Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda CASTROL RC213V) won a superb pole position at sun-blessed Jerez this afternoon, bettering fellow RC213V rider Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda Team RC213V) by 0.259 seconds with the fastest-ever lap around the famous Andalusian racetrack. Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team RC213V), winner of the last Grand Prix in the USA two weekends ago, ended the day fifth overall, a mere 0.324 seconds off pole position.

The 15-minute Q2 qualifying session was a real thriller, with Honda riders dominating much of the way, with Crutchlow, Pedrosa and Marquez in the top three for much of the time.

The lead was shared mostly by Marquez and Crutchlow, who finally secured his fourth MotoGP pole position and his first since the 2016 British Grand Prix.

Positions changed constantly throughout the quarter of an hour, with MotoGP’s greatest stars riding the outer limits in search of the best-possible grid position. Their jobs weren’t made easier by the scorching-hot weather conditions which had track temperatures reaching 44 degrees.

Crutchlow was delighted with his performance, which continues a strong series of showings at each of this year’s opening rounds. He finished a close fourth at the season-opening Qatar Grand Prix, won round two in Argentina and was going well in the USA when he slid off, before remounting to finish 19th. The 32-year-old Briton was a close second fastest to Marquez in the first three free practice sessions. All weekend he has paid tribute to the sterling support he receives from HRC, which has provided him with a motorcycle that he can take to the absolute limit.

Pedrosa’s qualifying result was another heroic achievement from the 32-year-old Spaniard, who broke his right hand in Argentina, following an accident caused by another rider. Two weeks ago in the USA the former 125cc and 250cc World Champion fought his way through the pain barrier to finish a brave seventh. Tomorrow he will once again need painkillers to perform at his best around this challenging circuit. Pedrosa always goes well here – he won last year’s Jerez MotoGP race in dominant style.

Marquez had a favourite for pole position after topping FP1, FP2 and FP3. The 25-year-old reigning MotoGP World Champion had shown stunning pace throughout the weekend and seemed to have speed to spare. But he had one minor tumble in today’s FP4 session and another yesterday, so that finally the qualifying session didn’t quite go his way. He was on top for much of the 15 minutes but ran wide at turn six on his final run, which didn’t help his situation. Nonetheless, the six-times World Champion (four in MotoGP, one each in Moto2 and 125s) has a consistently fast pace, which will most likely make him Crutchlow’s number-one rival tomorrow. Marquez last won here in 2014.

Two of Honda’s three MotoGP rookies had storming rides in the opening Q1 session, coming very close to gaining promotion to the Q2 outing, proving once again that they are learning more and more about getting the maximum from a 250-horsepower MotoGP machine.

Former Moto2 race winner Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda IDEMITSU RC213V) will start the race from the fifth row of the grid in 14th position, just one place and 0.063 seconds ahead of reigning Moto2 World Champion Franco Morbidelli (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS Honda RC213V). The 26-year-old from Chiba and the 23-year-old Roman can look forward to a great duel tomorrow.

Thomas Luthi (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS Honda RC213V), who started preseason testing later than his fellow rookies, qualified 18th, one row behind Nakagami and Morbidelli. The competition in MotoGP is closer than ever, with just 0.869 seconds covering the first four rows of the grid.

Cal Crutchlow

Cal Crutchlow 35

1st / 1m 37.653s

“It’s nice to get pole, sure, but we are here to race and the key point is tomorrow. We had bad qualifying sessions at the last two races, so it’s for the team and for Honda to get pole here. I don’t think conditions are the best for our bike. We have to look after the front tyre here, so that will be important in the race. I gambled with three rear tyres in qualifying. I didn’t push enough with the first, the second gave me more grip than I expected and eventually we got pole. I’m pleased because this proves we did the hard work in testing and at the first races. I hope for good race and an enjoyable race for me and everyone else. I’m sure you’ll see a battle – there’s a lot of guys running a good pace.”

LCR Honda Castrol
Dani Pedrosa

Dani Pedrosa 26

2nd / 1m 37.912s

“I’m surprised and happy to be on the front row, which is always important here. I wish to thank my team for all the hard work this weekend. When you’re not 100% physically fit, it’s not easy to find the best feeling on the bike, but the team is helping a lot and I appreciate it. Now we have to focus on choosing the right tyre for the race, as we haven’t decided that yet. It looks like several riders have a good pace, so tomorrow we’ll have to focus a lot on ourselves and try to get a good start. The race this year will be two laps shorter and that’s important, but we must see what conditions we’ll have and what we’re able to do.”

Repsol Honda Team
Marc Marquez

Marc Marquez 93

5th / 1m 37.977s

“Honestly, I’m not satisfied with my qualifying. I’m actually referring to myself, as today I wasn’t able to find the ‘perfect lap.’ I set my fastest time in my first run, when I rode more smoothly and calmly; then I made many mistakes and couldn’t improve on it. On the other hand, the second row isn’t that bad, and we have a good pace. Of course the race won’t be easy as there are other riders—starting with my teammate—who are capable of keeping a good pace on a medium or hard rear tyre. It will be a long, tough race. Today was already quite hot, and it looks like the temperature will rise even more tomorrow. We saw many crashes in all the classes, as the track is becoming quite slippery, so we’ll have to adjust the setup to these conditions, choose the right rear tyre, and try to do our best."

Repsol Honda Team
Takaaki Nakagami

Takaaki Nakagami 30

14th / 1m 38.481s

“I’m really happy for the team because Cal did a great job to get pole, which is great for everyone in the team, so my congratulations to them and especially to Cal. I’m a little disappointed because I missed going into Q2 by a tenth of a second, because I made one small mistake on my best lap in Q1. Anyway, we are improving the way I can use the soft rear tyre, because we struggled with this yesterday. Day by day and session by session we are learning. The race will be tough here, because the gap between all the riders is so tight and it’s a long race in what will be hot conditions. I think tyre management will be the key. I will need a good start, then I will try my best and hope for my best MotoGP result.”

LCR Honda Idemitsu
Franco Morbidelli

Franco Morbidelli 21

15th / 1m 38.544s

“Unfortunately I didn’t achieve my maximum potential in qualifying with a mistake at turn eight that cost valuable time. But I am fast and feel I can fight for some good points in the race although we are still looking to improve stability on corner exit. In FP4 we managed to find a good balance on used tyres so this is positive for the race.”

EG 0,0 Marc VDS
Thomas Luthi

Thomas Luthi 12

18th / 1m 38.752s

“Finally I did a good qualifying session, I had a precise feeling with the bike and improved my times. But I still need to improve my race rhythm, I lose time when the tyre drops after a few laps and hopefully we can find some solutions in the warm-up tomorrow morning. I’m looking forward to a strong race.”

EG 0,0 Marc VDS
Gran Premio Red Bull de España

Circuito de Jerez, Spain

MotoGP 2018, Round 4

Saturday 5 May 2018, 19:32 UTC
# Rider Num Nationality Nat. Team Constructor Constr. Time/Gap
1 Cal Crutchlow 35 GBR LCR Honda Castrol Honda 1'37.653
2 Dani Pedrosa 26 SPA Repsol Honda Team Honda +1'37.912
3 Johann Zarco 5 FRA Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Yamaha +1'37.956
4 Jorge Lorenzo 99 SPA Ducati Team Ducati +1'37.969
5 Marc Marquez 93 SPA Repsol Honda Team Honda +1'37.977
6 Alex Rins 42 SPA Team SUZUKI ECSTAR Suzuki +1'37.984
7 Andrea Iannone 29 ITA Team SUZUKI ECSTAR Suzuki +1'37.987
8 Andrea Dovizioso 4 ITA Ducati Team Ducati +1'38.029
9 Danilo Petrucci 9 ITA Alma Pramac Racing Ducati +1'38.086
10 Valentino Rossi 46 ITA Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Yamaha +1'38.267
11 Maverick Viñales 25 SPA Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Yamaha +1'38.281
12 Jack Miller 43 AUS Alma Pramac Racing Ducati +1'38.522
13 Aleix Espargaro 41 SPA Aprilia Racing Team Gresini Aprilia +1'38.389
14 Takaaki Nakagami 30 JPN LCR Honda Idemitsu Honda +1'38.481
15 Franco Morbidelli 21 ITA EG 0,0 Marc VDS Honda +1'38.544
16 Pol Espargaro 44 SPA Red Bull KTM Factory Racing KTM +1'38.598
17 Tito Rabat 53 SPA Reale Avintia Racing Ducati +1'38.610
18 Thomas Luthi 12 SWI EG 0,0 Marc VDS Honda +1'38.752
19 Mika Kallio 36 FIN KTM Test Team KTM +1'38.759
20 Alvaro Bautista 19 SPA Ángel Nieto Team Ducati +1'38.838
21 Bradley Smith 38 GBR Red Bull KTM Factory Racing KTM +1'38.961
22 Hafizh Syahrin 55 THA Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Yamaha +1'39.135
23 Karel Abraham 17 CZE Ángel Nieto Team Ducati +1'39.146
24 Xavier Simeon 10 BEL Reale Avintia Racing Ducati +1'39.708
25 Scott Redding 45 GBR Aprilia Racing Team Gresini Aprilia +1'39.918
Rider Standings
Sunday, 22 Apr 2018 - Open world standings grid
# Rider Num Nationality Nat. Points Pts. Team Constructor Constr.
1 Andrea DOVIZIOSO 4 ITA 46 Ducati Team Ducati
2 Marc MARQUEZ 93 SPA 45 Repsol Honda Team Honda
3 Maverick VIñALES 25 SPA 41 Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Yamaha
4 Johann ZARCO 5 FRA 38 Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Yamaha
5 Cal CRUTCHLOW 35 GBR 38 LCR Honda Castrol Honda
6 Andrea IANNONE 29 ITA 31 Team SUZUKI ECSTAR Suzuki
7 Valentino ROSSI 46 ITA 29 Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Yamaha
8 Jack MILLER 43 AUS 26 Alma Pramac Racing Ducati
9 Tito RABAT 53 SPA 22 Reale Avintia Racing Ducati
10 Danilo PETRUCCI 9 ITA 21 Alma Pramac Racing Ducati
11 Dani PEDROSA 26 SPA 18 Repsol Honda Team Honda
12 Alex RINS 42 SPA 16 Team SUZUKI ECSTAR Suzuki
13 Hafizh SYAHRIN 55 THA 9 Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Yamaha
14 Pol ESPARGARO 44 SPA 8 Red Bull KTM Factory Racing KTM
15 Aleix ESPARGARO 41 SPA 6 Aprilia Racing Team Gresini Aprilia
16 Jorge LORENZO 99 SPA 6 Ducati Team Ducati
17 Franco MORBIDELLI 21 ITA 6 EG 0,0 Marc VDS Honda
18 Takaaki NAKAGAMI 30 JPN 5 LCR Honda Idemitsu Honda
19 Scott REDDING 45 GBR 4 Aprilia Racing Team Gresini Aprilia
20 Alvaro BAUTISTA 19 SPA 4 Ángel Nieto Team Ducati
21 Karel ABRAHAM 17 CZE 1 Ángel Nieto Team Ducati