2019 Le Mans MotoGP Qualifying: Marquez on Pole; Equals Rossi’s Record

2019 Le Mans MotoGP Qualifying: Marquez on Pole
Honda's Marc Marquez

2019 Le Mans MotoGP Qualifying Results

Marc Marquez is the master of saving crashes – the Spaniard typically able to pick up his Repsol Honda RC213V with a knee, regardless of tucking a front or rear tire.

During the second qualifying session held under wet conditions for the French Grand Prix at the Le Mans Bugatti Circuit, Marquez wasn’t so lucky. He crashed at La Chapelle, a wide right-hand turn 6. He held on as he slid through the gravel trap, and immediately return to action, though at a slower pace.

2019 Le Mans MotoGP Qualifying: Marquez on Pole
Honda’s Marc Marquez

This crash or the resulting slower pace didn’t matter; it happened on lap three – just after Marquez set the fastest lap of 1:40.952 to claim the pole position for Sunday’s 27-lap French GP.

Marquez now has 55 poles in the premier class – which equals Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP’s Valentino Rossi. Both are now three behind the record poleman Mick Doohan.

Joining Marquez on the front row Sunday are two Ducati riders: Mission Winnow Ducati’s Danilo Petrucci, who finished 0.360 of a second behind, and Pramac Racing Ducati’s Jack Miller, who finished 0.414 behind.

Following is from the official MotoGP qualifying report:

Question marks over which tires to go with were obvious ahead of the green light and as the riders appeared, only three riders gambled on slick tires: Rossi, teammate Maverick Viñales and fellow Yamaha man Fabio Quartararo (Petronas Yamaha SRT). But it didn’t pay off as the rain started to fall ever so slightly heavier at Le Mans, so the M1 trio came straight back into pit-lane to switch bikes.

Meanwhile, the riders who had gone for the wet tires were busy getting their first lap times on the board, and it was Marquez who went to the top of the standings after Petrucci and Miller had taken turns to go P1, with Marquez’ advantage nearly 0.4 seconds. He then set about going for another hot lap but at Turn 6, the Repsol Honda rider slid down the road. Marquez tried his best to save it but it wasn’t to be this time around, however, he was able to continue on his way.

2019 Le Mans MotoGP Qualifying: Marquez on Pole; Equals Rossi's Record Ducati Petrucci
Ducati’s Danilo Petrucci

Conditions were getting ever so slightly worse as the rain continued to fall at a slow rate. Q1 graduate Rossi was now out on wet tires and ‘The Doctor’ was chipping away, gradually climbing his way up the timing screens as the field struggled to improve on their personal best laps. Marquez stayed out after his crash but the Championship leader wasn’t able to find any more time, with Rossi one of the only riders to find some – the 40-year-old jumping up to fifth on his final flying lap, with Jorge Lorenzo (Repsol Honda Team) also improving late on the grab P8.

Other than that though, there were no late changes as Pol Espargaro (Red Bull KTM Ajo), Miller and Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda Idemitsu) all suffered late crashes – riders ok.

Mission Winnow Ducati’s Andrea Dovizioso heads up an all-Italian second row of the grid with Q1 graduates Rossi and Franco Morbidelli (Petronas Yamaha SRT) doing the business in Q2. Nakagami’s late fall didn’t make too much of a difference as he’ll start 7th – his best MotoGP™ qualifying performance. Lorenzo will start eighth for his best Honda Q2 result, he’ll line up just ahead of Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini) – his and Aprilia’s best Saturday afternoon result since Valencia 2018.

2019 Le Mans MotoGP Qualifying: Marquez on Pole; Equals Rossi's Record
Yamaha’s Valentino Rossi

Heading into Sunday’s race, Marquez leads Team Ecstar Suzuki’s Alex Rins, who qualified 19th, by a single point, and is three ahead of Dovi and nine ahead of Rossi.

The rain may happen again Sunday, which will make for yet another round of 2019 MotoGP. Check out live television times at 2019 MotoGP TV Times.

Photos by Luciano Bianchetto (From Friday Practice)

2019 Le Mans Qualifying Results (Q2):

1. Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) – 1:40.952
2. Danilo Petrucci (Ducati Team) + 0.360
3. Jack Miller (Pramac Racing) + 0.414
4. Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team) + 0.600
5. Valentino Rossi (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) + 0.703
6. Franco Morbidelli (Petronas Yamaha SRT) + 0.729
7. Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda Idemitsu) + 1.107
8. Jorge Lorenzo (Repsol Honda Team) + 1.115
9. Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini) + 1.498
10. Fabio Quartararo (Petronas Yamaha SRT) + 1.557
11. Maverick Viñales (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) + 1.603
12. Pol Espargaro (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) – no time set