Gran Premio IVECO de Aragón, Qualifying round-up: MotoGP, Moto2, Moto3

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Championship leader Marc Marquez has achieved his seventh pole position of the MotoGP™ season, edging out Jorge Lorenzo by one hundredth of a second at MotorLand Aragon. Last year’s winner Dani Pedrosa will start third, with Valentino Rossi and Stefan Bradl completing the top five.

Marquez’s seventh pole and third in succession came following a tight battle in north-eastern Spain, with MotorLand Aragon being one of seven anti-clockwise circuits on the current calendar. Lorenzo had topped the timesheets on Friday morning before Marquez moved ahead, although – following a damp third session – it was Pedrosa who led the way in final practice ahead of qualifying.

The record pole time was delivered by Marquez in the form of a 1’47.804, with Yamaha Factory Racing’s Lorenzo preventing a Repsol Honda Team qualifying one-two. This means the top three on the grid will start in championship order, with Marquez holding a 34-point advantage over both of his rivals. Lorenzo’s teammate Valentino Rossi also saw his grid place match his position in the championship, being demoted from second to fourth in the final moments, ahead of Honda satellite riders Stefan Bradl (LCR Honda MotoGP) and Alvaro Bautista (GO&FUN Honda Gresini).

Struggling for top speed on Aragon’s kilometre-long back straight, Cal Crutchlow could muster no more than seventh place while Monster Yamaha Tech3 teammate Bradley Smith qualified eighth and only two tenths of a second slower, having progressed from Q1 after being denied the chance of a direct Q2 position due chiefly to track conditions in third practice. Ducati Team’s Andrea Dovizioso and Power Electronics Aspar’s Aleix Espargaro (the leading CRT runner) completed the top ten, while Ducati’s Nicky Hayden (11th) and Energy T.I. Pramac’s Andrea Iannone (12th) rounded out the first half of the grid.

Yonny Hernandez enjoyed a strong debut for Ignite Pramac Racing and almost a spot in Q2 en route to 13th place, while Aspar’s Randy de Puniet settled for 16th following problems. Italian debutant Luca Scassa (Cardion AB Motoracing) will head up the back row from 22nd, covering for Karel Abraham, who is out for the rest of the season, while Australia’s Damian Cudlin – replacing Hernandez at PBM for both Aragón and Phillip Island – experienced a crash from which he suffered minor injuries to his right hand and arm. This weekend’s race marks Round 14 of 2013 and the fourth at MotorLand Aragon, which first appeared on the MotoGP™ calendar in 2010.


Nico Terol was fastest in the Moto2™ qualifying session for the Gran Premio Iveco de Aragon, picking up his first pole position in the class. The Aspar Team Moto2 rider will start alongside Tuenti HP 40’s Tito Rabat and Pol Espargaro, with championship leader Scott Redding having managed only 13th place.

At the end of Day 1, Italtrans Racing Team’s Takaaki Nakagami (second place finisher at the last four races) had topped the timesheets from Rabat, with championship contenders Espargaro and Redding both struggling. On this occasion, it was Terol – one day after his 25th birthday – atop the pile with his best effort of 1’53.812, with Rabat less than two tenths behind. Critically for third-placed Espargaro, he lines up ten places ahead of Redding and would be capable of snatching the championship lead should he win with the Englishman hitting trouble on Sunday.

The aforementioned Nakagami will head Row 2 from Terol’s Aspar teammate Jordi Torres and NGM Mobile Racing’s Simone Corsi, while reigning Moto3™ World Champion Sandro Cortese will line up ninth to equal his second-best qualifying performance of the campaign to date. Perhaps the biggest story of the day was that of championship leader Redding, whose 13th position was due to a combination of lack of grip and traffic, while Marc VDS Racing Team colleague Mika Kallio faired even worse and qualified 15th.

Terol’s pole position is the ninth of his career and first since qualifying quickest for the Malaysian Grand Prix towards the end of his title-winning 125 campaign in 2011. He now targets his second Moto2™ victory, having already triumphed in the inaugural Grand Prix of the Americas.


Estrella Galicia 0,0’s Alex Rins will begin the Gran Premio Iveco de Aragon from pole position, starting alongside Maverick Viñales and teammate Alex Marquez. Philipp Oettl put in a standout performance for fourth place, with championship leader Luis Salom managing no more than eighth on the grid.

Following heavy rain in the early hours of Saturday morning, final practice had been held in mixed conditions before the sun came out over MotorLand Aragon in the afternoon. Courtesy of his truly impressive effort, Rins grabbed the top spot by no less than seven tenths of a second thanks to a leading lap time of 1’58.571. With Salom back on Row 3, Rins and second-placed Viñales (Team Calvo) are well aware that they are presented with an opportunity to reduce the championship lead of the Red Bull KTM Ajo rider, who heads Viñales by 19 points and Rins by 21.

A superb performance by Philipp Oettl, son of former Grand Prix racer Peter, and currently in his maiden full World Championship season, saw the Tec Interwetten Moto3 Racing rider achieve a front row position before being demoted by Marquez; nevertheless, his second row placing is by far his best to date and continues a strong run of form this weekend. Efren Vazquez will line up fifth for Mahindra Racing, while Jonas Folger delivered an inspiring and unexpected performance to qualify sixth for Mapfre Aspar Team Moto3, despite having undergone surgery only last week after fracturing his left ankle in a crash last time out at Misano.

With Salom eighth, he is sandwiched into the middle of the third row by Mahindra’s Miguel Oliveira and Red Bull KTM Ajo teammate Arthur Sissis, while second teammate Zulfahmi Khairuddin ended proceedings in 11th place following a small incident at Turn 12. Wildcard entrants and CEV rivals Maria Herrera and Bryan Schouten will start together on the grid, 31st and 32nd for Junior Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 and Dutch Racing Team, respectively.


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