San Marino GP, Misano: Qualifying round-up

 In MotoGP, News

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MotoGP

Marc Marquez has impressively collected his sixth pole position of the 2013 MotoGP™ season, beating Casey Stoner’s Misano lap record in the process. The championship leader will start alongside Jorge Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi, with teammate Dani Pedrosa coming from fourth place on the grid.

As qualifying drew to a close at the Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli, it looked as though Marquez had beaten Lorenzo by just 24 thousandths of a second. The Repsol Honda Team man (despite having suffered an accident during the preceding fourth practice session) then delivered a crushing blow in the form of 1’32.915, establishing the new qualifying record and sealing his second consecutive pole by over half a second. Lorenzo was comfortably second ahead of Yamaha Factory Racing partner Rossi, both now running with seamless gearbox for the first time. In fourth spot, Honda’s Pedrosa – on pole last year – was clearly frustrated for the duration of the day and was eight tenths of a second off the pole position time.

Cal Crutchlow delivered an inspiring lap for fifth place, having been outside of the combined top ten in practice, which meant he passed through Q1 for the first time. The Englishman will fill the middle of Row 2 ahead of Aleix Espargaro, again very much punching above his weight to qualify his Power Electronics Aspar ART machine in sixth position. Stefan Bradl starts seventh for LCR Honda MotoGP, ahead of GO&FUN Honda Gresini’s Alvaro Bautista (who finished on the podium here last year) and Ducati Team duo Andrea Dovizioso and Nicky Hayden.

A total of six Italians will start this weekend’s race, two being on Row 4 as Pramac Racing teammates Michele Pirro and Andrea Iannone have qualified 11th and 12th. Bradley Smith struggled to 13th spot after a Turn 14 crash at the end of Q1, while Hector Barbera managed 17th place as the only Avintia Blusens rider to be running with a new pneumatic valve engine. The 24-rider grid will be completed by Came IodaRacing Project’s Lukas Pesek.

As he also did at Indianapolis in mid-August, Marc Marquez has topped every season in which he has taken part so far this weekend. Sunday’s GP Aperol di San Marino e Riviera di Rimini, Round 13 of the season, begins at 2pm local time (GMT +2).

Moto2

A last-gasp lap from Pol Espargaro allowed the Moto2™ title challenger to claim pole position for the GP Aperol di San Marino e Riviera di Rimini. The Tuenti HP 40 rider will start alongside teammate Tito Rabat and Italtrans Racing Team’s Takaaki Nakagami, with championship leader Scott Redding in fifth position.

It looked as though the top spot would go the way of Nakagami, who led for most of the session and had locked out both of the opening practice periods on Friday. Espargaro had other plans, though, and posted 1’37.666 to collect his fourth pole of the campaign – and the Catalan is yet to be beaten when starting from pole this year.

Although Rabat and Nakagami were also denied pole, the collective performance of the front row riders suggests Sunday’s race will be extremely close, as less than one tenth of a second covers the front trio. In fifth spot, championship leader Redding (Marc VDS Racing Team) will be sandwiched on the second row by Tom Luthi (Interwetten Paddock Moto2 Racing) and Xavier Simeon (Maptaq SAG Zelos Team), while 11th placed Mattia Pasini (NGM Mobile Racing) was the top Italian in qualifying after recovering from an early fall at Turn 5.

Arguably out of position is Redding’s teammate Mika Kallio, starting 16th ahead of Blusens Avintia’s Alex Mariñelarena who achieves his best qualifying result to date. Sunday’s intermediate class race will begin at 12:20pm local time (GMT +2).

Moto3

Germany’s Jonas Folger will start the Moto3™ GP Aperol di San Marino e Riviera di Rimini from pole position, his second of the 2013 season. The Mapfre Aspar Team Moto3 rider will be joined on the front row by Estrella Galicia 0,0’s Alex Rins and Team Calvo’s Maverick Viñales, with championship leader Luis Salom tenth.

As is so often the case in qualifying, a flurry of rapid lap times shook up the order and provided a dramatic climax to proceedings at Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli. Folger was rapid throughout, however, claiming pole number two of the year (and his second in Italy) with a leading effort of 1’42.707. This saw off Rins’ own best by less than one tenth of a second, while title contender Viñales cemented yet another front row slot. Critically, rival Salom (Red Bull KTM Ajo, who suffered an accident on Friday) could manage no more than tenth place, 1.2 seconds off the top spot, and will aim to avoid trouble on the opening lap of Sunday’s race.

The second row positions will be occupied by a number of standout performers, as Ajo’s Zulfahmi Khairuddin and GO&FUN Gresini Moto3’s Niccolo Antonelli achieved fourth and fifth positions ahead of Mahindra Racing’s Miguel Oliveira. Row 3 is likely to be an equally happy place, as Eric Granado and Isaac Viñales delivered impressive performances to qualify seventh and eight for their respective Aspar and Ongetta-Centro Seta outfits. Rins’ teammate Alex Marquez will start ninth, having crashed early on in qualifying as Khairuddin had already done.

In 21st place, it was a respectable result for Avant Tecno rider Niklas Ajo, as the Finn had returned from a CT scan in hospital following a heavy crash in morning practice. Further back, wildcard Luca Marini (Twelve Racing and half-brother of nine-time World Champion Valentino Rossi) will start his first ever World Championship Grand Prix from 29th on the grid. Sunday’s race starts at 11am local time (GMT +2).

Source: motogp.com

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