Marquez Makes Magic at Magnificent Mugello
Marc Marquez made some more magic at magnificent Mugello, storming to pole position on his last lap of qualifying for the Italian Grand Prix.
Marquez Makes Magic at Magnificent Mugello
Mugello, Italy, June 1, 2019
Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team RC213V) made some more magic at magnificent Mugello today, storming to pole position on his last lap of qualifying for tomorrow’s Italian Grand Prix. The 26-year-old Spaniard timed his attack to perfection, riding a stunning final lap and using the slipstream from a rival’s machine to find even more speed on the charge to the finish line.
The reigning MotoGP World Champion is leading this year’s title race and two Sundays ago at Le Mans he scored Honda’s 300th win in the premier 500cc/MotoGP class. Today’s performance was his 56th MotoGP pole position, which puts him just two poles behind Honda’s all-time greatest qualifier, Mick Doohan, who took 58 pole positions on Honda NSR500 machines during the 1990s.
Marquez finished the first three free practice sessions third fastest and worked with his crew to create a perfect strategy for the 15-minute Q2 qualifying session, run in bright sunshine at this stunningly picturesque venue.
The five-times MotoGP king changed tires midway through, waited calmly in the pits, then rode out onto the track with five minutes remaining. He chased title-rival Andrea Dovizioso through much of his final lap, closing the gap until he was right behind the Italian as they swept onto the start-finish straight, which is MotoGP’s fastest and where the cleverest riders use a slipstream to increase their speed. Marquez calculated the gap perfectly to take pole, 0.214 seconds in front of Fabio Quartararo.
Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda CASTROL RC213V) also rode an excellent session. The 33-year Briton was eighth fastest in free practice, but was ready to up his pace when it mattered most. He improved his feeling with his RC213V during free practice, so he was able to extract the maximum speed out of softer tires during qualifying, lapping Mugello just 0.560 seconds down on Marquez. Tomorrow Crutchlow will be chasing his first podium result since the season-opening Qatar Grand Prix.
His team-mate Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda IDEMITSU RC213V) was similarly impressive. The 27-year-old from Chiba ended the first three practice sessions an excellent fourth fastest aboard his 2018 RC213V, right behind Marquez. In Q2 he couldn’t repeat that performance, qualifying tenth to lead the fourth row after nearly falling during his best run. But he too was fast, eighth tenths down on Marquez, and is confident of running a strong pace in the race.
Marquez’s team-mate Jorge Lorenzo (Repsol Honda Team RC213V) has taken some more steps forward with his adaptation to the RC213V this weekend. The 32-year-old Spaniard is continuing to experiment with different ergonomics, including slightly different handlebars and seat padding, as he looks to improve his feeling during heavy braking. The hard work of both rider and team aren’t reflected in the results so far, however, with Lorenzo qualifying 17th quickest. His aim tomorrow will be to get away with a fast group and use his RC213V’s impressive horsepower to help gain positions.
Marcel Schrotter (Dynavolt Intact GP Kalex) took his third Moto2 pole position of the year, signaling his return to form after a difficult two races in Spain and France, which he qualified 14th and tenth and finished 15th and eighth. The reason for this slump in speed was twofold: the 26-year-old German took time to adapt to Moto2’s new rear slick, introduced at round three in Spain, and he also struggled with a broken foot, sustained in a trials-riding fall.
Now that his crew have adjusted his bike to suit the new rear tire and his foot is getting stronger he has regained his early-season speed. Today he bettered team-mate Thomas Luthi (Dynavolt Intact GP Kalex) by 0.040 seconds, with French GP winner Alex Marquez (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS Kalex) third quickest. The younger Marquez brother’s Le Mans victory helped made history with older brother Marc – in 2014 they became the first brothers to win Grands Prix victories on the same day, in Moto3 and MotoGP, and two weeks ago they became the first brothers to win Moto2 and MotoGP races on the same day.
Moto2 World Championship leader Lorenzo Baldassarri (Flexbox HP 40 Kalex) had a difficult day, qualifying 15th, almost nine-tenths of a second slower than pole position.
Rookie Dimas Ekky Pratama (IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia Kalex) is racing for the first time at Mugello, which is one of the most challenging and complicated racetracks in the World Championships: very fast and bumpy, with numerous uphill and downhill sections, including several blind corners. The 26-year-old Indonesian rider will start his first Italian Grand Prix from 29th on the grid.
Teppei Nagoe (IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia, Kalex) is contesting his first Grand Prix event this weekend, substituting for Somkiat Chantra (IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia, Kalex), who is recovering from surgery. Nagoe, who contests the J-GP2 series of the MFJ All-Japan Road Race Championship for the MuSASHi RT HARC-PRO team, has everything to learn this weekend: new bike, new track and new team, so he is focusing on making steady forward progress. He qualified 32nd.
Honda riders dominated Moto3 qualifying, taking pole position at Mugello for the third year in a row. Honda’s also dominated in depth, with NSF250RW riders monopolizing the front row and filling seven of the top ten grid slots.
Fastest of all was 18-year-old Italian Tony Arbolino (Snipers Team Honda NSF250RW) who went fastest in the final seconds of the session, demoting Argentinian Gabriel Rodrigo (Kömmerling Gresini Moto3 Honda NSF250RW) into second, while compatriot Lorenzo Dalla Porta (Leopard Racing Honda NSF250RW) chased Arbolino to lift himself into third to take the last spot on the front row.
This was Arbolino’s first pole of the year and tomorrow he will chase his first podium since April’s Argentine GP. Dalla Porta’s third place on the grid is his third of the year and an important achievement because the 21-year-old Italian currently stands second in the championship fight, so he needs a strong result here to reduce the points gap to leader Aron Canet, who will start from eighth on the grid.
Tatsuki Suzuki (Sic58 Squadra Corse Honda NSF250RW) and Niccolo Antonelli (Sic58 Squadra Corse Honda NSF250RW) led the early stages of the session and ended the session fifth and sixth fastest times. However, they were penalized for entering the track at the start of the session while the pit-lane red light was still showing. The 21-year-old from Chiba and the 23-year-old Italian will now start the race from ninth and 18th on the grid.
Those penalties moved Romano Fenati (Snipers Team Honda NSF250RW) and Kaito Toba (Honda Team Asia Honda NSF250RW) onto the second row of the grid in fifth and sixth positions. Toba, the 19-year-old from Fukuoka, stands fifth in the championship chase, just behind Antonelli, after several superb rides, including victory in the season-opening Qatar GP.
Marcos Ramirez (Leopard Racing Honda NSF250RW) completes the third row in ninth position.
John McPhee (Petronas Sprinta Racing Honda NSF250RW), winner of the last Moto3 race at Le Mans, didn’t have a great afternoon, ending up on the sixth row. His team-mate Ayumu Sasaki (Petronas Sprinta Racing Honda NSR250RW) heads the seventh row.
This is the biggest weekend of the career of Gerry Salim (Honda Team Asia Honda NSF250RW) so far: the 22-year-old Indonesian is making his Grand Prix debut, replacing Ai Ogura (Honda Team Asia Honda NSF250RW) who is missing one race due to injuries sustained at Le Mans. Salim, who contests the Moto2 European Championship for the Astra Honda Racing Team, has much to learn and is working hard. He ended qualifying on row nine.
Tomorrow’s races take place one day before the 60th anniversary of Honda’s very first World Championship race: the 1959 Isle of Man Ultra-Lightweight TT, which took place on June 3, 1959.
Marc Marquez, Repsol Honda Team: 1st, 1m 45.519s
“It was a difficult qualifying because it was different from other races and a bit hard to find space. With the first tire I was ready to attack straight away but then Dovi slowed down so I overtook him and I lost some time there. [Michele] Pirro was also trying to follow me for the slipstream so tactics were needed. With the second tire we just followed our strategy and I found a good space with slipstream and I calculated the space to Dovi perfectly. The pole position is important but the most important part is being on the front row. There are a lot of opponents for tomorrow’s race!”
Cal Crutchlow, LCR Honda CASTROL: 6th, 1m 46.079s
“I feel good actually and definitely a lot better than I did yesterday. We decided to focus our work on one bike and one setting which was good, because we could adjust small things from there. I wanted to be a bit quicker, and down into the 1m 45s because that would have been there. We’re half a second behind Marquez in qualifying, but with the tow he got he probably picked up four-tenths, so we’re right there. I’m quite pleased with my qualifying lap because I did it all alone and it felt good. We threw everything at it with the package we have, which hasn’t felt the best. We’re working hard and the LCR Honda CASTROL team are working great, getting the information we need to improve the bike. Overall, it’s good. It’s probably going to be a tire war tomorrow, and hopefully we’ll make the right choices.”
Takaaki Nakagami, LCR Honda IDEMITSU: 10th, 1m 46.387s
“Of course I’m really happy about the second day today because we have improved a lot from yesterday. During qualifying I was a little bit disappointed with what happened in sector four on the last lap. I hit the bumps and couldn’t hold on to the bike, so I lost a bit of time. Despite this, I was still able to improve on my best lap of the weekend. I’m a bit disappointed to drop to tenth on the grid, which is the fourth row. On the other hand, I’m really happy with my feeling on the bike. I am strong, especially in the middle two sectors on the track and everything is working well on the bike. For the race the tire situation is quite clear for us, and so hopefully we will get a good start. I might not be the fastest in terms of top speed, but I think we can be strong in the whole race. The main thing is not to give up, and I will do my best to bring home a good result for my LCR Honda IDEMITSU Team.”
Jorge Lorenzo, Repsol Honda Team: 17th, 1m 47.135s
“We tried to improve the bike but we’re still missing that last piece or step and I’m struggling more than normal. Honda and myself are working hard together to find a solution to make me more comfortable on the bike, but of course the rules limit what we can do. Tomorrow we will see what happens at this physical track.”
Marcel Schrotter, Dynavolt Intact GP: 1st 1m 51.129s
“The last few weeks have been a struggle, because I wasn’t straight away fast with the new tire and also because of my broken foot – broken feet are bad for motorcycle racers because you use your feet a lot to put pressure into the bike and you work with your legs a lot. This weekend my team has been super good, improving my feeling with the bike. I really tried hard on my second rear tire – I took a lot of risks because I wanted to be back. It feels amazing!”
Thomas Luthi, Dynavolt Intact GP: 1m 51.169s
“We also had some issues with adapting the bike to Moto2’s new rear tire, so we went testing and the team has done a fantastic job getting everything good again. This weekend they balanced the bike very well for me. I felt strong out there and did my best lap early on. In the end Marcel was faster, so my congratulations to him. The big thing is that we are ready for the race.”
Alex Marquez, Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS: 3rd, 1m 51.346s
“It was a tough qualifying session but I think today we can be pleased with a job very well done. We made a step this morning and comfortably got into Q2 and I felt very strong with my rhythm for the race. I still think we can improve and we will try to find some more pace in the Warm-up because it is going to be a long race and being intelligent and constant is crucial. Normally it is a group race and difficult to open a gap at the front. Possibly the rider that can make a break is Tom Luthi but we will see. I feel prepared and positive for tomorrow and the target is to be on the podium and fighting for the win. But it will be important to gain the maximum points for the Championship.”
Dimas Ekky Pratama, IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia: 29th, 1m 54.478s
“In FP3 I tried something new but it was hard to improve the lap time. Before Q1 we were watching the video, comparing my riding style in some sectors with the fastest riders. I’ve seen that I needed to change some important things, but it’s difficult to do it directly in a qualification session. In any case, I tried and I felt some benefit. I improved but I expected a little bit more, now is time to keep going and to be concentrate for tomorrow, learning as much as possible.”
Teppei Nagoe, IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia: 32nd, 1m 55.822s
“In my second day in the World Championship I tried to continue with my plan, that was to go step by step, learning every time I was on track. Following this plan, I improved more than four seconds on my best lap time compared to yesterday morning. The riders here are very fast, they brake very late – it’s unbelievable. I hope to make a new step forward tomorrow. The race for sure it will be hard; I don’t know how the tire management will be. But in any case, I’m enjoying a lot this amazing experience.”
Tony Arbolino, VNE Snipers: 1st, 1m 56.407s
“Pole position here is an incredible emotion and is something very special for me, at my home race. We have worked very hard this weekend and I am feeling really good on the bike. Tomorrow it will be hard race but we are ready to fight!”
Gabriel Rodrigo, Kömmerling Gresini Moto3: 2nd, 1m 57.080s
“I went for my first quick-lap attempt with a used front tire and a hard compound at the rear and did quite an interesting time, which was only half a second slower from my fastest lap up until then. I gained confidence and the strategy was to get back out with the big group in the second half. After speaking to the team, in light of the chaotic Q1 session, we decided to ride on our own. To be honest I wasn’t expecting to be on the front row – as it’s difficult to do so without a slip stream at this track – and I could have been fairly happy with the second or third rows. We did a great lap and we’re very confident ahead of tomorrow.”
Lorenzo Dalla Porta, Leopard Racing: 3rd, 1m 57.276s
“It’s been a positive day because starting from the first row is always nice, and even more at your home race. However, we still need to work a little bit in terms of race pace. I would say we have to refine some small details for tomorrow, something that can help us a little bit, but overall I'm pleased with my feelings. I believe there will be a big group of riders in front, although I would prefer a small one. It will be a difficult race, but I think we are ready.”
Kaito Toba, Honda Team Asia Honda: 8th, 1m 57.533s
“I’m happy with my position. The bike is working much better compared to yesterday. Also, I have changed something in my riding style. Everything combined permits me to go faster and in an easy and safe way. During the qualifying I tried to push but the second row is ok. Tomorrow for sure the race will be a big group; I will try to push at the beginning to break the group and try and stay out of any danger.”
Gerry Salim, Honda Team Asia Honda: 27th, 1m 58.988s
“In FP3 I improved a lot from yesterday. My plan was to continue improving in qualifying but finally it wasn’t possible. It’s my first time doing a qualifying with the Grand Prix riders and I found many riders going slow waiting for other riders, closing the throttle in the middle of the track. I tried to go alone to do a good lap time but finally it was not enough. I have seen that I need more experience to manage this type of situations.”
|1||Marc MARQUEZ (Repsol Honda Team)|
|2||Fabio QUARTARARO (Petronas Yamaha SRT)|
|3||Danilo PETRUCCI (Mission Winnow Ducati)|
|4||Franco MORBIDELLI (Petronas Yamaha SRT)|
|5||Jack MILLER (Pramac Racing)|
|6||Cal CRUTCHLOW (LCR Honda CASTROL)|
|7||Maverick VIÑALES (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP)|
|8||Francesco BAGNAIA (Pramac Racing)|
|9||Andrea DOVIZIOSO (Mission Winnow Ducati)|
|10||Takaaki NAKAGAMI (LCR Honda IDEMITSU)|
|11||Pol ESPARGARO (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing)|
|12||Michele PIRRO (Mission Winnow Ducati)|
|13||Alex RINS (Team SUZUKI ECSTAR)|
|14||Tito RABAT (Reale Avintia Racing)|
|15||Aleix ESPARGARO (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini)|
|16||Karel ABRAHAM (Reale Avintia Racing)|
|17||Jorge LORENZO (Repsol Honda Team)|
|18||Valentino ROSSI (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP)|
|19||Johann ZARCO (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing)|
|20||Joan MIR (Team SUZUKI ECSTAR)|
|21||Hafizh SYAHRIN (Red Bull KTM Tech 3)|
|22||Miguel OLIVEIRA (Red Bull KTM Tech 3)|
|23||Andrea IANNONE (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini)|
|1||Marcel SCHROTTER (Dynavolt Intact GP)|
|2||Thomas LUTHI (Dynavolt Intact GP)|
|3||Alex MARQUEZ (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS)|
|4||Nicolo BULEGA (SKY Racing Team VR46)|
|5||Jorge NAVARRO (MB Conveyors Speed Up)|
|6||Luca MARINI (SKY Racing Team VR46)|
|7||Tetsuta NAGASHIMA (ONEXOX TKKR SAG Team)|
|8||Sam LOWES (Federal Oil Gresini Moto2)|
|9||Augusto FERNANDEZ (Flexbox HP 40)|
|10||Remy GARDNER (ONEXOX TKKR SAG Team)|
|11||Enea BASTIANINI (Italtrans Racing Team)|
|12||Jorge MARTIN (Red Bull KTM Ajo)|
|13||Simone CORSI (Tasca Racing Scuderia Moto2)|
|14||Fabio DI GIANNANTONIO (MB Conveyors Speed Up)|
|15||Lorenzo BALDASSARRI (Flexbox HP 40)|
|16||Andrea LOCATELLI (Italtrans Racing Team)|
|17||Xavi VIERGE (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS)|
|18||Mattia PASINI (Petronas Sprinta Racing)|
|19||Brad BINDER (Red Bull KTM Ajo)|
|20||Bo BENDSNEYDER (NTS RW Racing GP)|
|21||Dominique AEGERTER (MV Agusta Idealavoro Forward)|
|22||Stefano MANZI (MV Agusta Idealavoro Forward)|
|23||Iker LECUONA (American Racing KTM)|
|24||Lukas TULOVIC (Kiefer Racing)|
|25||Marco BEZZECCHI (Red Bull KTM Tech 3)|
|26||Joe ROBERTS (American Racing KTM)|
|27||Philipp OETTL (Red Bull KTM Tech 3)|
|28||Steven ODENDAAL (NTS RW Racing GP)|
|29||Dimas EKKY PRATAMA (IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia)|
|30||Jake DIXON (Sama Qatar Angel Nieto Team)|
|31||Xavi CARDELUS (Sama Qatar Angel Nieto Team)|
|32||Teppei NAGOE (IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia)|
|1||Tony ARBOLINO (VNE Snipers)|
|2||Gabriel RODRIGO (Kommerling Gresini Moto3)|
|3||Lorenzo DALLA PORTA (Leopard Racing)|
|4||Andrea MIGNO (Bester Capital Dubai)|
|5||Tatsuki SUZUKI (SIC58 Squadra Corse)|
|6||Niccolò ANTONELLI (SIC58 Squadra Corse)|
|7||Romano FENATI (VNE Snipers)|
|8||Kaito TOBA (Honda Team Asia)|
|9||Marcos RAMIREZ (Leopard Racing)|
|10||Aron CANET (Sterilgarda Max Racing Team)|
|11||Alonso LOPEZ (Estrella Galicia 0,0)|
|12||Jaume MASIA (Bester Capital Dubai)|
|13||Dennis FOGGIA (SKY Racing Team VR46)|
|14||Darryn BINDER (CIP Green Power)|
|15||Raul FERNANDEZ (Sama Qatar Angel Nieto Team)|
|16||Sergio GARCIA (Estrella Galicia 0,0)|
|17||Celestino Vietti (SKY Racing Team VR46)|
|18||John MCPHEE (Petronas Sprinta Racing)|
|19||Ayumu SASAKI (Petronas Sprinta Racing)|
|20||Jakub KORNFEIL (Redox PruestelGP)|
|21||Kazuki MASAKI (BOE Skull Rider Mugen Race)|
|22||Albert ARENAS (Sama Qatar Angel Nieto Team)|
|23||Makar YURCHENKO (BOE Skull Rider Mugen Race)|
|24||Can ONCU (Red Bull KTM Ajo)|
|25||Kevin ZANNONI (RGR TM Official Team)|
|26||Ryusei YAMANAKA (Estrella Galicia 0,0)|
|27||Gerry SALIM (Honda Team Asia)|
|28||Vicente PEREZ (Reale Avintia Arizona 77)|
|29||Filip SALAC (Redox PruestelGP)|
|30||Tom BOOTH-AMOS (CIP Green Power)|
|31||Riccardo ROSSI (Kommerling Gresini Moto3)|