2016 Jerez MotoGP Qualifying ResultsWhen Jorge Lorenzo claimed the pole for the 2016 MotoGP season opener in Qatar, the reigning champ qualified in the top position for the 62nd time of his GP career.This allowed him to steal the record of most poles from nine-time World Champion and Movistar Yamaha MotoGP teammate Valentino Rossi. But the 37-year-old Italian wasn’t about to let Lorenzo win storm away with the record; he earned the 62nd pole of his GP career Saturday at round four in Jerez, the first European round of the season, and is now once again tied with Lorenzo.
And the YZR-M1 pilot completed the task in dominating style; Rossi, who has earned six premier-class victories at Jerez, posted a best lap of 1:38.736 around the 2.75-mile circuit containing 13 corners. He finished 0.122 of a second ahead of future Ducati Team rider Lorenzo.Taking the final front-row starting position is Repsol Honda’s Marquez, who finished a mere 0.033 of a second behind Lorenzo. Marquez is also in the race for most poles; the two-time MotoGP Champion earned the top qualifying positions at rounds two and three in Argentina and Texas, respectively, placing him third overall in poles with 60.Rossi, who suffered two weeks ago his first crash at Austin’s Circuit of the Americas after 25-consecutive top-five positions, led FP3, and was immediately the rider to chase during the 15-minute qualifying two session.This was the Italian’s first pole since last season’s Dutch GP in Assen.“We worked a lot because last year we struggled during qualifying. This year, with the Michelin tires, I feel better and I already started on the front row two times, but pole position is something different, especially here in Jerez,” Rossi says.“I knew I could be competitive, but during the last races we had some problems and I made a mistake in Austin. We didn‘t take the results we expected, so we have to start doing so now. For sure tomorrow will be very hard with Lorenzo and Marquez, but we are there and we can fight.”The top-eight riders were all within a second of Rossi, though from fourth-on nobody was even close to the front-row starters.Claiming fourth – the top of the second row – was Ducati Team’s Andrea Dovizioso. The Italian finished 0.844 of a second behind Rossi, and was followed by a mere 0.001 of a second by Team Suzuki Ecstar’s Maverick Vinales, and 0.007 of a second by Vinales’ teammate, Aleix Espargaro.Rounding out the top 12 in Qualifying were Marquez’s Teammate Dani Pedrosa, Monster Yamaha Tech 3’s Pol Espargaro, Avintia Racing Ducati’s Hector Barbera LCR Honda’s Cal Crutchlow, Ducati Team’s Andrea Iannone, and Avintia Racing Ducati’s Loris Baz.The 21-rider MotoGP grid returns to Jerez tomorrow for the 27-lap Spanish Grand Prix, which gets underway at 2 p.m. local time. With three podiums that includes two wins, Marquez has a total of 66 points, 21 ahead of Lorenzo. Rossi is in third with 33 points.Photography by Luciano Bianchetto