The Suzuki GSX-RR made quite the statement during qualifying for round seven of the 2015 MotoGP Championship at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya.Team Suzuki Ecstar’s Aleix Espargaro and Maverick Vinales, respectively, claimed the 1-2 qualifying positions for Sunday’s 25-lap Grand Prix of Catalunya. Espargaro earned his second-career MotoGP pole in dominating style – he broke the lap record set by Repsol Honda’s Dani Pedrosa in 2013. This was also the first pole for Suzuki since Chris Vermeulen at 2007 Assen MotoGP.
Espargaro claimed the pole with a lap of 140.893, and Vinales followed 0.083 of a second behind. Taking the final front-row starting position was the man who won the last three rounds of 2015 MotoGP, Movistar Yamaha MotoGP’s Jorge Lorenzo.Speaking before a home crowd, Espargaro says: “Unbelievable. I push 100 percent. With the first tire I push a lot but not to the limit, the second tyre I push, everything or nothing! I almost crashed because I opened the throttle so early. First and second for Suzuki is great after the work they have done it’s like a present for them. Hopefully we can be near the front tomorrow.“Let’s cross our fingers and hope for a dry race for all the people coming tomorrow. I think it’s much better dry than wet. We did a lot of laps on used tires in FP4, 25 like the race. I think our pace is very similar at the top. Yesterday I said pole wasn’t important, but it will be a dream to fight with Jorge, Marc and Vale for the podium.”Lorenzo earned his fourth-consecutive front-row start, the two-time MotoGP Champion finishing 0.1 of a second behind Espargaro.Heading up row two is the reigning MotoGP Champion who has struggled so far this season, Repsol Honda’s Marc Marquez. The Spaniard, who set a quick pace during the final lap only to peter out in the final sector, finished 0.208 of a second behind Espargaro.Joining Marquez on row two is Ducati Team’s Andrea Dovizioso, who finished on the podium four times this season, and the other Honda RC213V pilot, Dani Pedrosa.The winningest rider at Catalunya, nine-time World Champion Valentino Rossi, will start seventh on his Movistar Yamaha MotoGP YZR-M1. He was followed by Monster Tech 3 Yamaha’s Bradley Smith and CWM LCR Honda’s Cal Crutchlow, who crashed on turn 10.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 Marc VDS Racing’s Scott Redding. As for the sole American in 2015 MotoGP, Aspar MotoGP Team’s Nicky Hayden will start from 18th.AB Motoracing Honda’s Karel Abraham suffered a horrible crash in FP4, and will be sidelined for Sunday’s MotoGP; he dislocated his left foot’s big toe.
This week, Senior Editor Nic de Sena rides the all new Ducati Monster. Big changes have been made by Ducati–has the company ruined the considerable heritage of the iconic Monster–or are the changes worth it? In the second part of the show, we chat with Nick Ienatsch, Founder and Head Instructor at the Yamaha Champions Riding School. He says: “We aim to change your riding life by introducing you to Champions Habits: The techniques, approaches, skills, and the mindsets of the best riders in the world. These Champions Habits are the foundation of safety and consistency to whatever speed you ride, in any venue on any bike. Street riders, this is just as much for you as track riders. The best way to make safe riders is to make good riders.“ We hope you enjoy this episode!