Round 07 Catalunya

  • Title Leader Marquez on Front Row at Barcelona

    Marc Marquez will start the Catalan Grand Prix from the middle of the front row of the grid after qualifying an excellent second quickest, just 0.015 seconds off pole position.


Report

Title Leader Marquez on Front Row at Barcelona

CIRCUIT DE BARCELONA-CATALUNYA, Catalunya, June 15, 2019

Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team RC213V) will start tomorrow’s Catalan Grand Prix from the middle of the front row of the grid after qualifying an excellent second quickest today, just 0.015 seconds off pole position. Once again the MotoGP grid is incredibly closely packed, with less than one second covering the fastest 18 riders.

Marc Marquez

Marc Marquez

The 26-year-old Spaniard might have made it onto pole with his final lap. After the first sector he was fastest by two tenths, but he got into Turn Four a bit hot and had a big moment, which he saved with his usual cat-like reactions. Pole would have been great, but second place preserves his remarkable 100 percent front-row record for this year: pole positions in Argentina, the Americas, France and Italy, third places in Qatar and Spain and second today.

Marquez takes a 12-point championship advantage into this race, the seventh round of the 19-round 2019 MotoGP series, after he finished a very close second at the Italian Grand Prix two weeks ago. So far this year he has won three races from six starts and achieved two further podiums.

His qualifying performance today was particularly impressive, considering that he had to work hard with his crew to get the best out of his RC213V after a difficult FP3 session this morning. This afternoon he had the fastest bike on the Barcelona-Catalunya start/finish, at 345.6kmh/214.7mph.

Lap times were incredibly close, with Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda CASTROL RC213V) taking a third-row start after lapping just six tenths of a second slower than Marquez. The 33-year-old Briton recovered well from a minor tumble at turn five during the FP4 session, immediately before qualifying, to go ninth fastest. However, like everyone else he is struggling with grip because the track surface is much more slippery than last year.

Last time out in Italy, Crutchlow ran with the lead group until an issue with his rear tire relegated him to eighth at the finish. Tomorrow he will try to run with the leaders again, fight for his second podium result of the year and regain the lead in the Independent Team Riders Championship.

Marquez’s team-mate Jorge Lorenzo (Repsol Honda Team RC213V) scored his second best qualifying result of the year to head the fourth row. The 32-year-old Spaniard made it into Q2 for the fourth time this year – after Argentina, Spain and France – and completed the session 10th fastest, 0.048 seconds behind Crutchlow and 0.715 seconds off pole.

During the break between the Italian Grand Prix and this event Lorenzo travelled to Japan to visit Honda Racing Corporation headquarters, where he worked to further adapt the RC213V ergonomics to suit his riding technique. He has some new parts here and hopes to have more for the next race in the Netherlands two weeks hence.

Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda IDEMITSU RC213V) led much of Q1 qualifying but finally didn’t finish the session in the top two, which is what he needed to graduate to Q2. The 27-year-old from Chiba, who had the best MotoGP race of his career at Mugello two weeks ago, will therefore start the race from the fifth row of the grid in 16th.

Moto2 pole position went to Augusto Fernandez (Flexbox HP 40 Kalex) for the first time. The 21-year-old Spaniard bettered 32-year-old Swiss Thomas Luthi (Dynavolt Intact GP Kalex) by 0.021 seconds, with 28-year-old Briton Sam Lowes (Federal Oil Gresini Moto2 Kalex) third, a further 0.008 seconds down. Once again, lap times were very close, with less than one second covering the top 16.

Championship leader Lorenzo Baldassarri (Flexbox HP 40 Kalex) qualified seventh, just behind Alex Marquez (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS Kalex), winner of the last two races. Local star and brother of Marc, Marquez will be joined on the second row of the grid by fourth-fastest Jorge Navarro (HDR Heidrun Speed Up Speed Up) and Fabio Di Giannantonio (HDR Heidrun Speed Up Speed Up).

Team-mates Dimas Ekky Pratama (IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia Kalex) and Somkiat Chantra (IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia, Kalex) qualified 24th and 25th, both riders just over a second off pole position.

Ekky Pratama’s eighth-row start is the second-best yet for the 26-year-old Indonesian World Championship rookie. Chantra, who missed the last race due to injury, was happy enough with his return. The 20-year-old Thai has already scored World Championship points in his rookie season, with a brilliant tenth-place finish in Argentina.

Honda riders monopolized the top four positions in Moto3 qualifying, the NSF250RW providing the perfect balance of horsepower and handling around this wonderfully challenging racetrack.

The man who took pole position was Gabriel Rodrigo (Kömmerling Gresini Moto3 Honda NSF250RW), by just 0.021 seconds from the up-and-coming Ai Ogura (Honda Team Asia Honda NSF250RW). Mugello winner Tony Arbolino (VEN Snipers Honda NSF250RW) completed the front row in third place, with Tatsuki Suzuki (Sic58 Squadra Corse Honda NSF250RW) fourth quickest to lead the second row. The fastest nine men were separated by 0.850 seconds.

Rodrigo started from the front row at COTA and Mugello, but this is the first time the 22-year-old Argentine star has been on pole this year. Former Red Bull MotoGP Rookie Ogura’s performance is especially impressive because he missed the last race through injuries sustained during last month’s French Grand Prix, where the 19-year-old rookie from Tokyo qualified on the front row for the first time.

Eighteen-year-old Italian Arbolino was delighted to make the front row for the fourth time this season, two weeks after taking pole and his maiden win at Mugello. Suzuki’s fourth place was also very welcome, especially since the 21-year-old from Chiba only missed the front row by 0.018 seconds. Suzuki has started from the front row once this year, when he qualified second at Jerez and finished second, behind team-mate Niccolo Antonelli (Sic58 Squadra Corse Honda NSF250RW).

Antonelli had a torrid time in qualifying today, falling twice in the 15-minute session. The second time he fell he accidentally took down fellow Honda rider Lorenzo Dalla Porta (Leopard Racing Honda NSF250RW), who as a result ended the session ninth. The 21-year-old Italian currently stands just three points behind series leader Aron Canet, who was fifth quickest today.

Alonso Lopez (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Honda NSF250RW) qualified two places ahead of Dalla Porta in seventh, his best grid slot of the year so far. French GP winner John McPhee (Petronas Sprinta Racing Honda NSF250RW) was tenth quickest.

Kaito Toba (Honda Team Asia Honda NSF250RW) has had a challenging two days of practice and qualifying at Barcelona-Catalunya, ending today in 27th place. The 19-year-old from Fukuoka started this season with a stunning victory in Qatar but has yet to return to the podium, despite some thrilling fights through the pack.

Tomorrow’s racing marks the 70th birthday of MotoGP. Motorcycling’s World Championships began in 1949, the first races taking place at the Isle of Man TT, with the 350cc race on June 13 and the 250cc and 500cc races on June 17.

Cal Crutchlow

Cal Crutchlow

Comments

MotoGP

Marc Marquez, Repsol Honda Team: 2nd, 1m 39.499s

“If we think about the whole weekend, today I'm very happy. We achieved our target of being on the front row but really today we were ready to be on pole position but I made mistake at Turn 4 on the last lap. Quartararo did a great job today. Apart from that we are happy as we have the pace and the rhythm, especially in FP4 on used tires I was very constant. Let’s try to understand where we can get an advantage, analyze everything and enjoy Sunday at the home GP!”

Cal Crutchlow, LCR Honda CASTROL: 9th, 1m 40.151s

“I did as good a lap as possible at the time of day that I was able to do. I was more pleased with getting into Q2, than my performance in qualifying. I obviously made the top three in the morning session, but qualifying was not good enough to end on the third row. We have some problems with corner entry, I had exactly the same problem on my fast lap [in Q2] as happened to Marc and with a big mistake like that you’re always going to lose time and be down in ninth place. But I’ll try my best and I look forward to the race tomorrow as I think we have not too bad pace to be able to fight at the front.”

Jorge Lorenzo, Repsol Honda Team: 10th, 1m 40.199s

“This has been one of our most consistent weekends of the year, it’s positive to see this improvement. I think we have made a step forward and hopefully we can finish this race better than the previous ones. Everything we have done has made me more comfortable on the bike. Our pace on the long run is quite strong so I think we can continue this progress in the race and then make another step on Monday.”

Takaaki Nakagami, LCR Honda IDEMITSU: 16th, 1m 40.362s

“Today in FP3 the track condition was a little bit better than yesterday and so most of the riders improved their lap time compared to yesterday. We did as well, but compared to yesterday we struggled to find grip on both the front and the rear. We have still not decided which tire to use in the race on either the front or rear. We’re still looking to find the best way for the set-up of the bike as well. Now we have time to think about what will work best for the race distance and forget qualifying as we know we struggled to find grip. Our starting position makes things much more difficult for the race, I need to overtake during the race which means I need a good feeling with the front of the bike.”

Moto2

Augusto Fernandez, Flexbox HP 40: 1st, 1m 44.170s

“I’m really happy with my first pole position. I didn’t expect it because this morning I struggled to do a fast lap. My pace was good, but it wasn’t easy to do one fast lap. This afternoon I felt a bit better with the hotter strong conditions and I could make a really fast one-off lap, good enough for pole. The race will be different, of course, but we hope that we can keep a good pace to the finish.”

Thomas Luthi, Dynavolt Intact GP: 2nd, 1m 44.191s

“I’m very happy because I didn't expect it today. Yesterday was good, I was fastest, but I still had problems and had to take a lot of risks. The team did a fantastic job. The conditions today changed compared to yesterday. It was hotter than the first day, but we were able to adapt well. I think it was a really strong qualifying. I had a very good feeling with the bike and I'm happy that we're on the front row. Of course, the race is another story. But we have a really good starting position. Now we have to analyze all the data from today. Some of the guys are going pretty fast, so it will be crucial what the conditions for tomorrow's race will be like and how hot it will be. It will be a long and exhausting race, but after qualifying I can say that we are well prepared for tomorrow.”

Sam Lowes, Federal Oil Gresini Moto2: 3rd, 1m 44.199s

“We have a good pace and I know we can put up a fight tomorrow. Things weren’t easy today in qualifying as in the early laps I wasn’t feeling fully comfortable, but then little by little I managed to improve. We’ve been working very well together this weekend so this front row is very important ahead of tomorrow. It will be a big group of riders at the front, but still it was crucial to be there, too. We still have something to fix tomorrow morning in warm-up in order to be quicker in the last sector, but we’re eager and ready to do well.”

Dimas Ekky Pratama, IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia: 24th, 1m 45.302s

“P24 is my best grid position ever. The team has been working really hard during the weekend, they managed to solve the problem I had yesterday with the rear grip and I think we’ve also some things to try during warm-up to try to improve the bike further. I also tried to improve my riding style, that permitted me to achieve a good lap time. The position is still far from the top but we’ve reduced the gap. The race will be long and hard because of the heat.”

Somkiat Chantra, IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia: 25th, 1m 45.341s

“I’m happy with my performance after the surgery. I’m not in my best physical condition but I felt confident with the bike. The lap time is quite good because during Q1 I found a lot of traffic and riders waiting on the racing line. But anyway my goal for tomorrow is to finish the race and to continue improving.”

Moto3

Gabriel Rodrigo, Kömmerling Gresini Moto3: 1st, 1m 48.450s

“We had a great lap straight away so we thought it was better not to help anyone else by giving them my slipstream. Maybe we waited a bit too long and lost one last lap, but things went in our favor so I’m very happy with his pole position. We’ve been working really well throughout all weekend – as we’ve been doing for a while now – and with a bit of luck we’re not ahead of everyone else on the grid. I believe it won’t be a very quick race and it will be hard to split the big group. It will be important to stay calm – that’s the part in which we struggle the most – and finally give ourselves a strong race result.”

Ai Ogura, Honda Team Asia: 2nd, 1m 48.471s

“I’m surprised about this because I didn’t expect to be in the top ten or make the front row. This is a great way to comeback from the injury. The lap time is really good, and also the rhythm is okay. Tomorrow it will be difficult because my hand is not in perfect condition, but I will try to do my best as always.”

Tony Arbolino, VNE Snipers: 3rd, 1m 48.764s

“Until qualifying practice it’s not been an easy weekend because I was not competitive. Yesterday evening I did a mental reset and kept that focus. The first row here was important because it allows me to stay in the front from the beginning.”

Tatsuki Suzuki, Sic58 Squadra Corse: 4th, 1m 48.782s

“I am very happy with today, even if we missed the front row by such a small margin. The team has worked really well this weekend, like always, so I feel that I am going into the race with the best bike possible. The race will be long and tough, because it will be hot and there won’t be much grip from the asphalt.”

Kaito Toba, Honda Team Asia: 27th, 1m 50.197s

“I’m very disappointed. I don’t know what happened. Till FP3 I had a very good feeling, I was very competitive, but I crashed again. After that the situation has become complicated. I don’t know why but in Q1 I tried to push from the beginning but in a wrong way. Maybe it was a lack of confidence. The only thing I can do is to be positive and be focused in tomorrow race, where I will need to push really hard to recover positions.”

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Results

MotoGP World Championship 2019
Round 07: Catalunya Qualifying

MotoGP Class

Rank Rider (Team)
1 Fabio QUARTARARO (Petronas Yamaha SRT)
2 Marc MARQUEZ (Repsol Honda Team)
3 Maverick VIÑALES (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP)
4 Franco MORBIDELLI (Petronas Yamaha SRT)
5 Valentino ROSSI (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP)
6 Andrea DOVIZIOSO (Mission Winnow Ducati)
7 Danilo PETRUCCI (Mission Winnow Ducati)
8 Alex RINS (Team SUZUKI ECSTAR)
9 Cal CRUTCHLOW (LCR Honda CASTROL)
10 Jorge LORENZO (Repsol Honda Team)
11 Joan MIR (Team SUZUKI ECSTAR)
12 Pol ESPARGARO (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing)
13 Francesco BAGNAIA (Pramac Racing)
14 Jack MILLER (Pramac Racing)
15 Karel ABRAHAM (Reale Avintia Racing)
16 Takaaki NAKAGAMI (LCR Honda IDEMITSU)
17 Aleix ESPARGARO (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini)
18 Johann ZARCO (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing)
19 Tito RABAT (Reale Avintia Racing)
20 Miguel OLIVEIRA (Red Bull KTM Tech 3)
21 Hafizh SYAHRIN (Red Bull KTM Tech 3)
22 Bradley SMITH (Aprilia Racing Team)
23 Sylvain GUINTOLI (Team SUZUKI ECSTAR)
24 Andrea IANNONE (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini)

Moto2 Class

Rank Rider (Team)
1 Augusto FERNANDEZ (Flexbox HP 40)
2 Thomas LUTHI (Dynavolt Intact GP)
3 Sam LOWES (Federal Oil Gresini Moto2)
4 Jorge NAVARRO (HDR Heidrun Speed Up)
5 Fabio DI GIANNANTONIO (HDR Heidrun Speed Up)
6 Alex MARQUEZ (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS)
7 Lorenzo BALDASSARRI (Flexbox HP 40)
8 Nicolo BULEGA (SKY Racing Team VR46)
9 Andrea LOCATELLI (Italtrans Racing Team)
10 Enea BASTIANINI (Italtrans Racing Team)
11 Remy GARDNER (ONEXOX TKKR SAG Team)
12 Marcel SCHROTTER (Dynavolt Intact GP)
13 Luca MARINI (SKY Racing Team VR46)
14 Bo BENDSNEYDER (NTS RW Racing GP)
15 Iker LECUONA (American Racing KTM)
16 Tetsuta NAGASHIMA (ONEXOX TKKR SAG Team)
17 Jorge MARTIN (Red Bull KTM Ajo)
18 Simone CORSI (Tasca Racing Scuderia Moto2)
19 Brad BINDER (Red Bull KTM Ajo)
20 Xavi VIERGE (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS)
21 Dominique AEGERTER (MV Agusta Idealavoro Forward)
22 Stefano MANZI (MV Agusta Idealavoro Forward)
23 Jonas FOLGER (Petronas Sprinta Racing)
24 Dimas EKKY PRATAMA (IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia)
25 Somkiat CHANTRA (IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia)
26 Jake DIXON (Sama Qatar Angel Nieto Team)
27 Steven ODENDAAL (NTS RW Racing GP)
28 Lukas TULOVIC (Kiefer Racing)
29 Joe ROBERTS (American Racing KTM)
30 Xavi CARDELUS (Sama Qatar Angel Nieto Team)
31 Marco BEZZECCHI (Red Bull KTM Tech 3)
32 Philipp OETTL (Red Bull KTM Tech 3)

Moto3 Class

Rank Rider (Team)
1 Gabriel RODRIGO (Kommerling Gresini Moto3)
2 Ai OGURA (Honda Team Asia)
3 Tony ARBOLINO (VNE Snipers)
4 Tatsuki SUZUKI (SIC58 Squadra Corse)
5 Aron CANET (Sterilgarda Max Racing Team)
6 Albert ARENAS (Sama Qatar Angel Nieto Team)
7 Alonso LOPEZ (Estrella Galicia 0,0)
8 Jaume MASIA (Bester Capital Dubai)
9 Lorenzo DALLA PORTA (Leopard Racing)
10 John MCPHEE (Petronas Sprinta Racing)
11 Andrea MIGNO (Bester Capital Dubai)
12 Marcos RAMIREZ (Leopard Racing)
13 Sergio GARCIA (Estrella Galicia 0,0)
14 Makar YURCHENKO (BOE Skull Rider Mugen Race)
15 Raul FERNANDEZ (Sama Qatar Angel Nieto Team)
16 Darryn BINDER (CIP Green Power)
17 Niccolò ANTONELLI (SIC58 Squadra Corse)
18 Carlos TATAY (Fundacion Andreas Perez 77)
19 Kazuki MASAKI (BOE Skull Rider Mugen Race)
20 Can ONCU (Red Bull KTM Ajo)
21 Ryusei YAMANAKA (Estrella Galicia 0,0)
22 Romano FENATI (VNE Snipers)
23 Ayumu SASAKI (Petronas Sprinta Racing)
24 Dennis FOGGIA (SKY Racing Team VR46)
25 Celestino Vietti (SKY Racing Team VR46)
26 Jakub KORNFEIL (Redox PruestelGP)
27 Kaito TOBA (Honda Team Asia)
28 Riccardo ROSSI (Kommerling Gresini Moto3)
29 Vicente PEREZ (Reale Avintia Arizona 77)
30 Filip SALAC (Redox PruestelGP)
31 Tom BOOTH-AMOS (CIP Green Power)

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