It was a day of contrasts at the Gran Premio D’Italia as Ducati Team’s Andrea Iannone sent the Italian fans at the Autodromo del Mugello into rapture as he claimed his first career MotoGP pole position in near perfect conditions, setting the fastest ever top speed recorded by a MotoGP bike in the process (350.8kph).
Iannone, riding with a fractured humerus sustained during a testing crash at the Tuscany Circuit, took advantage of the softer option tire available to Ducati to set a 1’46.489, which was almost seven-tenths quicker than Dani Pedrosa’s pole record from 2013.
Countering that was the dramatic action involving the reigning MotoGP World Champion Marc Marquez, as he failed to make it through to Q2 for the first time in his career and will start Sunday’s race from the head of the fifth row in thirteenth.
Marquez struggled throughout the day, getting caught out in FP3 and finishing down in eleventh on the combined timesheets. It was only the second time the Spaniard has failed to automatically qualify for Q2, the first being at Mugello in 2013.
A crash in FP4 only compounded matters and as Marquez attempted to make it through from Q1 he set a time good enough for second on the timesheets with two minutes to go in the session. It was then that disaster struck for him and the Repsol Honda team. Yonny Hernandez on the Octo Pramac Racing Ducati displaced him in the final seconds, securing the Columbian’s progress through to Q2 at Marquez’ expense. This means that Marquez will start Sunday’s race from the front of the fourth row in 13th position on the grid, his worst-ever MotoGP Qualifying performance.
Movistar Yamaha’s Jorge Lorenzo will be a force to be reckoned with on Sunday as he demonstrated an incredibly persistent race pace throughout Free Practice. The double MotoGP World Champion was only 0.095s behind Dovizioso in Q2 and will start from second on the grid, a feat made all the more impressive as Lorenzo does not have the softer option tire available to him.
Andrea Dovizioso followed up Iannone’s incredible pole lap by securing third on the grid, making it two Ducati GP15 entries on the front row, and the team will be pushing hard for their first win since Stoner’s victory in Australia in 2010.
CWM LCR Honda’s Cal Crutchlow won the battle of the satellite riders, as he once again impressed during Q2 to finish fourth fastest—and number one Honda—on the grid.
Team Suzuki Ecstar’s Aleix Espargaro was another rider who had to grit his teeth as he suffers from the injury to his right thumb sustained during his Free Practice crash at Le Mans. The Spaniard sought medical advice before the day’s action, and it paid off, as he will start the race from the middle of the second row.
To top off an almost perfect day for Ducati Team, test rider Michele Pirro managed to set a time good enough for sixth in Q2, and will complete the second row for Sunday’s race. Pirro’s qualifying performance is the best from a wild card rider since Ben Spies in 2008 at Indianapolis.
Dani Pedrosa on the second factory Repsol Honda RC213V showed he is recovering from his arm pump surgery by setting the seventh fastest time. The Spaniard will start from the head of the third row, ahead of nine-time World Champion Valentino Rossi.
Rossi once again could not perform as he wanted during qualifying, although he wont be too disappointed to start the race from eighth on the grid, as his last two victories have both been achieved when he started from that position.
Team Suzuki Ecstar’s Maverick Viñales will start the race from ninth on the grid, with Monster Yamaha Tech 3’s Pol Espargaro & Bradley Smith in tenth and eleventh respectively.
Avintia Racing’s Hector Barbera was the leading Open class rider in fifteenth, with the Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS Honda of Scott Redding down in 17th.
- Andrea IANNONE (29) Ducati Team DUCATI
- Jorge LORENZO (99) Movistar Yamaha MotoGP YAMAHA
- Andrea DOVIZIOSO (4) Ducati Team DUCATI
- Cal CRUTCHLOW (35) CWM LCR Honda HONDA
- Aleix ESPARGARO (41) Team Suzuki Ecstar SUZUKI
- Michele PIRRO (51) Ducati Team DUCATI
- Dani PEDROSA (26) Repsol Honda Team HONDA
- Valentino ROSSI (46) Movistar Yamaha MotoGP YAMAHA
- Maverick VIÑALES (25) Team Suzuki Ecstar SUZUKI
- Pol ESPARGARO (44) Monster Yamaha Tech 3 YAMAHA
- Bradley SMITH (38) Monster Yamaha Tech 3 YAMAHA
- Yonny HERNANDEZ (68) Pramac Racing DUCATI
- Marc MARQUEZ (93), Repsol Honda Team HONDA
- Danilo PETRUCCI (9) Pramac Racing DUCATI
- Hector BARBERA (8) Avintia Racing DUCATI
- Stefan BRADL (6) Athinà Forward Racing YAMAHA
- Scott REDDING (45) EG 0,0 Marc VDS HONDA
- Loris BAZ (76) Athinà Forward Racing YAMAHA
- Nicky HAYDEN (69) Aspar MotoGP Team HONDA
- Karel ABRAHAM (17) AB Motoracing HONDA
- Alvaro BAUTISTA (19) Aprilia Racing Team Gresini APRILIA
- Mike DI MEGLIO (63) Avintia Racing DUCATI
- Jack MILLER (43) CWM LCR Honda HONDA
- Eugene LAVERTY (50) Aspar MotoGP Team HONDA
- Alex DE ANGELIS (15) Octo IodaRacing Team ART
- Marco MELANDRI (33) Aprilia Racing Team Gresini APRILIA