MotoGP Silverstone qualifying: Marquez with lap record and pole

Repsol Honda's Marc Marquez on pole position for tomorrow's British Grand Prix, with Movistar Yamaha's Jorge Lorenzo second, Dani Pedrosa third; Valentino Rossi fourth

motogp silverstone qualifying marquez
Reigning MotoGP World Champion Marc Marquez put his emphatic stamp on Saturday's qualifying proceedings at Sliverstone by setting a new lap record on his way to pole position for the British Grand Prix.

MotoGP's qualifying session in Silverstone was undoubtedly characterized by thrilling duels, but Marc Marquez beat first and foremost himself to claim the 55th pole position of his career and rewrite the track record. The Spaniard already made a sensation by being the first rider to go below the 2:01 mark and lapping in 2:00.691 at his first attempt, but raised the bar even higher after mounting the second fresh rear tire, posting a scorching 2:00.234. Rather than simply confirming his return to top form after the early-season chassis issues, Marquez's two flying laps in England stole the show and took everyone by surprise. Especially Jorge Lorenzo, who dominated the free-practice sessions and constantly dictated the pace but was forced to yield by 0.288 seconds. Dani Pedrosa and Valentino Rossi also went below the 2:01 mark, ending in third and fourth position respectively, but never posing a threat to the pole position holder.

motogp silverstone qualifying lorenzo
Movistar Yamaha MotoGP's Jorge Lorenzo came up second by 0.288 seconds after Marquez's explosive qualifying effort, but the Majorcan was satisfied with his performance and feels confident for the race.

“It was a couple of good laps, though not perfect ones,” commented Marquez, smiling. “Maybe I could have gone below the 2:00 mark, but I was on the limit and missed just a little something in braking in the last sector. Anyway I had a great feeling on the bike in FP4 already and knew I could score pole position.”

“Once again, the qualifying session saw many riders post incredible lap times,” conceded Lorenzo. “Everyone seemed willing to go beyond the limit to gain that extra tenth, and I needed an almost perfect lap to score first row. The Hondas were just explosive, but I'm proud of our performance.” Given the pace shown in race configuration, where they both consistently lapped in the mid 2:01s on new tires, the two Spaniards at the top have good odds to pull away and build a gap early in the race, which is exactly what their closest competitors want to avoid.

“First row is really important here in Silverstone, because Lorenzo and Marquez usually have great starts and it's crucial to stay with them past the first few corners,” analyzed Pedrosa. “They have a great rhythm, and we still lack something compared to them, despite the clear steps forward. The weather will also play a key role. If it changes (there are high chances of rain during race time), it will be important to be ready to adapt.”

“I'd still prefer to race in the dry, because everything can happen, both good and bad, in the rain,” added Rossi. “I still need to focus on the long distance, because last year I had a drop in performance after the first six or seven laps and couldn't stay with Marc and Jorge. Also, Pedrosa is really strong here, so even just stepping on the podium won't be easy. My first goal is to beat Lorenzo, because I know that if he finished in front of me, Marquez and Pedrosa, I'd lose a lot of points. At the moment, we miss something, but this is such a long track that even a small change can make a difference.”

In a day to forget, Ducati was not able to join the first-row scuffle, placing the first GP15 (ridden by Andrea Iannone) on the grid in ninth position, behind four privateer bikes. Andrea Dovizioso, who had shown the most promise on the Italian prototype in the earlier sessions, even dropped back to twelfth position after clutch issues kept him in the pits during FP4.

“I'm really disappointed because we worked hard and well and I could have stayed in the top four positions,” said Dovizioso. “I made only a few laps in the afternoon and wasn't able to verify the track conditions, which have changed significantly. These things should not happen, especially in such important moments. I'm not blaming anyone in particular, but there's a big group working and clearly we under-performed today. The clutch had already given us some troubles in the past, so this type of incident cannot happen. I'm really pissed off.”

It is rare to see Dovizioso lose his cool but, come tomorrow, the proverbial English weather may shuffle the cards further. The line between victory and defeat has rarely seemed so thin.

MotoGP Silverstone qualifying results:
1. Marc Marquez (SPA) Repsol Honda Team 2:00.234
2. Jorge Lorenzo (SPA) Movistar Yamaha MotoGP 2:00.522
3. Dani Pedrosa (SPA) Repsol Honda Team 2:00.716
4. Valentino Rossi (ITA) Movstar Yamaha MotoGP 2:00.947
5. Pol Espargaró (SPA) Monster Tech 3 Yamaha 2:01.031
6. Bradley Smith (GBR) Monster Tech 3 Yamaha 2:01.140
7. Scott Redding (GBR) Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS Honda 2:01.329
8. Cal Crutchlow (GBR) LCR Honda 2:01.376
9. Andrea Iannone (ITA) Ducati Team 2:01.874
10. Aleix Espargaró (SPA) Team Suzuki Ecstar 2:01.880
11. Yonny Hernandez (COL) Octo Pramac Racing Ducati 2:01.894
12. Andrea Dovizioso (ITA) Ducati Team 2:01.979
13. Maverick Viñales (SPA) Team Suzuki Ecstar 2:02.016
14. Stefan Bradl (GER) Aprilia Racing Team Gresini 2:02.657
15. Loris Baz (FRA) Athinà Forward Racing Yamaha 2:02.677
16. Jack Miller (AUS) LCR Honda 2:02.697
17. Hector Barbera (SPA) Avintia Racing Ducati 2:02.784
18. Danilo Petrucci (ITA) Octo Pramac Racing Ducati 2:02.800
19. Eugene Laverty (IRL) Aspar Honda Team 2:02.894
20. Alvaro Bautista (SPA) Aprilia Racing Team Gresini 2:02.908
21. Nicky Hayden (USA) Aspar Honda Team 2:02.946
22. Mike Di Meglio (FRA) Avintia Racing Ducati 2:03.641
23. Claudio Corti (ITA) Athinà Forward Racing Yamaha 2:03.789
24. Karel Abraham (CZE) AB Motoracing Honda 2:04.133
25. Alex De Angelis (RSM) E-Motion Ioda Racing Aprilia 2:04.304