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Aug 25, 2018

MotoGP: Jorge Lorenzo Gets Pole Position In The Wet At Silverstone (Updated)

Jorge Lorenzo (99).

GoPro British Grand Prix

FIM MotoGP World Championship

Silverstone Circuit, England

August 25, 2018

Qualifying Results (wet conditions, all on Michelin tires):

From Qualifying Session Two:

1. Jorge Lorenzo, Spain (Ducati), 2:10.155

2. Andrea Dovizioso, Italy (Ducati), 2:10.314

3. Johann Zarco, France (Yamaha), 2:10.439

4. Cal Crutchlow, UK (Honda), 2:10.615

5. Marc Marquez, Spain (Honda), 2:11.083

6. Danilo Petrucci, Italy (Ducati), 2:11.317

7. Andrea Iannone, Italy (Suzuki), 2:11.495

8. Bradley Smith, UK (KTM), 2:11.514

9. Jack Miller, Australia (Ducati), 2:12.173

10. Alex Rins, Spain (Suzuki), 2:12.504

11. Maverick Vinales, Spain (Yamaha), 2:12.514

12. Valentino Rossi, Italy (Yamaha), 2:13.504

From Qualifying Session One:

13. Franco Morbidelli, Italy (Honda), 2:13.945

14. Scott Redding, UK (Aprilia), 2:14.171

15. Thomas Luthi, Switzerland (Honda), 2:14.198

16. Dani Pedrosa, Spain (Honda), 2:14.866

17. Aleix Espargaro, Spain (Aprilia), 2:15.141

18. Loris Baz, France (KTM), 2:15.299

19. Takaaki Nakagami, Japan (Honda), 2:15.377

20. Karel Abraham, Czech Republic (Ducati), 2:15.721

21. Alvaro Bautista, Spain (Ducati), 2:16.106

22. Xavier Simeon, Belgium (Ducati), 2:16.451

23. Hafizh Syahrin, Malaysia (Yamaha), 2:16.483

24. Tito Rabat, Spain (Ducati), no lap time recorded

More, from a press release issued by Monster Yamaha Tech 3:

Zarco reconquers front row in Silverstone – Syahrin faces comeback race

Monster Yamaha Tech3 star Johann Zarco delivered a breathtaking Qualifying at the British Grand Prix and bravely ended up in the front row again. The fast Frenchman timed his fastest lap to perfection and secured himself the third spot for tomorrow’s 12th round of the 2018 MotoGP World Championship season as the best Yamaha rider, although the conditions where far from ideal with mixed weather.

On the other side of the Monster Yamaha Tech3 garage, Hafizh Syahrin faced some tricky track time in a rain affected Q1 as well. The Malaysian MotoGP class rookie concluded the important three Free Practice sessions in P19 overall and was progressing to 12th in FP4. Later on, he was fighting trough the difficult timed session this afternoon, which he finished in 23rd, highly motivated to make up as many positions as possible during the 20 laps race at 13.00 local time tomorrow.

Johann Zarco

Position: 3rd - Time: 2’10.439 - Laps: 7

“It was not easy because of the conditions. We had a rain tyre with almost dry conditions, but that’s what I love on the bike. I could really make a difference. The others started the session quite fast, so I had to push a lot to gain a good lap time. Then I cooled down the tyre, did a good lap time again and I was first. For the second last lap I slowed down again and Marc (Marquez) was there waiting with some others. I knew I had the advantage, so I didn’t want to help them to go faster. I waited and pushed on the last lap, which was really at the limit with the chequered flag. Finally, it was a good lap, I could improve and make it to the front row. But I was fighting with Marc and I think we lost a little bit of time there. I enjoy this first row. We don’t know the conditions tomorrow yet, but I want to use this opportunity to stay with the front until the end.”

Hafizh Syahrin

Position: 23rd - Time: 2’16.483 - Laps: 6

“We had very tricky conditions during this Qualifying because when the track was full wet, we couldn’t go out due to safety reasons. On the wet places, I felt really good, but where it was already dry, I had some movements on the bike, which were not easy to control. For me it was definitely difficult, especially because it was the first time having half-half conditions. But even if I have to start from the back now, I know that I need to get off the line well tomorrow and try to be ready after the Warm Up. The forecast says rain for Sunday, so I hope I can find a good feeling in the morning and then we’ll see what we can do in the race.”

More, from a press release issued by Angel Nieto Team:


Karel Abraham and Álvaro Bautista will start from the seventh row of the grid at the British Grand Prix

Ducati will occupy the top two spots on the grid at the British GP, with Jorge Lorenzo in pole position for the second time with the Italian factory, and Andrea Dovizioso alongside him on the front row. Johann Zarco joins them, with current series leader Marc Márquez in fifth. Valentino Rossi will take off twelfth, just behind his teammate Maverick Viñales.

Rain made qualifying session tricky for the Ángel Nieto Team, and their rider pairing will start from the seventh row of the grid. Karel Abraham was twentieth and Álvaro Bautista twenty-first in the afternoon session. The Czech rider, who has struggled more than expected from a lack of winglets on his Ducati, ran a wet tyre in qualifying but believes that another compound would have sped him up by as much as two seconds. Bautista was one step away from entering Q2 directly, and went from being able to fight for a position among the top twelve, to qualifying twenty-first. The Ángel Nieto Team rider was tenth in the final minutes of FP3, but Danilo Petrucci snatched the position from him and a crash prevented the Spaniard from returning to the top 10. In qualifying -the first time he had ridden in the rain on the new asphalt at Silverstone- Bautista could not find a good feeling.

20th Karel Abraham 2:15.721: "It’s hard for us. I expected to have fewer problems without the winglets, but that wasn’t the case. Yesterday we took a big step forward, but not as big as we needed. Qualifying was our first time on the track in the wet, and the circuit had two different zones. We used medium and soft wet tyres and I think it was a mistake, because although we were strong, the bike was moving around a lot and we could have gone a couple of seconds faster with the right tyres. It is a pity we didn’t realise this before, because the session is very short and we didn’t have time to react. If it rains tomorrow it could be a problem, because there are puddles in some areas and it might be dangerous. Hopefully we compete in dry conditions or with little rain, but it is something that we will have to see about tomorrow."

21st Álvaro Bautista 2:16.106: "In the morning the track was a bit worse than yesterday, but I improved my times and I think I could have entered Q2 directly if it had not been for the crash. The track was very delicate. In the qualifying session it was the first time we had ridden here in the wet and I was not comfortable with the bike, especially with the rear end, as it lacked contact. When you have no feeling, you can’t do much in the rain. The condition of the asphalt was horrible, especially in the wet part. When it started to rain it was very bad, as I went through the place where everyone was crashing very slowly and the bike would not stop; I don’t know if there was something on the asphalt, or if because of the bumps the water remained stagnant. Going at about 180 km/h I could not brake and I went straight on, and was lucky not to crash. If it rains tomorrow like the forecast suggests, it will be impossible to ride."

More, from a press release issued by Aprilia Gresini Racing:


The well-known instability of the weather at Silverstone played a leading role in the MotoGP qualifiers. The FP4 session, which started on a dry track, ended early due to a series of crashes on asphalt that had been made treacherous by the rain. Even Aleix Espargaró was involved in an off-track excursion, managing to keep the bike upright and returning his Aprilia RS-GP to pit lane.

In qualifying, the English track was divided into two parts: one part was almost dry, in contrast to other sections with wet asphalt, forcing the riders to put on rain tyres. This was a choice that did not reward Aleix Espargaró, who only turned one flying lap in the final moments of the session and was relegated to the sixth row.

Scott Redding, always fast in these conditions, found a good pace and skilfully exploited his feeling on the wettest sections. His spot on the fifth row in fourteenth place and the forecast for rain tomorrow make him optimistic for a good race.


"The biggest problems, even in the wet, stem from the uneven asphalt. In FP4 I was among the first to go out with a rain tyre and at the end of the back straight it was impossible to brake because of the aquaplaning. I thought I was going to crash, but instead I managed to slow down enough in the gravel and stopping just short of the air fence. Unfortunately, Tito was hit by a bike while he was on the ground. First and foremost, I hope that his condition is not too serious. In qualifying, the soft tyre we started with was not the best choice. I boxed to go out with the second bike, but I only had time for one flying lap. I think that with a second lap, Q2 could have been within our potential. It will be important to make the right choice tomorrow, always putting safety first, because in the wet there are some very critical points."


"In qualifying, the wet tracked helped us, but the circuit was split into two parts. I was fast on the damp patches but lost a bit on the dry track. In these cases, tyre choice is always a compromise. At Silverstone, situations like today are the norm. I'd say that it is part of the charm of this race. Tomorrow I would prefer to race on a wet track, but in any case I'll do my best to give the fans a good show."

More, from a press release issued by Alma Pramac Racing:

GoPro British Grand Prix - Qualifying

#BritishGP Q. Petrux and Jack to start from row 2 and 3 after a crazy qualifying under the rain

It was an exciting Saturday at Silverstone. Danilo Petrucci took the direct qualifying to Q2 in an amazing FP3 finished with the second time ahead of Jack Miller (already virtually qualified after Friday's free practice). In the Q2 - delayed both by bad weather and by Tito Rabat's accident - the two Alma Pramac Racing riders were incisive in their first time attack. Jack got back on track with slicks tires to try to replicate the masterpiece of Argentina but had to settle for the third row despite the first ideal time. Petrux pushed hard and up to the third sector is in the front row. The rider from Terni made a small mistake but ended with a great P6.

P6 – Danilo Petrucci

"It was a very difficult day. In the FP4 we were very frightened with the track too wet at the end of the second straight. A thought to Tito: I saw his accident and it was really shocking. We start from the second row and to be honest it is a good result".

P9 – Jack Miller

"I tried to get out with slicks. In the first two laps, I pushed hard taking many risks. Then I figured out what trajectory to take. I'm sure that with another lap I could have done the pole position as in Argentina. However, there is a lot of confidence for tomorrow's race.

More, from a press release issued by Repsol Honda:

Bad weather conditions affect qualifying day at Silverstone

Intermittent heavy downpours disrupted Saturday’s usual proceedings at Silverstone. The MotoGP FP4 session was red-flagged when several riders crashed in a matter of seconds, due to a pool of water created by the rain at the braking point of turn seven.

After several delays due to the track’s safety conditions, QP1 took place on a wet surface; unfortunately, Dani Pedrosa failed to improve enough to qualify for QP2 and will start the race from the sixth row of the grid.

QP2 was also delayed before finally taking place on a partially wet track. With the fifth-fastest time, Marc Marquez secured a second-row start for tomorrow’s British GP, which has had its start time moved forward to 11:30 a.m. due to the risk of heavy rain in the afternoon.

Marc Marquez 93

5TH 2'11.083

“I’m satisfied with the result because the conditions were very special today, in that it wasn’t as a ‘flag-to-flag’ situation, with the track passing from dry to wet or vice-versa. Here, we had one part of the track completely wet and the other part completely dry. I struggled a bit, maybe because my riding style is somewhat aggressive, or maybe I wasn’t able to find the right balance. Anyway, we saved the day and we’re on the second row, just a few metres from the front, which is positive. It looks like tomorrow could be another tricky day, possibly with heavy rain, so it will be important to analyse the track conditions and try to stay up there. We also must consider that if the conditions are like what we had at the end of FP4, we cannot race. The aquaplaning was very dangerous; I nearly crashed, and many other riders fell almost one after the other. Depending on the situation, Race Direction needs to evaluate what to do, but they have a lot of experience and I’m sure they’ll make the best decision.”

Dani Pedrosa 26

16TH 2'14.866

“I missed the passage to Q2, and it was my mistake; the team had done a great job. I was feeling good because when the track is half and half, the tyres warm up a lot in the dry sector and get into a good temperature by the time you hit the wet part. Actually, they even had too much temperature, and that’s why I slowed down before going for a final flying lap. Watching the big screen, I calculated that I could make it, but I missed it by just a fraction—my fault completely. Now we’ll see what happens tomorrow. Forecasts are for steady rain, and that can be a problem. I wasn’t on track at the end of FP4 when the aquaplaning problem arose, but I saw what happened and Marc said it was very dangerous out there. We must wait and see what conditions there are tomorrow.”

More, from a press release issued by Movistar Yamaha:


Movistar Yamaha MotoGP's Maverick Viñales and Valentino Rossi faced uncertain track conditions today in the GoPro British Grand Prix Q2 session. After various delays due to safety concerns, the riders completed their first wet laps during qualifying and ended the session in 11th and 12th place respectively.

Silverstone (UK), 25th August 2018

Movistar Yamaha MotoGP's Maverick Viñales had been in top form all weekend in the dry but couldn‘t reproduce the feeling during the wet Q2 session. He set the 11th fastest time. Teammate Valentino Rossi took a strategy gamble in the 15-minute shoot-out, making a late pit stop, but it didn‘t pay off. He will start the race tomorrow from 12th on the grid.

The wet FP4 came to a dramatic halt as various riders crashed due to aquaplaning. The safety conditions subsequently caused the qualifying session to be delayed, but once Q2 got underway Viñales and Rossi made sure they were ready.

Having seen how quick the weather conditions can change at the Silverstone Circuit, Viñales headed out of the box as quick as he could, eager to clock a time whilst it was dry. However, unable to get a good feeling on his soft rear tyre on the wet, he went straight for pit lane after his out lap.

With less than nine minutes remaining he returned to the track on two medium tyres. His fourth lap moved him up from 12th to 10th position, but he was pushed back as the pace picked up towards the end of the session. The Spaniard had three more goes at it, and his last try, a 2'12.514s, saw him finish in 11th place, 2.359s from first.

Rossi was quick to adapt to the wet track conditions and set an initial 2‘14.839s lap for fifth place. He improved his time, but not his position, on his second and third attempt. He held eighth place as he headed back into pit lane with three and a half minutes to go.

He came out of the garage again as fast as he could but wasn‘t able to finish his out lap before the chequered flag went out. His fastest lap, a 2'13.504s set on lap 4, put him in 12th position, 3.349s from the top.

Due to safety conditions, the British GP schedule has been amended for the Sunday. The MotoGP race will start at 11:30 local track time (GMT+1). The Warm Up is held from 09:00 - 09:20.



Safety conditions always come first, but the delays and constantly changing weather and track conditions made our qualifying day take a turn for the worse. It was unlucky, because Maverick and also Vale had a good pace in the dry, but during Q2 the track was mostly wet. As we had very limited wet track time before qualifying, it was a trial-and-error session, which didn‘t work out for us. Maverick didn‘t feel comfortable, whilst Vale was on a good strategy, but ran out of time. We hope for a wet morning practice session tomorrow, so we can work on the issues and have our wet set-up ready for the rescheduled race, that now starts at 11:30 local track time, due to safety concerns.


I focused a lot in FP4 and my point of reference was improving my feeling on the bike. We improved it quite a lot compared to yesterday, and I think we made a step forward in terms of rhythm. I'm actually happy, but it's true that on wet we still have to work a lot. The weather is the same for everyone, so we need to try to find a way to go fast. Luckily, we have some data and some things to work on.


It's a great shame and I'm very upset because we had a good strategy with the right tyres, but unfortunately we were a little bit tight with the time. We made a mistake in the box and lost too much time changing the tyre and I took the flag by two seconds, so I was also a little bit unlucky. It's a pity because I did a 2'10.7s on the last lap, so that would've been P5. It would have been good to start from the second row, that was my target, but unfortunately I took the flag and the lap was cancelled. I have to start from 12th and it will be more difficult. For me, the grip on the asphalt in the wet is not so bad, the problem is that the track doesn't drain enough, because it's very new. If there is a lot of water, it stays on the top and causes aquaplaning. When it's like that, it's very dangerous.

More, from a press release issued by Reale Avintia Racing:

Tito Rabat suffers a serious injury at Silverstone

MotoGP British Grand Prix – Silverstone

Reale Avintia Racing rider Tito Rabat suffered a serious injury in FP4 at Silverstone today. Heavy rain had started to fall and since the new tarmac didn’t drain the water away, large puddles formed at different points of the track. In turn 7, better known as Stowe, the accumulation of water was enormous and several riders, Tito Rabat being one of them, crashed. When Tito got up to reach the safety of the trackside barriers, he was hit by Franco Morbidelli’s bike with full force. The first medical assessment revealed that Rabat broke femur, tibia and fibula of his right leg. The Spanish rider was airlifted to the University Hospital of Coventry by helicopter and will undergo emergency surgery this afternoon.

We will keep informing with any updates.

Xavier Simeon didn’t have a good day either and finished qualifying in 24th position, with his only hope to find a solution in the Sunday morning warm-up session in order to be more competitive in the race.

Due to the forecast of more rain tomorrow and for safety reasons, warm-up will start at 9:00 h and the 20-lap MotoGP race will take place at 11.30 h.

Xavier Simeon | 2'16.451 | P22

“Honestly, it was a disaster since we started yesterday. We don’t know why, but I can’t even get close to the group of riders with which I fight normally. I am far behind, even in the wet and in mixed conditions, where I am normally quite fast. We just aren’t at the right level and we don’t find solutions. All this apart, my thoughts today are with Tito who suffered an injury without being at fault. It looks as if it is a serious injury which he deserves least of everyone, because he is a hard worker and lives his profession as a rider like nobody else. I really wish him a quick recovery. If it rains tomorrow, it will be impossible to race on this circuit because the water doesn’t drain away and we have already have seen what happened to Tito.”

More, from a press release issued by LCR Honda Castrol:


Intermittent heavy downpours disrupted Saturday’s usual proceedings at Silverstone with FP4 session red-flagged due to a pool of water on turn seven. After several delays due to the track’s safety conditions Q2 got underway on a partially wet track with LCR Honda CASTROL racer Cal Crutchlow posting the 4th fastest lap time. Tomorrow’s MotoGP Race will start at 11:30 local time due to heavy rain expected in the afternoon at Silverstone surface.

Cal Crutchlow – 4th

(2’10.615 – lap 7 of 7)

“I’m obviously disappointed, I wanted the front row or pole position. But I did the best I could with the package that we have and the bike we have. We need to concentrate on the race tomorrow and see what will happen but unfortunately it doesn’t look great with regards to the weather, that’s not great for us because I don’t think we can ride with the amount of rain that they say is going to come tomorrow. They decided to anticipate the race trying to avoid risks for the riders and I think this is the best decision. I hope it’s going to be a nice race most of all for my British fans”.

More, from a press release issued by LCR Honda Idemitsu:


LCR Honda IDEMITSU rider Takaaki Nakagami will start the British Grand Prix at Silverstone from the seventh row of the grid after a truly challenging qualifying practice at the legendary venue. The Japanese rookie was thrown a curveball by changeable conditions during qualifying at the British track, with intermittent showers leaving the track wet in certain sectors and dry in others. Due to the weather, the race time of the British GP has been moved to the earlier time of 11.30am local, with the aim of avoiding the forecasted heavier rain.

Takaaki Nakagami – 19th

(2’15.377 – lap 7 of 7)

“There were very difficult conditions today and it was so hard to understand the weather, not just for me but for the mechanics too. You didn’t know if it was wet or dry, or if you needed slick tyres or wets to get the best lap. There was a big delay after FP4 and the track conditions were completely mixed. Some sectors were dry, some were completely soaked. I think in the race, if it rains, I will definitely be better than today. I just don’t want mixed conditions. Safety is the most important thing, so we have to see how much rain falls”.

More, from a press release issued by Team Suzuki ECSTAR:


Andrea Iannone: 7th - 2:11.495 (+ 1.340)

Alex Rins: 10th - 2:12.504 (+ 2.349)

• Iannone places 3rd row for British GP.

•Rins excellent in Q1 following dramatic FP4.

•Rain and cold still dominate ahead of race day.

A very cold start to the day for FP3 was followed by a highly dramatic FP4 in which several riders, including Alex Rins, crashed in extremely wet conditions on turns 7, 8 and 9. Eventually the red flag was flown and the qualifying sessions were delayed.

The heavy rain made the already tricky track extremely tough to tackle but Alex Rins, not long after his FP4 crash, kept his focus to perform brilliantly in Q1 and improve his lap time to join his team-mate in Q2.

In Q2 both riders exited the pits will full wet tyres. Alex Rins lost a lap early in the session after a run off, but was still able to place himself in tenth place. Meanwhile, Andrea Iannone was keen to grab a good grid spot and managed 7th as the chequered flag flew on the session.

Davide Brivio - Team Manager

“Of course it was a tricky and difficult afternoon with the rain and the sessions delayed. In the end Andrea was able to qualify 7th and that’s OK, it’s a good position for the race. Alex recovered really well from a difficult situation and he improved a lot in the rain, he was able to move from Q1 to Q2 and managed to finish 10th. So we recovered very well from this morning. The start positions aren’t bad, especially if we’re able to find some good pace. And if it rains tomorrow it will be OK for us in terms of feeling comfortable in those conditions.”

Andrea Iannone

“The conditions were really difficult today during the last part of FP4 and throughout qualifying. I think tomorrow if it rains like that, it might not be possible to race. I hope that if it does rain tomorrow it will be more ‘standard’ conditions, but it seems that it doesn’t drain very quickly. It was difficult to control the situation because we all have aqua-planing on the braking points, and in QP almost 80% of the track was dry but some parts were very wet. But let’s see what happens tomorrow, we hope it will not be so bad.”

Alex Rins

“When I left the box, on the first out lap, I saw that the straight was covered in water but I thought it must be OK because Race Direction would have put the red flag out if it was very dangerous. But when I arrived at full gas the bike was aqua-planing and I saw the wall coming so I decided to jump off the bike, and then many other riders crashed there. We made some changes on the bike today, and we improved in some of the areas where we were losing out, so that was positive. Tomorrow we’ll start in the Top 10 so we hope to make a good race from there and stay with the front group.”

More, from a press release issued by Ducati:

Fantastic performance by Ducati Team riders Jorge Lorenzo and Andrea Dovizioso to take pole position and second place in British Grand Prix qualifying

The Ducati Team riders had a brilliant day in difficult conditions at Silverstone today, with Jorge Lorenzo setting pole position in Q2 ahead of team-mate Andrea Dovizioso in second place. With the track still wet in some sectors, Lorenzo powered to pole with a time of 2’10.155, just a fraction ahead of Dovizioso on 2’10.314. This means that the two factory Ducati men will start from the front row of the grid for tomorrow’s British GP, which has now been moved to a new time of 11.30 BST (12.30 CET) to avoid the risk of torrential rain expected in the early afternoon.

Jorge Lorenzo (Ducati Team #99) – 1st (2’10.155)

“I’m very happy with my second pole position of the season. The track conditions were really difficult and it was easy to make mistakes, but there was still enough water on the track to make us use rain tyres and my strategy worked well. I pushed hard right from the start to see where the limit was and then I warmed up the tyres bit by bit before attacking on the final lap. Despite making a couple of errors under braking, I did a very good final split and it was enough for the best time. In addition to the pole, Andrea is also in second place and I’m very pleased for the team because this is a fantastic result. As for the race itself, if it’s really wet tomorrow, I believe we will be competitive. I’m feeling pretty good on my bike, even though I’m worried about the track conditions at Turn 7 should it rain a lot. In any case we have to wait and prepare for a race that will surely be very tough.”

Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team #04) – 2nd (2’10.314)

“All things considered, today went very well because in these conditions it was easy to make errors: three-quarters of the track was completely dry and managing to do a good time with the rain tyres was really difficult, but we succeeded. It was vital to start from the front row because tomorrow it’ll probably rain; as we haven’t really lapped in the wet we don’t know what to expect and so starting from the front is for sure an advantage. We’ve been competitive and fast this weekend, and in the dry we are in good shape, then tomorrow if it rains we’ll find new conditions, but it’s the same for everyone and we’ll try and adapt to the situation in the best way.”

More, from a press release issued by Dorna:

Weather forces Sunday schedule change with Lorenzo set to start from pole

MotoGP™ race will begin at 11:30 (GMT +1), led away by the first Ducati 1-2 since 2006

It was a dramatic day at the GoPro British Grand Prix and after weather affected several sessions, the schedule for Sunday has been changed due to the forecast. The MotoGP™ race will begin at the earlier time of 11:30 (GMT +1), with Moto3™ now planned for 13:00 but Moto2™ remaining at 14:30.

On Saturday as the grid headed out for a delayed Q2, however, it was Jorge Lorenzo (Ducati Team) who secured a sensational second pole position of the season at Silverstone, with teammate Andrea Dovizioso earning his third consecutive front row start in second on a track split between wet patches and a dry line elsewhere. That makes it a first Ducati 1-2 since 2006, with the two Bologna bullets joined on the front row by Johann Zarco (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) as the Frenchman returned to his early season qualifying form to impress.

The start of the second qualifying session was delayed following an incident involving several riders in FP4, including Tito Rabat (Reale Avintia Racing), who was taken to hospital nearby and will take no further part in the weekend. Once the green flags flew once again, the stage was set for a very close showdown for pole.

After graduating from Q1, Bradley Smith (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) was the early pace-setter, before Jack Miller (Alma Pramac Racing) led Dovizioso and Pramac teammate Danilo Petrucci over the line to give the Desmosedicis a provisional front row lock out. But that was just the start of the constant chopping and changing for pole, with home hero Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda Castrol), Zarco and Dovizioso then setting the fastest times of the session in tandem.

Not long after it was a case of deja vu for Miller as the Australian took the gamble to head out on slicks, just like he did in Argentina when it paid off for pole. This time, however, the cards - or the clock - didn't deal him the same hand and at the front it remained a wet tyre dominated game as Lorenzo made his move to go provisional pole by 0.159, just pipping teammate Dovizioso. Ultimately that was all she wrote, and the two Ducatis stayed P1 and P2 as the chequered flag came out. There was a late change to who would join them on the front row though, with Zarco knocking Crutchlow out of third on his final lap - meaning the Brit starts P4 at his home GP.

For Championship leader Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team), meanwhile, it was a tricky session. Managing to salvage P5 on his final lap - 0.928 behind the Ducati duo - the reigning Champion and former winner at the venue will be gunning for a good start from Row 2. Petrucci eventually claimed sixth to join the Hondas of Crutchlow and Marquez on the second row.

Andrea Iannone (Team Suzuki Ecstar) spearheads the third row for Sunday’s showdown, ahead of a stunning showing from Red Bull KTM Factory Racing's Q1 graduate Smith. The Brit took the Austrian factory's best qualifying of the season in P8, just ahead of the gambling Miller. Smith's fellow Q1 graduate Alex Rins (Team Suzuki Ecstar) rounds out the top ten.

After such a strong start to the weekend, Q2 didn’t go the way Maverick Viñales (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) and teammate Valentino Rossi would have envisioned. The Spaniard will start P11, with Rossi just behind after missing out on a final flying lap by a fraction of a second. It's 12th for the ‘Doctor’, but he'll have memories of his Austrian ride through the field fresh in his mind as he aims for a repeat.

The shake-up on the grid sets us up for a classic on Sunday, with former winners at the venue scattered over the first few rows and everything to play for. What will the weather bring? Find out when the lights go out at 11:30 local time (GMT +1) for the GoPro British Grand Prix.

More, from a press release issued by Red Bull KTM:


QUALIFYING 11th Rd. MotoGP 2018 – Silverstone Circuit (GBR)

Bradley Smith enjoyed his most effective qualification session in Red Bull KTM colours and will sit in the middle of the third row of the grid for his home Grand Prix at Silverstone tomorrow while Loris Baz, a late replacement for the still injured Pol Espargaro, rode to 18th in his second day of action with the KTM RC16.


Round twelve of 2018 MotoGP landed into the historic and fast curves of Silverstone for the British Grand Prix and was greeted with a typically unstable climate over the weekend. Breezy conditions meant sunshine but also brief heavy showers and some very cool temperatures. There was more adversity with the new track surface proving to be bumpy and challenging through one of the longest and fastest laps on the Grand Prix calendar.

Bradley Smith, invigorated by the prospect of home turf and local support, pushed through the Free Practice sessions and reached 10th in FP3 this morning. He negotiated Q1 brilliantly, setting the fastest time at his first attempt and then again in his second run to head Alex Rins by 0.3 of a second and headed into Q2. Substantial delays due to Tito Rabat’s injury and persistent showers created mixed conditions and caused a tense time in pitlane. Smith eventually made his bid for Pole in the first throes of the 15 minute session. With a 2min 11.514 effort he stayed in the running for the front rows of the grid and notched his personal best classification with 8th; just 1.3 seconds away from the eventual Pole Position by Jorge Lorenzo.

Red Bull KTM were able to count on the talent, experience and enthusiasm of former MotoGP racer and current WorldSBK campaigner Loris Baz as a fill-in for Pol Espargaro, who is still recovering from his crash at Brno and a collarbone break. Despite the late call-up Baz relished his opportunity to put the factory KTM RC16 through its paces. The Frenchman was 5th fastest in Q1 on Saturday and will be 18th on the grid: the sixth row.

Smith: “No messing around today. In qualifying I just had a feeling. I was out on the mediums, I knew most of the track was dry and just had to check out the three corners at the back of the circuit, once I realised they had pretty good grip I decided to get on with it. I went to take the best out of the tyre but we got a second lap out of it, which was positive. The issue then was that I had to go into Q2 with no tyres left, just used ones, and had to let it cool down as much as I could. To only be 1.3 away then we’ll take that and it’s been a good day and certainly makes tomorrow a lot easier. The guys are looking at the data today to work out where we can make it work a little better if there is rain.”

Baz: “It was a good day and straightaway this morning I felt more comfortable with the bike. I improved the lap-time and FP4 was good because we had the harder tyre but unfortunately I had a small crash. I managed to come back, and the only thing I did wrong today was to choose the wrong front tyre for the qualifying: I wasn't sure how wet the track was. I went out and felt the front and it was too soft, so I came into change but it was too late. I did the whole out-lap on the water to try and cool the tyre and I was disappointed because with the right rubber Q2 could have been possible. I couldn't even have dreamt of that beforehand so I have to be happy. We improved and I was more consistent. I tried to give the team some good input and I saw them happy in the garage, so a good day.”

Sebastian Risse (Technical Director MotoGP): “This has not been such a technical weekend at the moment. It has been more about extreme conditions and Bradley took advantage of that with full commitment in terms of decisions about when to go out and with tyres and it really paid off. We are really happy for him and as a team, but we also have to say that we did not improve the bike; this (classification) was down to the rider. With Loris it is also a special situation and he still needs to get used to the bike and encountered the difficulty of jumping on it to qualify in the wet having never tried it before! He did great. He was initially following Bradley and I think this gave him some confidence to understand how the bike worked. He kept improving, also in the dry. We worked with both riders to get the best out of the conditions and tomorrow could be tough. Today was good preparation for that and now we are really looking forward to the race.”

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