Photography by Gold & Goose
Marc Marquez kept his momentum rolling right along Saturday in Mugello. The defending MotoGP Champion scored his sixth pole of the season, seventh in a row dating back to last season, riding his Repsol Honda to the top time of 1:47.270.
Starting alongside the series leader will be Pramac Ducati’s Andrea Iannone and Yamaha’s Jorge Lorenzo.
Marquez set the time to beat in the opening laps with a 1:47.438. He bettered that on his second full-speed lap with a 1:47.270. After the first half of Q2 it was Marquez, Iannone and Lorenzo leading the way on the provisional front row.
Interestingly Marquez changed bikes for the second half the session. He was not able to improve on his time with the second machine.
Pol Espargaro crashed his Monster Energy Tech 3 Yamaha out of the session with about five minutes to go. He was in fourth place at the time. He would end up in the fifth starting position.
Pedrosa, who was so fast in practice, struggled a bit in qualifying and was only able to move to fourth on the last lap of the session. Pedrosa can at least take some satisfaction that his lap record from last year wasn’t broken.
Iannone restored some Italian pride with his performance. The home crowd was hoping better for Valentino Rossi, who was only able to manage 10th with a 1:47.791 on his factory Yamaha.
Marquez talked about how he thought Sunday’s race might play out.
“Tomorrow I expect, especially on the first laps, the Ducati to be really strong because on the start they are so fast,” Marquez explained. “But anyway, another pole position at a circuit where last year I struggled a lot, but this year it looks like it’s a little bit different. Even like that, it’s much closer than the other circuits, so tomorrow I expect a tough race. It will be more difficult that the other ones. But anyway we are ready for the fight for victory, so we will try to do our best.”
Iannone took full advantage of the Ducati’s speed at Mugello.
“I want to thank Ducati, because in the straight the bike is incredible, very, very fast,” Iannone explained. “I pushed very hard with the first soft tire and this made it possible for my best time.”
For Lorenzo it marked his third front-row start of the season. He has won Mugello three straight years.
“We are very satisfied with this third place,” Lorenzo said. “It is more or less second because the Open class has the soft tire that helps them quite a bit, so I’m very happy. But more than that I’m happy with my physical condition that becomes again more or less than last year, so I can keep a constant pace during a few laps. Let’s see tomorrow. We’ve been on the first row more times than on the podium, so let’s hope that this time we can be there again.”
Nicky Hayden’s bad wrist made him unfit for this GP and is slated to undergo surgery on Tuesday. Michel Fabrizio substitutes for Danilo Petrucci at IodaRacing Team. Petrucci suffered a broken wrist at Jerez and was hoping to return, but doctors told him the wrist was not yet heal.
The sole American in tomorrow’s race, Colin Edwards, qualified 18th.
Mugello MotoGP Qualifying Results – May 31, 2014
1. Marc Marquez ESP Repsol Honda Team (RC213V) 1m 47.270s [Lap 3/8] 337km/h (Top Speed)
2. Andrea Iannone ITA Pramac Racing (Desmosedici) 1m 47.450s +0.180s [3/9] 342km/h
3. Jorge Lorenzo ESP Movistar Yamaha MotoGP (YZR-M1) 1m 47.521s +0.251s [6/9] 333km/h
4. Dani Pedrosa ESP Repsol Honda Team (RC213V) 1m 47.584s +0.314s [8/8] 340km/h
5. Pol Espargaro ESP Monster Yamaha Tech 3 (YZR-M1) 1m 47.612s +0.342s [2/4] 337km/h
6. Cal Crutchlow GBR Ducati Team (Desmosedici) 1m 47.659s +0.389s [6/8] 340km/h
7. Bradley Smith GBR Monster Yamaha Tech 3 (YZR-M1) 1m 47.681s +0.411s [7/8] 337km/h
8. Andrea Dovizioso ITA Ducati Team (Desmosedici) 1m 47.754s +0.484s [7/7] 339km/h
9. Stefan Bradl GER LCR Honda MotoGP (RC213V) 1m 47.765s +0.495s [8/8] 343km/h
10. Valentino Rossi ITA Movistar Yamaha MotoGP (YZR-M1) 1m 47.791s +0.521s [2/7] 336km/h
11. Alvaro Bautista ESP Go&Fun Honda Gresini (RC213V) 1m 48.132s +0.862s [7/8] 340km/h
12. Aleix Espargaro ESP NGM Forward Racing (Forward Yamaha) 1m 48.218s +0.948s [6/7] 337km/h
13. Yonny Hernandez COL Pramac Racing (Desmosedici) 1m 48.722s
14. Scott Redding GBR Go&Fun Honda Gresini (RCV1000R) 1m 48.754s
15. Michele Pirro ITA Ducati Test Rider (Desmosedici) 1m 48.794s
16. Karel Abraham CZE Cardion AB Motoracing (RCV1000R) 1m 48.894s
17. Hiroshi Aoyama JPN Drive M7 Aspar (RCV1000R) 1m 49.505s
18. Colin Edwards USA NGM Forward Racing (Forward Yamaha) 1m 49.780s
19. Hector Barbera ESP Avintia Racing (Avintia) 1m 49.932s
20. Michael Laverty GBR Paul Bird Motorsport (PBM-ART) 1m 50.505s
21. Mike Di Meglio FRA Avintia Racing (Avintia) 1m 50.515s
22. Broc Parkes AUS Paul Bird Motorsport (PBM-ART) 1m 50.875s
23. Michel Fabrizio ITA IodaRacing Project (ART) 1m 53.116s