MotoGP Catalunya Update: First Suzuki Pole Position Since 2007

Team Suzuki Ecstar will start from the first two spots on the Catalunya grid.

In almost perfect conditions with track temperatures topping the 100-degree mark, Aleix Espargaro claimed the first MotoGP pole position for the Japanese manufacturer since Chris Vermeulen's at Assen in 2007.

The Spaniard smashed Dani Pedrosa’s 2013 lap record (1’40.893) by over 0.3s as he set a 1’40.546 around the 4.7km Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya to claim his second MotoGP pole. It got even better for Suzuki as his teammate Maverick Viñales was just 0.083s slower in second, completing a Suzuki lockout of the first two positions on the grid.

Movistar Yamaha's Jorge Lorenzo was the only rider who used a two-stop strategy to allow him to utilize three tires during the session. The man who has set the most consistent race pace over the weekend made it four successive front rows starts as he finished 0.1s behind Espargaro in third.

Repsol Honda's Marc Marquez (+0.208s) has benefitted from a new exhaust on his RC213V in Barcelona and led the session after the first set of flying laps. The reigning MotoGP World Champion looked like he might sneak pole on his last lap, only to fade in the last sector. He will start the race from the head of the second row.

Ducati Team's Andrea Dovizioso (+0.361s) managed to set the fifth fastest time on his GP15, ahead of Marquez' teammate Dani Pedrosa (+0.382s). Pedrosa, who made it through from Q1 earlier alongside Andrea Iannone, was on course for a stunning lap time at one point and was over a tenth up after the first two sectors, only to be held up by Yonny Hernandez and be forced to settle for sixth.

Valentino Rossi (Movistar Yamaha) recovered from a poor performance on the first day of practice to start the race from the front of the third row in seventh. Bradley Smith on the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 will start from just behind him on the grid as the leading Satellite rider, ahead of his compatriot Cal Crutchlow (CWM LCR Honda) who completes the third row after crashing out late on at turn 10.

Octo Pramac Racing’s Yonny Hernandez rounds out the top ten, while Pol Espargaro (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) was not happy about crashing at turn 1 and the fact that he will have to start from 11th on the grid tomorrow. The leader of the Open class standings, Hector Barbera (Avintia Racing), will start from the head of the fifth row in 13th, just ahead of Brit Scott Redding (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS).

The Aspar MotoGP Team duo of Nicky Hayden and Eugene Laverty were 18th and 22nd respectively, while Australian rookie Jack Miller on the CWM LCR Honda RC213V-RS will start from 21st position.

Earlier, Karel Abraham had a nasty crash in FP4 and will miss the rest of the weekend after a severely dislocating the big toe on his left foot.

CATALUNYA QUALIFYING RESULTS

  1. Aleix ESPARGARO (41) Team Suzuki Ecstar SUZUKI
  2. Maverick VIÑALES (25) Team Suzuki Ecstar SUZUKI
  3. Jorge LORENZO (99) Movistar Yamaha MotoGP YAMAHA
  4. Marc MARQUEZ (93), Repsol Honda Team HONDA
  5. Andrea DOVIZIOSO (4) Ducati Team DUCATI
  6. Dani PEDROSA (26) Repsol Honda Team HONDA
  7. Valentino ROSSI (46) Movistar Yamaha MotoGP YAMAHA
  8. Bradley SMITH (38) Monster Yamaha Tech 3 YAMAHA
  9. Cal CRUTCHLOW (35) CWM LCR Honda HONDA
  10. Yonny HERNANDEZ (68) Pramac Racing DUCATI
  11. Pol ESPARGARO (44) Monster Yamaha Tech 3 YAMAHA
  12. Andrea IANNONE (29) Ducati Team DUCATI
  13. Hector BARBERA (8) Avintia Racing DUCATI
  14. Scott REDDING (45) EG 0,0 Marc VDS HONDA
  15. Stefan BRADL (6) Athinà Forward Racing YAMAHA
  16. Danilo PETRUCCI (9) Pramac Racing DUCATI
  17. Mike DI MEGLIO (63) Avintia Racing DUCATI
  18. Nicky HAYDEN (69) Aspar MotoGP Team HONDA
  19. Loris BAZ (76) Athinà Forward Racing YAMAHA
  20. Alvaro BAUTISTA (19) Aprilia Racing Team Gresini APRILIA
  21. Jack MILLER (43) CWM LCR Honda HONDA
  22. Eugene LAVERTY (50) Aspar MotoGP Team HONDA
  23. Alex DE ANGELIS (15) Octo IodaRacing Team ART
  24. Marco MELANDRI (33) Aprilia Racing Team Gresini APRILIA
  25. Karel ABRAHAM (17) AB Motoracing HONDA