Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda RC213V) will start his home race from pole position after setting an electrifying pace at Catalunya, outside the city of Barcelona.
The two-time MotoGP Word Champion was in stunning form as he sped to a fastest lap time almost half a second quicker than closest competitor Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha).
Fellow Catalan rider Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda RC213V) made it two RC213Vs on the front row with the third fastest time, his best qualifying performance of 2016.
However, today was a sombre day for the entire MotoGP community, following the tragic events of yesterday when Moto2 rider Luis Salom lost his life after a fall during afternoon practice. Honda extends its deepest condolences to Luis’ family, friends and team. This weekend’s meeting continues following consultation with his family, other riders and MotoGP’s Safety Commission.
In response to Salom’s accident at turn 12, the Safety Commission decided to switch to the circuit layout used by Formula 1 cars. This layout includes a chicane following turn 12, which slows speeds into the corner, and a tighter version of turn ten. Riders had today in which to perfect machine set-up for a considerably different second half of the lap.
Marquez and his crew worked brilliantly to optimise bike agility through the rapid change of direction in the corners immediately following turn 12. The 23-year-old, who trails championship leader Lorenzo by ten points, scored his 61st career pole in brilliant style despite an earlier tumble.
Team-mate Pedrosa’s best time was 0.718 seconds off pole and good enough for his first front row start of the year. The former 125cc and 250cc World Champion has spent the weekend using a new chassis and building on the promise of Mugello, where he finished a strong fourth. Tomorrow he will aim for his first victory at Catalunya since 2008.
Showing good pace throughout the weekend, Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda RC213V) built on his third best lap time in FP4 to qualify seventh. The Briton found the fast change of direction in the final sector difficult to adapt to but used his late-braking prowess to make up considerable time in the circuit’s other heavy braking areas.
Jack Miller (EG 0,0 Marc VDS Honda RC213V) ended today 19th fastest as he struggled to find a good feeling with the front tyre. The Australian fell twice yesterday but has improved his race pace and is hoping to match his 2015 Catalan outing when he finished 12th, his best rookie MotoGP result.
Team-mate Tito Rabat (EG 0,0 Marc VDS Honda RC213V) found the new track layout difficult for his recent injury. The 2014 Moto2 World Champion fractured his left collarbone two weeks ago at the Italian Grand Prix. He bravely made the decision to race at his home circuit following successful surgery. The Spaniard ended qualifying in 20th place.