Marc Márquez is still not letting up on his rivals in the lowest of the Motorcycling World Championship categories. His achievements are getting more impressive as the season advances and after today's practices, where he was again the fastest in his class in both the morning and afternoon, the Repsol rider makes it six poles - fourth in a row - out of the 8 possible to date.
Despite a minor fall mid-session this morning, the incident did not prevent Márquez from finishing the qualifying at the top of the timesheets. The rain that fell last night left the track wet and caused the Repsol rider to fall under braking on the turn running up to the finish line. A minor slip that did not stop him from going back to the garage, resting for a few minutes while his team repaired some slight damage and going back out on the track to finish the practice at the top of the timesheets. A warning from the Repsol rider that he was not going to settle for anything less than leading the 125cc category.
In the definitive qualifying session this afternoon, Márquez again dominated the category with a firm hand. On a dry track, but with a constant threat of rain, Emilio Alzamora's protégé topped the timesheets almost from the very start and stayed there until the end, when he took part in an interesting head to head with Pol Espargaró.
The Repsol rider reached the final phase of the qualifying in first place, being the only rider to come in at under one minute and twenty-seven seconds, but his compatriot overtook him with just five minutes to go. Márquez responded immediately, setting a new circuit record, but Espargaró lowered his time again. In the next lap, traffic on the track prevented both of them from improving, but with an open road, Marc Márquez did a stratospheric lap, setting a time of 1 minute, 26 seconds and 53 milliseconds, almost one second faster than the previous circuit record.
Marc Marquez says: "It's been quite an extreme qualifying because we had a good pace to ride at under one minute twenty-seven although there was quite a lot of traffic. When I was able to ride alone I noticed that they put "P2" on the board, which meant that Pol [Espargaró] had lowered the time a bit, so I decided to push a little harder and was able to ride at 1'26"0, which was very good. I think that we can have a good race tomorrow and we'll try and score some points for the championship."
"Our target is to finish on the podium and if we have the chance, battle for the win. Despite the water, I felt quite comfortable this morning. Around mid-session, I skidded a bit in a turn and fell. We were testing some adjustments that had not gone too well but towards the end, I felt much better, even with the track wet. Tomorrow, whether it rains or not, the target is to finish the race to start the holidays on a high note."
MotoGP 125 Qualifying Report
Marc Márquez will start Sunday's race from pole position thanks to a fantastic qualifying display. The 17 year-old Red Bull Ajo Motorsport rider's blistering time of 1'26.053 was 0.786s faster than Gabor Talmacsi's absolute circuit record, which had stood at the track since 2007.
On a surface which had dried out well since the morning's wet practice session, Márquez and Pol Espargaró battled for pole position in the closing stages of qualifying, with the lead time swapping hands on a number of occasions as the pair pushed one another to increasingly faster times. Márquez then pulled out an unmatchable lap towards the end to leave him 0.543s clear of his Tuenti Derbi rival, whom he leads in the Championship standings by a single point going into tomorrow's race.
Bradley Smith (Bancaja Aspar) in third was 1.325s off the pace of Márquez, and Sandro Cortese (Avant Mitsubishi Ajo) will start his home GP from the front row after taking fourth spot on the grid, just nine-thousandths off Smith. The second row will be comprised of Randy Krummenacher (Stipa-Molenaar Racing), Efrén Vázquez (Tuenti Racing), Tomoyoshi Koyama (Racing Team Germany) and Johann Zarco (WTR San Marino Team). Esteve Rabat (Blusens-STX) and Danny Webb (Andalucia Cajasol) completed the top ten.
Injured Nico Terol meanwhile returned to Spain today after deciding his was not fit enough to race after having cracked the L1 and L2 vertebrae in his back during the last round in Barcelona. With the 125s not racing at MotoGP's next stop in the USA, Terol has until the Czech round at Brno on August 15th to recover from his injuries.