PHOTOGRAPHY BY GOLD & GOOSE
INDIANAPOLIS, IN, AUG. 17 – If someone steps up to beat Marc Marquez in tomorrow’s Red Bull Indy Grand Prix it will be the first time all weekend that the young Spaniard won’t be on top. It’ll also be a major upset. That’s because the Repsol Honda rider smashed the lap record today in final qualifying for tomorrow’s GP, the phenom besting the field by .513 of a second after laying down a blistering 1:37.958 - .855 of a second under Dani Pedrosa teammate’s lap record from last year.
From the time they unloaded the bikes from the crates at the Brickyard, Marquez has been the class of the field. And never more so than in this final qualifying session.
World Champion Jorge Lorenzo threw down the gauntlet right away when the session started, the Yamaha man putting down a 1:38.648 to break the lap record. But that lasted until Marquez crossed the line for the first time in anger, the youngster going to the top with a record-setting 1:38.440. With a second tire mounted, Marquez went back out and did it again at the end of the session – throwing down the first and only 1:37 of the weekend to snatch pole position as he tries to keep his perfect U.S. Grand Prix record intact tomorrow by winning at Indy to match his victories in Austin and Laguna Seca.
“I feel good with the track, with the bike and this qualifying practice I know that for one lap the tire give me very good grip,” Marquez said. “Tomorrow will be a tough race because everybody is struggling quite a lot by the end of the race with the grip of the tire, but anyway I think we are happy and we have a good pace… we are ready to fight for the win, but sure [Jorge] Lorenzo and Dani [Pedrosa] will be strong.”
Lorenzo lowered his best lap to a 1:38.471 with his second tire mounted and that was enough to put him second on the front row for tomorrow.
“I surprised to be with the Honda guys because they are strong – not only Marc [Marquez] but Dani [Pedrosa] and Stefan [Bradl] so for us is good to be with them. I get improvement every session. I try my best to make a good lap and the first one is quite good; the second lap I made some mistakes and I didn’t hope for this lap time so it is good. I’m happy because it’s been a long time without being in the front row.”
That front row will be filled out by Pedrosa, the Repsol Honda rider lapping at 1:38.485 right at the end of the session to knock Monster Tech 3 Yamaha’s Cal Crutchlow from the front row.
“I think tomorrow is going to be a very hard race,” Pedrosa said. “It’s a track where you move a lot on the bike so the fitness is very important. I obviously feel better, but still not 100 percent but I’m very happy with the practice. We just hope to improve a little more and try to get a good bike for tomorrow and try to do a good start and a good race.”
Crutchlow ended up fourth and will lead row two. He’ll be joined there by Go&Fun Honda’s Alvaro Bautista… and Nicky Hayden. That’s right the American rode the wheels off the Marlboro Ducati to put it on row two with a best lap of 1:39.142 – his quickest of the weekend.
Row three will be led by Bradley Smith on the second Monster Tech 3 Yamaha, the Brit surprisingly ahead of both Stefan Bradl and Valentino Rossi with Bradl crashing for a third time this weekend at the end of the session.
Hayden’s Ducati teammate Andrea Dovizioso, Pramac Ducati’s Andrea Ianone and Colin Edwards rounded out the top 12 in the session.
Final Qualifying Results
2013 Red Bull Indy Grand Prix
1. Marc Marquez (Honda) 1:37.958
2. Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha) 1:38.471
3. Dani Pedrosa (Honda) 1:38.485
4. Cal Crutchlow (Yamaha) 1:38.502
5. Alvaro Bautista (Honda) 1:38.872
6. Nicky Hayden (Ducati) 1:39.142
7. Bradley Smith (Yamaha) 1:39.255
8. Stefan Bradl (Honda) 1:39.313
9. Valentino Rossi (Yamaha) 1:39.356
10. Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati) 1:39.556
11. Andrea Iannone (Ducati) 1:40.042
12. Colin Edwards (FTR/Kawasaki) 1:40.372