Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team RC213V) produced another magical performance at Le Mans today, making the most of the treacherous damp weather to score his 55th MotoGP pole position.

Rain fell on and off throughout the day, with track temperatures very low and little grip to be had. Marquez found this to his cost at the beginning of the FP4 session, when he slid off at slow speed. Conditions continued to change, further complicating matters for riders and teams. By the start of the first Q1 qualifying session a dry line had appeared around much of the circuit, encouraging some riders to run slicks, but by the time Marquez went out for Q2 the rain had returned, requiring rain tyres.

Marquez suspected the rain would intensify, so he seized his chance and took pole position on his second lap, pushing hard from the moment he left pit lane. He continued to force his pace, trying to go even faster, only to slide off at turn six. Indomitable as always, the 26-year-old Spaniard never even let go of his sliding bike, then hopped back on and continued riding, trying to further understand track conditions in advance of tomorrow’s race, which may take place in similarly changeable weather.

The performance was typical of the talent and resolve of the reigning MotoGP World Champion, who has won five of the last six titles aboard Honda RC213V machines.

Tomorrow Marquez and his fellow RC213V riders will aim to score Honda’s landmark 300th premier-class Grand Prix victory. Honda won its first premier-class GP at its first attempt, at Hockenheim, West Germany, on May 22, 1966, with Jim Redman riding the factory’s four-cylinder RC181 500cc machine.

The company’s 100th success with 500cc machinery was achieved by Spaniard Carlos Checa at Catalunya-Barcelona in 1996. Ten years later Nicky Hayden took Honda’s 200th victory in the premier class at Assen, on his way to winning the 2006 world title aboard his Repsol Honda Team RC211V. This year Honda is also working towards achieving its 21st premier-class riders crown and 25th constructors’ prize. Both are records.

Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda IDEMITSU RC213V) also rode an impressive Q2 session, coming so close to achieving his first second-row start in MotoGP. The 27-year-old from Chiba worked his way up to sixth fastest with a few minutes to go, but in the final moments of the session another rider pushed him into seventh, which means Nakagami will start the race from the head of the third row. This still counts as the former Moto2 winner’s best grid position since he graduated to the premier-class last year.

Right next to Nakagami on the grid will be Jorge Lorenzo (Repsol Honda Team RC213V), who made an excellent start to the French Grand Prix, placing fourth fastest after yesterday’s first two practice sessions, less than three tenths of a second behind the fastest man. This suggests the three-times MotoGP World Champion is making progress with his RC213V, following some further ergonomic refinements to his machines.

However, Lorenzo didn’t feel so much at home in the difficult-to-judge conditions of the Q2 session. The 32-year-old Spaniard ended the outing eighth fastest, just eight thousandths of a second behind Nakagami. If tomorrow’s race is run in the dry, expect Lorenzo to show his speed on his RC213V.

Today’s rain was a bigger problem for Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda CASTROL RC213V). He slid off in yesterday afternoon’s FP2 session, which left him outside the top ten. When the rain arrived this morning he was unable to improve his position in FP3, so he had to qualify in Q1, which he completed in fifth place, which means he will start tomorrow’s race from 15th on the grid, his lowliest grid position since 2017. Nevertheless, the 33-year-old Briton is a tough racer, who will do everything in his power to fight his way through the pack tomorrow afternoon.

Tomorrow’s races are the fifth round of this year’s 19-event MotoGP series, which concludes at Valencia, Spain, in November. Next stop is Mugello, for the Italian Grand Prix on June 2.

Marc Marquez

Marc Marquez 93

Today was one of those days! The conditions meant you didn’t know if a slick or a wet tyre would be best with the light rain, it was really difficulty. In qualifying we knew we had to push on the first lap when there was the least water on track. Then with more water on track it got more difficult. I’m happy with this pole because it was a day where you could easily start from the back if you weren’t careful. Now we see what the weather does tomorrow!

Repsol Honda Team
Takaaki Nakagami

Takaaki Nakagami 30

Overall today, all sessions were quite tricky, especially FP4 and qualifying. I saw that Q1 was really tough, but also in Q2 it was really difficult to make the right tyre choice. Some people went for the slicks, but for us it was too risky and we used two wet tyres. But even for us it was confusing, we went out with a medium rear but at the end changed to a soft and it was the wrong choice as I had a crash at the last moment. But it was okay, I’m really happy with the result, seventh is my personal best on the grid, so that’s good. Tomorrow it’s difficult to know about the track condition with the weather, if it’s like this then the first priority will be to finish the race. We have to think about improving the set-up of the bike and the grip, but I’m happy with the result.

LCR Honda
Jorge Lorenzo

Jorge Lorenzo 99

Very tricky conditions, especially in Qualifying today. There was one sector where it was full wet with no grip and then the others were almost dry – it was tough to stay on the bike. We could have made the front two rows I think but I chose to use the soft tyre first and the medium second, with the medium first I think we could have achieved more. But we have achieved our best position of the year, that’s the positive.

Repsol Honda Team
Cal Crutchlow

Cal Crutchlow 35

The mistake was yesterday, I crashed in FP2 and had to go into Q1 and then didn’t make it through to Q2. Obviously I’m disappointed, it’s a bad day. I was actually pleased with my lap at the end, it was just too wet. It’s easy to say go out on slicks at the start of the session, but I felt I could go quicker with the medium rain tyres than with the slicks. I went out with a soft rear, thinking that if I then came in I could change to a medium and go faster, but then when I came in Valentino was on the slicks and putting red sectors everywhere, so I took the slick when I should have taken the medium and I would have been able to go fast. It was too late for slicks when I went back out and it was impossible to generate any heat. It’s a bad day, I qualified 15th, but my race pace isn’t 15th, that’s for sure. I’m not too optimistic in these wet conditions, I would prefer a dry race and then I have the pace.

LCR Honda
Grand Prix de France

Le Mans, France

MotoGP 2019, Round 5

Raining / 15
Saturday 18 May 2019, 15:21 UTC
  • Track Condition: Wet
  • Air Temp: 15°C
  • Humidity: 82%
  • Ground Temp: 17°C
# Rider Num Nationality Nat. Team Constructor Constr. Time/Gap
1 Marc Marquez 93 SPA Repsol Honda Team Honda 1'40.952
2 Danilo Petrucci 9 ITA Ducati Team Ducati +0.360
3 Jack Miller 43 AUS Alma Pramac Racing Ducati +0.414
4 Andrea Dovizioso 4 ITA Ducati Team Ducati +0.600
5 Valentino Rossi 46 ITA Yamaha Factory Racing Team Yamaha +0.703
6 Franco Morbidelli 21 ITA Petronas Yamaha SRT Yamaha +0.729
7 Takaaki Nakagami 30 JPN LCR Honda Honda +1.107
8 Jorge Lorenzo 99 SPA Repsol Honda Team Honda +1.115
9 Aleix Espargaro 41 SPA Aprilia Racing Team Gresini Aprilia +1.498
10 Fabio Quartararo 20 FRA Petronas Yamaha SRT Yamaha +1.557
11 Maverick Viñales 12 SPA Yamaha Factory Racing Team Yamaha +1.603
12 Pol Espargaro 44 SPA Red Bull KTM Factory Racing KTM +0.495
13 Francesco Bagnaia 63 ITA Alma Pramac Racing Ducati +2.315
14 Johann Zarco 5 FRA Red Bull KTM Factory Racing KTM +2.362
15 Cal Crutchlow 35 GBR LCR Honda Honda +2.447
16 Miguel Oliveira 88 POR KTM Tech 3 Racing KTM +2.718
17 Karel Abraham 17 CZE Reale Avintia Racing Ducati +2.815
18 Joan Mir 36 SPA Team SUZUKI ECSTAR Suzuki +2.939
19 Alex Rins 42 SPA Team SUZUKI ECSTAR Suzuki +3.039
20 Tito Rabat 53 SPA Reale Avintia Racing Ducati +3.684
21 Hafizh Syahrin 55 THA KTM Tech 3 Racing KTM +4.050
22 Andrea Iannone 29 ITA Aprilia Racing Team Gresini Aprilia +4.119
Cloudy / 20
Friday 17 May 2019, 15:16 UTC
  • Track Condition: Dry
  • Air Temp: 20°C
  • Humidity: 39%
  • Ground Temp: 31°C
# Rider Num Nationality Nat. Team Constructor Constr. Time/Gap
1 Maverick Viñales 12 SPA Yamaha Factory Racing Team Yamaha 1'31.428
2 Marc Marquez 93 SPA Repsol Honda Team Honda +0.190
3 Fabio Quartararo 20 FRA Petronas Yamaha SRT Yamaha +0.285
4 Jorge Lorenzo 99 SPA Repsol Honda Team Honda +0.288
5 Andrea Dovizioso 4 ITA Ducati Team Ducati +0.308
6 Danilo Petrucci 9 ITA Ducati Team Ducati +0.471
7 Pol Espargaro 44 SPA Red Bull KTM Factory Racing KTM +0.495
8 Aleix Espargaro 41 SPA Aprilia Racing Team Gresini Aprilia +0.704
9 Takaaki Nakagami 30 JPN LCR Honda Honda +0.775
10 Jack Miller 43 AUS Alma Pramac Racing Ducati +0.810
11 Franco Morbidelli 21 ITA Petronas Yamaha SRT Yamaha +0.811
12 Cal Crutchlow 35 GBR LCR Honda Honda +0.842
13 Francesco Bagnaia 63 ITA Alma Pramac Racing Ducati +0.857
14 Valentino Rossi 46 ITA Yamaha Factory Racing Team Yamaha +0.892
15 Joan Mir 36 SPA Team SUZUKI ECSTAR Suzuki +0.894
16 Alex Rins 42 SPA Team SUZUKI ECSTAR Suzuki +0.957
17 Johann Zarco 5 FRA Red Bull KTM Factory Racing KTM +1.146
18 Karel Abraham 17 CZE Reale Avintia Racing Ducati +1.571
19 Andrea Iannone 29 ITA Aprilia Racing Team Gresini Aprilia +1.713
20 Miguel Oliveira 88 POR KTM Tech 3 Racing KTM +1.973
21 Tito Rabat 53 SPA Reale Avintia Racing Ducati +2.003
22 Hafizh Syahrin 55 THA KTM Tech 3 Racing KTM +2.475
Rider Standings
Sunday, 5 May 2019 - Open world standings grid
# Rider Num Nationality Nat. Points Pts. Team Constructor Constr.
1 Marc MARQUEZ 93 SPA 70 Repsol Honda Team Honda
2 Alex RINS 42 SPA 69 Team SUZUKI ECSTAR Suzuki
3 Andrea DOVIZIOSO 4 ITA 67 Ducati Team Ducati
4 Valentino ROSSI 46 ITA 61 Yamaha Factory Racing Team Yamaha
5 Danilo PETRUCCI 9 ITA 41 Ducati Team Ducati
6 Maverick VIñALES 12 SPA 30 Yamaha Factory Racing Team Yamaha
7 Takaaki NAKAGAMI 30 JPN 29 LCR Honda Honda
8 Jack MILLER 43 AUS 29 Alma Pramac Racing Ducati
9 Cal CRUTCHLOW 35 GBR 27 LCR Honda Honda
10 Franco MORBIDELLI 21 ITA 25 Petronas Yamaha SRT Yamaha
11 Pol ESPARGARO 44 SPA 21 Red Bull KTM Factory Racing KTM
12 Aleix ESPARGARO 41 SPA 18 Aprilia Racing Team Gresini Aprilia
13 Fabio QUARTARARO 20 FRA 17 Petronas Yamaha SRT Yamaha
14 Jorge LORENZO 99 SPA 11 Repsol Honda Team Honda
15 Francesco BAGNAIA 63 ITA 9 Alma Pramac Racing Ducati
16 Joan MIR 36 SPA 8 Team SUZUKI ECSTAR Suzuki
17 Miguel OLIVEIRA 88 POR 7 KTM Tech 3 Racing KTM
18 Johann ZARCO 5 FRA 7 Red Bull KTM Factory Racing KTM
19 Andrea IANNONE 29 ITA 6 Aprilia Racing Team Gresini Aprilia
20 Stefan BRADL 6 GER 6 HRC Test Team Honda
21 Tito RABAT 53 SPA 2 Reale Avintia Racing Ducati