Le Mans MotoGP | Marquez Earns Pole Ahead of Lorenzo & Dovi

2013 Le Mans MotoGP Qualifying Results

When Marc Marquez joined the premier MotoGP class, he was expected to be fast. But the speed the 20-year-old Spaniard has produced through the first three rounds was beyond fast. Marquez, the reigning Moto2 Champion, has finished on the podium in every race, including a win at Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas.

Due to his impressive finishes, Marquez holds the points lead heading into round four 0f 18 at Le Mans. And Marquez is in the most optimal position to take yet another win after achieving pole on Saturday in France.

This was Marquez’s second pole of the season, his first arriving at Circuit of the Americas. Marquez will be joined on the front row by Yamaha Factory Racing’s Jorge Lorenzo and Ducati Team’s Andrea Dovizioso.

Marquez achieved a lap time of 1:33.1.87 on his fourth lap en route to the pole. To put this time into perspective, the circuit record is a 1:33.617 (Repsol Honda’s Dani Pedrosa, 2011), and the best pole time is a 1:32.647 (Pedrosa, 2008).

Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda RC213V MotoGP) says: “Qualifying went very well. After FP3, in which we had a small front end crash and I lost my confidence a little, I was back on it immediately. It was hard to heat up the tyres, but that was the same for everyone.

“I think that’s the reason why there were so many crashes. I am very happy, because I think that we had a good session and have a good pace. Tomorrow we will try to give 100% and see if we are fortunate enough to have a dry race. If it is a wet one, then we just have to do as well as we can.”

Marquez was a mere 0.030 of a second quicker than two-time MotoGP Champion Lorenzo, with Dovizioso 0.416 of a second behind.

Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha Factory Racing YZR-M1 MotoGP) says “Our pace is very good, much better than Jerez where I did two laps and then in the third or fourth lap it was impossible to keep the same pace. Here in this track with the improvement we made with the bike it’s much more easy to keep a constant pace so I’m much more satisfied.

“I tried to make a perfect lap, it was ok, but Marc was just slightly faster than me. I don’t know what will happen if it rains tomorrow because we haven’t tried it in the wet. Last year it was ok, but every year it’s different so I don’t know what to expect. I would prefer a dry race. If it rains though it can be a possibility to recover some points if we don’t make a mistake.”

This was Dovi’s first front-row position since Malaysia in 2012 when he was on the satellite Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Yamaha team. Also, this was the first time that Honda, Yamaha and Ducati shared the front-row qualifying spots since Jerez of 2012.

Heading up the second row will be Monster Yamaha Tech 3’s Cal Crutchlow, who will be joined by LCR Honda’s Stefan Bradl and Repsol Honda’s Dani Pedrosa, who suffered a heavy crash at turn 3 in qualifying. Pedrosa was also fastest on Friday during the free practice sessions.

GO&FUN Honda Gresini’s Alvaro Bautista qualified on top of the third row, the Spaniard followed by the final rider to post within a second of Marquez, Yamaha Factory Racing’s Valentino Rossi.

The nine-time World Champion, who was 0.822 of a second behind Marquez, has won at Le Mans three times in the premier class, as did his teammate Lorenzo.

Joining Bautista and Rossi on the third row will be Monster Yamaha Tech 3’s Bradley Smith. This was Smith’s best qualifying position ever.

Ducati Team’s Nicky Hayden completed the top 10, followed by the Power Electronics Aspar CRT riders Aleix Esparagaro and Randy de Puniet, respectively. This was the first time two CRT riders made it into Q2.

Elsewhere, Michele Pirro qualified 14th and one place behind Pramac Racing teammate Andrea Iannone as he stands in for the recovering Ben Spies, while Colin Edwards was highly optimistic with the latest evolution of his FTR frame and went on to qualify 17th for NGM Mobile Forward Racing. On his return, Karel Abraham – with seven screws and a plate in his right shoulder following a collision in Austin – was, like Iannone, still in some pain but managed to achieve a sixth row placing.

The grid will return to the 2.597-mile circuit Sunday for Le Mans MotoGP. SPEED TV will cover the race at 8 a.m. EDT Sunday. For a preview of the race, click here.

2013 Le Mans MotoGP Qualifying Results:

1 93 Marc MARQUEZ SPA Repsol Honda Team Honda 301.9 1’33.187
2 99 Jorge LORENZO SPA Yamaha Factory Racing Yamaha 302.6 1’33.217 0.030 / 0.030
3 4 Andrea DOVIZIOSO ITA Ducati Team Ducati 299.2 1’33.603 0.416 / 0.386
4 35 Cal CRUTCHLOW GBR Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Yamaha 301.1 1’33.609 0.422 / 0.006
5 6 Stefan BRADL GER LCR Honda MotoGP Honda 303.2 1’33.634 0.447 / 0.025
6 26 Dani PEDROSA SPA Repsol Honda Team Honda 303.1 1’33.639 0.452 / 0.005
7 19 Alvaro BAUTISTA SPA GO&FUN Honda Gresini Honda 302.1 1’33.984 0.797 / 0.345
8 46 Valentino ROSSI ITA Yamaha Factory Racing Yamaha 299.2 1’34.009 0.822 / 0.025
9 38 Bradley SMITH GBR Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Yamaha 302.4 1’34.222 1.035 / 0.213
10 69 Nicky HAYDEN USA Ducati Team Ducati 297.1 1’34.242 1.055 / 0.020
11 41 Aleix ESPARGARO SPA Power Electronics Aspar ART 286.7 1’34.754 1.567 / 0.512
12 14 Randy DE PUNIET FRA Power Electronics Aspar ART 287.6 1’35.086 1.899 / 0.332
13 29 Andrea IANNONE ITA Energy T.I. Pramac Racing Ducati 300.3 1’35.062 0.347 / 0.169
14 51 Michele PIRRO ITA Ignite Pramac Racing Ducati 296.1 1’35.228 0.513 / 0.166
15 8 Hector BARBERA SPA Avintia Blusens FTR 292.3 1’35.714 0.999 / 0.486
16 9 Danilo PETRUCCI ITA Came IodaRacing Project Ioda-Suter 282.9 1’35.770 1.055 / 0.056
17 5 Colin EDWARDS USA NGM Mobile Forward Racing FTR Kawasaki 284.4 1’36.221 1.506 / 0.451
18 17 Karel ABRAHAM CZE Cardion AB Motoracing ART 287.1 1’36.271 1.556 / 0.050
19 71 Claudio CORTI ITA NGM Mobile Forward Racing FTR Kawasaki 285.6 1’36.330 1.615 / 0.059
20 70 Michael LAVERTY GBR Paul Bird Motorsport PBM 287.0 1’36.596 1.881 / 0.266
21 67 Bryan STARING AUS GO&FUN Honda Gresini FTR Honda 284.5 1’36.714 1.999 / 0.118
22 52 Lukas PESEK CZE Came IodaRacing Project Ioda-Suter 283.1 1’36.768 2.053 / 0.054
23 68 Yonny HERNANDEZ COL Paul Bird Motorsport ART 282.1 1’36.961 2.246 / 0.193
24 7 Hiroshi AOYAMA JPN Avintia Blusens FTR 283.0 1’37.523 2.808 / 0.562