster Yamaha Tech3’s Cal Crutchlow.
Alvaro Bautista delivered a solid lap for a top five grid spot on the GO&FUN Honda Gresini machine, sealing a second row placing as American Nicky Hayden led Ducati Team’s charge from sixth. Behind Tech3’s Bradley Smith who will start seventh, the biggest disappointment arguably came for LCR Honda MotoGP’s Stefan Bradl who had been inside the top three in all but one of the practice sessions; the German’s session was ruined by a crash at Turn 1 and he will start the race from eighth place.
Completing the top ten and frustrated to be behind several satellite riders were 2008 race winner Valentino Rossi (Yamaha Factory Racing) and Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team), while Energy T.I. Pramac Racing’s Andrea Iannone was 11th. Having moved into the shootout for the first time this season, Colin Edwards – the second American on this weekend’s grid – went on to qualify 12th for NGM Mobile Forward Racing. Missing Q2 for only the second time was Power Electronic Aspar’s Aleix Espargaro, who is the leading CRT representative in the standings, but bruised both hands when crashing in Free Practice 4; the Spaniard will line up 13th on Sunday.
The grid will be rounded out by American wildcard Blake Young, riding for Attack Performance Racing. After missing seven races through injury, compatriot Ben Spies was set to return this weekend, but has again been ruled out of action following a crash in third free practice this morning; having highsided on the exit of Turn 4, the Ignite Pramac Racing rider has suffered a separation to his left shoulder and will miss at least this race and next weekend’s Czech event as a result.
Moto2™ championship leader Scott Redding returned from a low-key start to the weekend to seize pole position for the Red Bull Indianapolis Grand Prix. The Marc VDS Racing Team rider will start alongside title rival Pol Espargaro (Tuenti HP 40) and Takaaki Nakagami (Italtrans Racing Team).
Espargaro, who had topped the final practice session earlier on Saturday, could be seen during qualifying to run in Redding’s slipstream; the latter slowed in a bid to avoid this from being possible, but his rival would apply the same tactics on his final run. Redding’s eventual pole time came in the form of 1’43.026, which sealed the top spot by just 27 thousandths of a second. Nakagami was a tenth and a half off pole, having begun the weekend on top by posting the quickest time in opening practice.
Row 2 will be made up of Tito Rabat (Tuenti HP 40), Simone Corsi (NGM Mobile Racing) and Nico Terol (Aspar Team Moto2), while Terol’s teammate and Sachsenring race winner Jordi Torres will start seventh from Maptaq SAG Zelos Team’s Marcel Schrotter and Italtrans’ Julian Simon. Reigning Moto3™ World Champion Sandro Cortese rounds out the top ten for Dynavolt Intact GP.
Further down the grid, a pair of less familiar faces will begin the race locked together, as American wildcard rider James Rispoli lines up 29th for GPTech and Thitipong Warokorn starts 30th for Thai Honda PTT Gresini Moto2; the Thai rookie replaces fellow countryman Ratthapark Wilairot, who has now retired from Grand Prix racing.
Alex Rins will start on pole position for the Moto3™ Red Bull Indianapolis Grand Prix, sharing the front row with Estrella Galicia 0,0 teammate Alex Marquez and Team Calvo’s Maverick Viñales. Championship leader Luis Salom (Red Bull KTM Ajo) will line up tenth, and was fortunate to escape major injury in a high-speed crash.
Pole for Rins is the Spaniard’s fourth of the season and second in succession, having also topped qualifying for the pre-summer break German Grand Prix which he went on to win. On Saturday at the legendary Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the Barcelona rider posted a best time of 1’47.392, edging out teammate Marquez by just under three tenths of a second. With Salom hitting trouble, Viñales’ third spot could provide an ideal platform from which to close in on the title lead.
During qualifying came a minor fall for Eric Granado (Mapfre Aspar Team Moto3) and two separate incidents for Brad Binder (Ambrogio Racing), but it was Salom who suffered the most frightening crash; the Red Bull KTM Ajo rider highsided in the middle of the first corner and was fortunate not to be collected by those who followed. Remarkably, the Mallorcan was able to re-join the session for the final six minutes, but will start three full rows behind pole position.
Row 2 will be occupied by Mahindra Racing’s Efren Vazquez, Caretta Technology – RTG’s Jack Miler and Ajo’s Arthur Sissis, whereas the third row will consist of Jonas Folger (Aspar), Miguel Oliveira (Mahindra) and Zulfahmi Khairuddin (Ajo). Joining Salom on Row 4 will be Marc VDS Racing Team rookie Livio Loi and La Fonte Tascaracing’s Alessandro Tonucci, as Salom attempts to stay out of trouble.