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Perfect MotoGP Pole Streak Ends With A Crash For Marc Marquez

Repsol Honda's Dani Pedrosa secures his first MotoGP pole since last year at the GP Monster Energy de Catalunya,

 

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Dani Pedrosa’s last MotoGP pole came at the Catalunya round last year. The Repsol Honda rider is still recovering from arm surgery which he underwent just five weeks ago.

At his home event in Barcelona, Spain, Dani Pedrosa took his first pole since the 2013 Catalan Grand Prix with a 1’40.985s lap in the Barcelona-Catalunya heat and in doing so, he ends his teammate’s perfect 2014 season at six straight pole positions. Movistar Yamaha’s Jorge Lorenzo, also riding before a home crowd, took to the track with five minutes remaining after being dropped to fourth, and was able to clock a 1’41.100s lap, good enough for the number two position on the grid for Sunday’s race. Lorenzo’s lap also knocked Marquez’s best qualifying lap time (prior to his crash) down to third.

After qualifying Pedrosa said, “I am very happy to have taken pole position today, in front of my family and the home fans! I am also delighted that, for the first time this year, I felt good on the bike in qualifying. I had a good feeling with the first tire and I could push well with the second one. I had one mistake but I still made a good lap time. Now we focus on tomorrow and doing a good race.”

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Marc Marquez again tried the strategy of switching bikes instead of tires, and he returned to his number one bike with several minutes remaining. On his final flying lap Marquez entered turn 1 too quickly and subsequently crashed, ending his perfect run of pole positions which extends back to Valencia last year.

In his post-qualifying interview, Marquez was quick to comment on the crash. “Today I made the first mistake of the season, so I need to apologize to the team because it was my fault. The strategy we had set out was coming together perfectly, but when riding with the last tire I braked too late. I knew it was my last attempt, so I tried to go into the corner anyway. That was not the best choice; I should have written off the lap, but these things happen when you are riding at home; you always try to give a little bit extra,” he reflected.

German rider Stefan Bradl (LCR Honda MotoGP), who himself suffered two big crashes at Mugello, qualified fourth after looking sharp in practice earlier in the day.

Lorenzo’s Movistar Yamaha MotoGP teammate Valentino Rossi admits qualifying is not currently his strongest point but he equaled his second best Q2 result of 2014 so far in fifth, having qualified 10th last time out in Mugello. Another home rider Aleix Espargaro (NGM Forward Racing) was happy with his qualifying effort as he completed row two, just 0.323s behind Pedrosa.

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MotoGP provisional starting grid

Row three will feature Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team), Bradley Smith (Monster Yamaha Tech3) and Yonny Hernandez (Energy T.I. Pramac Racing), with Hernandez riding well for ninth.

The fourth row will comprise Pol Espargaro (Monster Yamaha Tech3), Andrea Iannone (Pramac Racing) and Alvaro Bautista (GO&FUN Honda Gresini). Iannone and Bautista made it through from Q1 as spots of rain threatened to disrupt Q2.

The conditions stayed dry but Bautista suffered a big Q2 highside at turn 7 and was stretchered away, though he appeared to be ok.

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