Marc Marquez storms to Le Mans pole

A stunning performance from reigning champion Marc Marquez resulted in MotoGP pole position at Le Mans ahead of Andrea Dovizioso and Jorge Lorenzo.

The Repsol Honda rider lapped the Le Mans Bugatti circuit on the ragged edge to grab the fastest lap time ahead of Ducati's Dovizioso and factory Yamaha rider Lorenzo.

Cal Crutchlow was the first to lay down a marker on his LCR Honda machine, but he was quickly bumped down the order by the rapid Dovizioso and Lorenzo who were swapping the top position early on in the 15 minute session.

The weather conditions barely improved from this morning, with cold and even damp patches on the track, but this wasn't to faze Marquez. The Spaniard eventually set a best lap of 1m32.246s, with Lorenzo and Dovizioso over half a second off the pole sitter.

Marquez's lap was 1.3s faster than any other lap he'd managed all weekend, and he said: “We changed the setup and it looks like it’s working better, but it will be tough tomorrow.”

Lorenzo admitted to a mistake: “No excuses, I braked too late for the chicane, so I made a mistake on my best lap.”

Crutchlow will start from the front of the second row while Andrea Iannone set the fifth fastest time on the second of the factory Ducati machines.

Bradley Smith failed to match his Friday pace and only set the sixth quickest time, and will start one place ahead of Valentino Rossi, who put his lack of pace down to trying a new set-up.

Dani Pedrosa put in a solid performance in his first qualifying session after missing three rounds, and the Spaniard was right behind Marquez early on. But as the session went on he couldn't match the pace of the frontrunners, and will start from eighth.

Pramac Racing's Danilo Petrucci fought his way through Q1 to take the final place on the third row, and will start in front of Suzuki's Aleix Espargaro, who also fought hard to make it into Q2 after a monster high-side crash in third practice.

The final two spots inside the top dozen were taken by Pramac Racing's Yonny Hernandez and the second Tech 3 machine of Pol Espargaro.

A crash for Scott Redding in Q1 cost the Brit any chance of making the Q2 cut, the frustrated Brit lining up down in 15th for Sunday's race behind top Open class rider Nicky Hayden.

Qualifying results:

Pos Rider Bike Time/Gap
1 Marc Marquez Honda 1m32.246
2 Andrea Dovizioso Ducati 0.503
3 Jorge Lorenzo Yamaha 0.600
4 Cal Crutchlow Honda 0.651
5 Andrea Iannone Ducati 0.755
6 Bradley Smith Yamaha 1.053
7 Valentino Rossi Yamaha 1.106
8 Dani Pedrosa Honda 1.173
9 Danilo Petrucci Ducati 1.310
10 Aleix Espargaro Suzuki 1.419
11 Yonny Hernandez Ducati 1.468
12 Pol Espargaro Yamaha 1.478
13 Maverick Vinales Suzuki 1.999
14 Nicky Hayden Honda 2.021
15 Scott Redding Honda 2.305
16 Stefan Bradl Yamaha Forward 2.329
17 Mike Di Meglio Ducati 2.587
18 Jack Miller Honda 2.612
19 Hector Barbera Ducati 2.624
20 Karel Abraham Honda 2.694
21 Eugene Laverty Honda 2.701
22 Loris Baz Yamaha Forward 3.210
23 Alvaro Bautista Aprilia 3.212
24 Alex de Angelis ART 3.434
25 Marco Melandri Aprilia 5.276
Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series MotoGP
Event French GP
Track Le Mans Circuit Bugatti
Drivers Valentino Rossi , Bradley Smith , Andrea Dovizioso , Jorge Lorenzo , Cal Crutchlow , Aleix Espargaro , Marc Marquez , Yonny Hernandez , Danilo Petrucci , Pol Espargaro , Andrea Iannone
Teams Repsol Honda Team , Yamaha Factory Racing , Pramac Racing , Tech 3 , Team LCR
Article type Qualifying report
Tags le mans