MotoGP: More From Qualifying At Misano World Circuit

MotoGP: More From Qualifying At Misano World Circuit

© 2020, Roadracing World Publishing, Inc. From a press release issued By Dorna:

Viñales smashes Misano lap record for pole as Yamaha dominate qualifying

For the first time in the MotoGP™ era, it’s a full house for the Iwata marque as ‘Top Gun’ leads a top four lockout

 

Maverick Vinales. Photo courtesy Dorna.
Maverick Vinales (12). Photo courtesy Dorna.

 

Saturday, 12 September 2020

It was a truly spectacular second pole position of the season for Maverick Viñales (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) thanks to a new Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli lap record on Saturday, with the Spaniard’s 1:31.411 putting him ahead of second-placed Franco Morbidelli (Petronas Yamaha SRT) by 0.312. Third place went to World Championship leader Fabio Quartararo (Petronas Yamaha SRT)… and fourth place went the way of home hero Valentino Rossi (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) – making i the first time they’ve finished 1-2-3-4 in qualifying in the MotoGP™ era!

Viñales was the first rider to set a flying lap time in the second qualifying session, and a 1:32.130 was a solid opening time… but it was going to be beaten. Alex Rins (Team Suzuki Ecstar) was sat behind Viñales on the first lap but the Spaniard ran on at the end of the back straight, before Q1’s fastest rider Pol Espagraro (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) crashed at Turn 15. That brought out the yellow flags which saw Quartararo have to sit up and scrap the lap, but the Frenchman was getting the hammer down on his second time around…

Another rider to be getting the hammer down was Free Practice pacesetter Rossi. The Doctor was further down the road from Quartararo and sure enough, the nine-time World Champion went provisional P1 to send the 10,000 Misano fans wild. However, Quartararo would soon demote Rossi to second with a 1:31.791, with the riders then pitting to push some fresh tyres in.

By this time, Viñales had slipped to P5 and was out on his lonesome on his second run. A personal best saw him stay fifth, before a faster lap then came in for the number 12. It was provisional pole, but only just – with the gap a tiny 0.004 as he then pitted again in a two-stop strategy. With the other riders back out for their second runs, Quartararo couldn’t improve his lap time on his first attempt, 0.038 the Frenchman’s deficit, as second fastest in Q1 Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM Tech3) and Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team) quickly exchanging P6.

Rossi was then bang on the money but after losing two tenths in Sector 2, the Italian backed out of his lap. Compatriot Morbidelli and his teammate Quartararo were then lighting the timesheets up in the first and second sectors, as Jack Miller (Pramac Racing) slotted himself into P6. Coming round the final sector, Morbidelli placed himself onto a dream provisional home Grand Prix pole position, and Quartararo unable to improve on his last flying lap. Was that it? Not quite…

Viñales was two tenths under Morbidelli’s time as an absolute stunner started coming in from Top Gun. Nailing the final half of the lap to take the chequered flag with a new Misano lap record, and taking that accolade away from Yamaha test rider Jorge Lorenzo, Viñales’ time gave him plenty of clear air ahead of Morbidelli. The Italian is therefore forced to settle for a sterling second on home soil, but it’s his best qualifying result of the season.

Quartararo completes the front row, 0.380 adrift from Viñales. The 21-year-old didn’t sound too disheartened with P3 though, he’s looking strong to challenge for his third win of the season from the outside of the front row. Rossi spearheads Row 2 in P4, and that’s the number 46’s equal best Saturday afternoon result of 2020. Joining Rossi on the second row is Miller who improved on his last lap to get the better of injured teammate Francesco Bagnaia (Pramac Racing), but both Pramac riders had an upbeat qualifying in San Marino.

Rins is the leading Suzuki in P7, the Spaniard beating teammate Joan Mir by 0.012 in Q2 and the latter – like Miller – leaping up the leaderboard on his last lap. Dovizioso, the man second in the Championship, will have to start from P9 but race day is another day – as we’ve seen a good few times from the number 04. Johann Zarco (Esponsorama Racing) completed the top 10, while Pol Espargaro managed to get out on his second bike after his crash and finish less than a tenth ahead of Oliveira – the Q1 graduates ending Q2 in P11 and P12.

Yamaha are back! After two tougher rounds, no one could get within a tenth and a half of the YZR-M1s in qualifying, with polesitter Viñales really laying down the gauntlet ahead of Sunday’s crucial battle. Can anyone stop the Iwata onslaught in San Marino, and if not, who comes out on top in the Yamaha dogfight?!

You know what to do – tune in for the MotoGP™ race at 14:00 local time (GMT+2) to see what twists and turns lie ahead on race day… and in the title fight.

MotoGP™ front row

1 Maverick Viñales – Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP – Yamaha – 1:31.411

2 Franco Morbidelli* – Petronas Yamaha SRT – Yamaha – +0.312

3 Fabio Quartararo* – Petronas Yamaha SRT – Yamaha – +0.380

*Independent Team riders

Maverick Viñales: “I felt on the limit! We tried to take the maximum from the bike and for sure we made a good strategy, I saved a lot of tyres in the weekend to use in Q2, and it pays. I feel amazing, anyway I had some good weeks at home, we carry on the good mood and every lap I felt fantastic on the bike. I’m enjoying the weekend a lot and we’ll try to go to the maximum tomorrow too.”

 

Lowes takes Moto2 pole, Gardner lines up to start from the front on Sunday

The Brit takes pole position on Saturday – and in the record books – but he’ll start from pitlane as Gardner moves up

 

Alex Lowes (22). Photo courtesy Dorna.
Alex Lowes (22). Photo courtesy Dorna.

 

Sam Lowes (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) was the class of the field in Q2 at the Gran Premio Lenovo di San Marino e della Riviera di Rimini, taking pole position by over two and a half tenths and smashing the lap record in the process. However, the Brit will start from pitlane on Sunday due to a penalty, promoting second-placed Remy Gardner (ONEXOX TKKR SAG Team) to first on the grid. The third quickest man in Q2 was Championship leader Luca Marini (Sky Racing Team VR46), so he’ll start second.

Q1 at Misano saw one surprise as impressive 2020 rookie Aron Canet (Oceanica Aspar Team Moto2) struggled to move through, and he’ll be on the fight back on Sunday. Heading the session though was a turnaround of fortunes for last year’s near-winner Fabio Di Giannantonio (+Ego Speed Up), the Italian moving through to the fight for pole alongside Hector Garzo (Flexbox HP 40), Joe Roberts (Tennor American Racing Team) and teammate Marcos Ramirez.

The opening flying laps in Q2 saw former lap record holder Bezzecchi sit top of the pile, before Enea Bastianini (Italtrans Racing Team) took provisional pole. However, Lowes was flying and the British rider set a devilishly quick 1:36.666 to take charge, with Bezzecchi improving his time but slotting into second. Then, Lowes was going even faster – a lot faster at that. The number 22 came across the line to break the Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli lap record, and no one would threaten it.

Gardner was the man closest as he shot up from nowhere into second, set to start first, with Marini slotting into third on the timesheets and therefore the first of the top Championship challengers on the grid. Fourth in the session but joining the two on the front row will be Marco Bezzecchi (Sky Racing Team VR46), who went down at the final corner – thankfully unhurt – but lost his chance to improve…

Second in the Championship, Enea Bastianini (Italtrans Racing Team) will spearhead the second row, fresh from a Ducati MotoGP™ signature, and the Italian is set to take the battle to Marini and Bezzecchi as the Moto2™ title fight looks set to heat up in Misano. Xavi Vierge’s (Petronas Sprinta Racing) sixth place in qualifying will see him start from fifth, his best qualifying result of the season and his best since the 2019 Malaysian GP., with Marcel Schrötter (Liqui Moly Intact GP) just over half a second away from Lowes in P7. The German will join Bastianini and Vierge on the second row.

2019 winner Augusto Fernandez was forced to settle for eighth in Q2, six tenths shy of his teammate’s time, the Spaniard heading Tetsuta Nagashima (Red Bull KTM Ajo) and Q1 graduate Fabio Di Giannantonio, who took P9 and P10 respectively. They will therefore complete the third row.

A first pole in four years for Lowes unfortunately won’t see the number 22 line-up at the front of the grid, but the stage is set for a classic. Who will be leading the Championship come Sunday afternoon? Watch the Moto2™ race from San Marino at 12:20 local time (GMT+2).

Moto2™ front row

1 Sam Lowes – EG0,0 Marc VDS – Kalex – 1:36.170

2 Remy Gardner – ONEXOX TKKR SAG Team – Kalex +0.254

3 Luca Marini – Sky Racing Team VR46 – Kalex +0.332

Sam Lowes: “For me this year since, well after Qatar, I’ve been strong and felt quite good, even in Austria at a difficult track for me, I was still quick. But we have to start from pitlane tomorrow. This is racing, sometimes you have things like this but I’m happy to come here this weekend, get pole and have good pace. Hopefully we can still score some points in the race.”

 

Ogura takes maiden Moto3 pole with last minute Misano dash

The Japanese rider heads up a front row split by 0.031 – and his Championship rivals face a fight back

 

Ai Ogura (79). Photo courtesy Dorna.
Ai Ogura (79). Photo courtesy Dorna.

 

Ai Ogura (Honda Team Asia) took his maiden pole position on Saturday at the Gran Premio Lenovo di San Marino e della Riviera di Rimini, snatching the honour from Gabriel Rodrigo (Kömmerling Gresini Moto3) by just 0.016 in another tight qualifying session for Moto3™. 2019 winner Tatsuki Suzuki (SIC58 Squadra Corse) completes the front row by an even smaller margin – with the top three covered by just 0.031 at Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli.

The fight to move through and take part in the fight for pole set the tone, with Tony Arbolino (Rivacold Snipers Team) coming out on top by less than a tenth to move through alongside Sterilgarda Max Racing Team’s Romano Fenati and Alonso Lopez, with BOE Skull Rider Facile Energy’s Ricardo Rossi the last graduate in a last minute shuffle.

In Q2 itself, the last minute dash was again the name of the game. It looked set to be another pole for Rodrigo as the flag flew, and Ogura’s laptime hadn’t initially looked like it would put him in the mix to challenge… but then came the final sector. Putting it together perfectly, the Japanese rider shot over the line and just snatched his maiden pole position.

Rodrigo was then forced to settle for second but has a nice clear view to Turn 1 on Sunday, with last year’s winner Suzuki setting himself up well for race day too in third. Andrea Migno (Sky Racing Team VR46) heads up Row 2 just behind them in a solid qualifying session, but the Italian will rue the tiny margin that kept him off the front row: 0.011.

Fenati put in Husqvarna’s best qualifying result since their return to the class this season as he lines up fifth, with Raul Fernandez (Red Bull KTM Ajo) completing the third row. Row 3 is headed by Styria winner Celestino Vietti (Sky Racing Team VR46), with the Italian joined by Jeremy Alcoba (Kömmerling Gresini Moto3) and Tony Arbolino (Rivacold Snipers Team). Filip Salač (Rivacold Snipers Team) completes the top ten.

That leaves a couple of high profile names missing… Championship leader Albert Arenas (Pull&Bear Aspar Team) will start 13th as he attempts to stop Ogura gaining on him, and third overall John McPhee (Petronas Sprinta Racing) suffered a crash early in Q2 and then ended up P17. Can they move back through to take the fight to Ogura?

Find out on Sunday at 11:00 (GMT+2) as the lights go out for Moto3™ at the Gran Premio Lenovo di San Marino e della Riviera di Rimini.

Moto3™ front row

1 Ai Ogura – Honda Team Asia – Honda – 1:42.403

2 Gabriel Rodrigo – Kömmerling Gresini Moto3 – Honda +0.016

3 Tatsuki Suzuki – SIC58 Squadra Corse – Honda – +0.031

Ai Ogura: “I was quite surprised after the flag because I saw on the big screen I was top, and I never finished in the top six in all the practices, so I was surprised! I have a really good feeling on the bike and I’m not sure about the tyre but I think we are ready for tomorrow!”

 

 

 

More, from a press release issued by Red Bull KTM Tech3:

Oliveira and Lecuona to launch San Marino GP from row 4 and 6

Red Bull KTM Tech3’s Miguel Oliveira grit his teeth today at the newly surfaced Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli to secure a fourth row start for the Gran Premio di San Marino e della Riviera di Rimini. The recent race winner managed to lower his pace from FP1 to Q1 by 2.433 seconds. With a 1:32.212 he clinched second in Qualifying one, which made him pass through to Q2. Later on, he couldn’t improve on that and finished in P12.

On the other side of the Red Bull KTM Tech3 garage, Iker Lecuona, who started the weekend with the fifth fastest time on Friday, struggled to repeat his amazing lap time on Saturday. Yet, the Spanish MotoGP rookie had a decent pace on used tyres and feels prepared for the race tomorrow at 14:00 local time, although he needs to attack from the sixth row of the grid, after concluding Qualifying one in P8.

 

Miguel Oliveira (88). Photo courtesy KTM.
Miguel Oliveira (88). Photo courtesy KTM.

 

Miguel Oliveira
 

Position: 12th

Time: 1:32.323

Laps: 4

“It was a good day of work today. We didn’t manage to do a decent time attack in FP3, so we had to go through Q2. We got through, which was nice. Then in Qualifying 2, I had only one soft tyre, so I waited until the end to go out. I pushed, did my two good laps, which were close to my personal best, but not enough to be closer to the front, at least in the second or third row. The race is tomorrow, anyway, so hopefully, we can have a good start to fight for the top positions.”

 

Iker Lecuona (27). Photo courtesy KTM.
Iker Lecuona (27). Photo courtesy KTM.

 

Iker Lecuona
 

Position: 18th

Time: 1:32.838

Laps: 8

“Today has been a really difficult day for me. In FP3 I started with used tyres and did a long run to check the pace for the race. This pleased me a lot, because I managed to go fast with used tyres. Later when I wanted to push for a lap time in order to get that direct Q2 spot, I crashed and then I went out with the second bike and different tyres, but I couldn’t do anything to improve. In Qualifying, I felt good with the bike. I pushed a lot, therefore I don’t understand, why the lap time was just not coming. I need to check the data to understand this, as now I feel a bit lost. Finally, the important day is tomorrow. I have a good pace for the race, so I stay optimistic.”

 

 

 

More, from a press release issued by PETRONAS Yamaha SRT:

PETRONAS Yamaha SRT blast to front row in Misano

Franco Morbidelli and Fabio Quartararo qualify second and third and demonstrate strong race pace

An impressive performance from PETRONAS Yamaha Sepang Racing Team riders Franco Morbidelli and Fabio Quartararo secured them a front row start for tomorrow’s San Marino GP after qualifying second and third. The pair also helped to make it a front-four lockout for Yamaha at the Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli.

Morbidelli had a good Free Practice session and was at the sharp end for the majority of FP3. The Italian, who is sporting a new helmet design for his home race, also made it through to Q2, after finishing the session ninth with a fastest lap of 1min 32.281secs. Challenging for his first pole position, the Italian was unfortunate to miss out when fellow Yamaha YZR-M1 rider Maverick Viñales went 0.312 seconds faster on his final lap. Morbidelli will start tomorrow’s San Marino GP from second.

Team-mate Quartararo was immediately in top form at the beginning of FP3 and spent the majority of the 45 minutes as the quickest rider on track. The time attack runs started to come in during the closing stages of the session, where Fabio’s best lap of 1min 31.961secs placed him third and saw him straight through to Q2. Yellow flags compromised the Frenchman’s first qualifying lap, but he was quick to resume his place at the top of the time sheets. Fabio wasn’t able to improve on this lap, which ended up being just 0.068secs shy of Morbidelli, but it did secure him third place on the grid.

Tomorrow’s MotoGP Warm Up session will get underway at 9.20am local time (3.20pm MYT), with lights out on the 27-lap race due at 2pm local time (8pm MYT).

 

Franco Morbidelli (21). Photo courtesy PETRONAS Yamaha SRT.
Franco Morbidelli (21). Photo courtesy PETRONAS Yamaha SRT.

 

Franco Morbidelli

2nd (1’31.723)

I am very happy: I was trying to make a good qualifying lap and I achieved it! At the finish line I was looking at the big screen, saw myself in first and I was hoping it would be my first pole position, and at my home GP. But unfortunately Maverick [Viñales] was faster. Second position is still an important spot to start tomorrow’s race from in order to have a good race. I have the chance tomorrow of taking my first MotoGP win and I will be trying to stay in the mix and see what happens. I’m feeling strong, but all the Yamahas are strong here, so I think there is still a little bit I need to improve. I’m ready to fight though.

 

Fabio Quartararo (20). Photo courtesy PETRONAS Yamaha SRT.
Fabio Quartararo (20). Photo courtesy PETRONAS Yamaha SRT.

 

Fabio Quartararo

3rd (1’31.791)

It is good to be back on the front row, but today has been a bit strange. It’s like last year: we were super fast in FP3 but struggled with the front end in qualifying. I am pushing a lot and am on the limit but it wasn’t enough. The most important thing, of course, is the 27-lap race. I’m feeling positive because we have the pace for victory, so let’s see what happens. I’m really looking forward to it though, really confident, because we have the pace again. I think it could be a good fight tomorrow as all of us at the front have the same bike; it could make it very interesting. I’m hoping for a great battle.

 

 

 

More, from a press release issued by Repsol Honda:

Determined Bradl pushes until the end

A trying day in San Marino for the Repsol Honda Team as they hunt one-lap pace.

Conditions on the Italian coast remained almost identical to the day before, the heat and sun making the day even more physically demanding for riders up and down the grid. The bumps on the newly resurfaced circuit also proved to be a major challenge.

Stefan Bradl continued to improve with each session out on track, the German setting his best lap on his final run across the line Q1. Just behind Repsol Honda Team team-mate Alex Marquez on track, the HRC Test Rider dipped into the 1’32s for the first time. A 1’32.915 will see Bradl start the 27-lap race from the head of the seventh row.

One lap pace continued to be the biggest hurdle for Alex Marquez as Free Practice 4 saw the rookie set consistent times and gather important data for later. Unable to better his 1’33.251 from FP3 during Q1 on the bumpy Misano circuit, Alex Marquez is looking to get aggressive in the opening laps of Sunday’s race.

The Gran Premio di San Marino e della Riviera di Rimini starts at 14:00 Local Time on Sunday, September 13.

 

Stefan Bradl (6). Photo courtesy Repsol Honda.
Stefan Bradl (6). Photo courtesy Repsol Honda.

 

Stefan Bradl

19TH  1’32.915

“We tried a lot of different things today in order to improve our feeling and speed. There’s still something to find for the race and the bike is very physical here, especially with the bumps. Hopefully we can get some early overtakes in and then ride with the others to see where they are stronger and what advantage we can take.”

 

Alex Marquez (73). Photo courtesy Repsol Honda.
Alex Marquez (73). Photo courtesy Repsol Honda.

 

Alex Marquez

21ST  1’33.333

“It was not an easy qualifying for us, we knew coming into this weekend that it would be tough. We got some good information in FP4 and our overall pace is better than the position on the time sheet shows. In qualifying I wasn’t able to put together a good lap, my fastest lap did not have any of my best sector times. It’s quite difficult with the bumps. The good point is that tomorrow can only improve”

 

 

 

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

BATTLE WITHIN THOUSANDTHS OF A SECOND AT MISANO ADRIATICO

GOOD PACE FOR ALEIX WHO WILL START FROM THE FIFTH ROW

The qualifiers in Misano played out within the range of thousandths of a second for Aprilia. In fact, only 149 thousandths kept Aleix from pre-qualifying for Q2 in FP3, whereas in Q1, just 83 thousandths denied him the chance to battle for a spot on the first four rows. As the top excluded rider, the Spaniard will start from the fifth row tomorrow astride his RS-GP. That is where his hunt for a top-10 position will begin, supported by the good pace he demonstrated on used tyres.

Bradley Smith’s weekend took a complicated turn, crashing without consequences during the third free practice session and slightly less incisive compared to the good performance he demonstrated yesterday. Bradley will take advantage of the warmup session tomorrow morning to shave off a few precious tenths in preparation for the race.

 

Aleix Espargaro (41). Photo courtesy Aprilia.
Aleix Espargaro (41). Photo courtesy Aprilia.

 

ALEIX ESPARGARO’

“I am pleased, although the final position leaves somewhat of a bitter taste in my mouth. We improved a lot, but I missed the top 10 in FP3 by a hair and, despite a great time, I didn’t go through in Q1. I’m comforted by the fact that the truly important positions are only a couple of tenths away and that tells me that the RS-GP is a top-level project. Tomorrow will be a strange race. We’ll see all the different tyre options on the track, I think for the first time. I am happy with my pace. It seems like it is good for something more than the top 10, but we also need to consider the difficulty overtaking.”

 

Bradley Smith (38). Photo courtesy Aprilia.
Bradley Smith (38). Photo courtesy Aprilia.

 

BRADLEY SMITH

“If we look at yesterday’s performance, the situation is obviously frustrating. As is often the case, the reality is a compromise. We worked well on race pace and I’m rather pleased with that in terms of our expectations. I was lacking a few tenths on the flying lap to do better in qualifying. Thanks in part to the data we’ve collected, we have reached a good base, but then sorting the final details gets more complicated. We’ll try a couple of ideas tomorrow in warmup.”

 

 

 

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

SUZUKI RIDERS SECURE SEVENTH AND EIGHTH FOR SAN MARINO GP

Grid positions for San Marino GP:

Alex Rins 7th – 1’32.090 (+ 0.679)
Joan Mir: 8th – 1’32.102 (+ 0.691)

After spending much of the opening day at the Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli working on set-up, settings and tyre options, Team Suzuki Ecstar’s riders switched their attention to time attack on Saturday morning.

Alex Rins and Joan Mir knew it would be crucial to make it into Q2 and secure good grid positions for tomorrow’s Grand Prix, and they came into FP3 fighting. Rins took time to work on improving his feeling before putting in a flying lap to go fifth at the end of the session. Mir was the first rider in the field to make significant improvements to his lap time, and in his final run he was able bring himself as high as fourth before closing the session in sixth.

With both riders safely through to Q2, FP4 was the perfect opportunity to put in some longer runs and confirm settings before the race. Rins and Mir finished fifth and seventh respectively, around half a second from the top time.

In the final qualifying session the pair worked hard to carve their way up the grid, both bringing their lap times down progressively throughout Q2. Rins crossed the line with a 1’32.090 to go seventh, and Mir took eighth with a 1’32.102.

Davide Brivio – Team Manager:

“We made a big improvement with both riders compared to yesterday; the team worked well and we found some solutions. The riders did a good job to get into Q2, and they qualified seventh and eighth. We thought we had potential to have them both a bit higher but we’re keen to race and see what we’re capable of.”

 

Alex Rins (42). Photo courtesy Suzuki ECSTAR.
Alex Rins (42). Photo courtesy Suzuki ECSTAR.

 

Alex Rins:

“I had good feelings today, better than yesterday, and I’m happy to start on the third row. I did my best lap during qualifying and I improved quite a lot during today, also my race pace is pretty strong. I think the race will be quite complex and it will be important to gain a good position in the early laps in order to fight later in the race.”

 

Joan Mir (36). Photo courtesy Suzuki ECSTAR.
Joan Mir (36). Photo courtesy Suzuki ECSTAR.

 

Joan Mir:

“We already knew that our fast lap wasn’t quite as good as the other guys, but we worked really hard and made some improvements which have helped, and in the end the grid position is OK. Another positive thing is that my race pace in FP4 was good with used tyres, so that gives me confidence. Tomorrow morning I will work a little bit more on getting the bike stopped, and let’s see what I can do in the race, the Yamaha riders will be hard to beat but I feel I can be competitive.”

 

 

 

More, from a press release issued by Monster Energy Yamaha:

VIÑALES BANKS POLE IN YAMAHA TOP 4 ON SAN MARINO QUALIFYING DAY

Misano Adriatico (Italy), 12th September 2020

GRAND PRIX OF SAN MARINO E DELLA RIVIERA DI RIMINI

QUALIFYING

Yamaha enjoyed a very successful outing at the Gran Premio di San Marino e della Riviera di Rimini today. Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP‘s Maverick Viñales scored pole position, setting a new All Time Lap Record, and headed the first ever top-4 all-Yamaha lockout in a qualifying session, rounded out by Valentino Rossi.

The Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP Team showed their strong hand at the Gran Premio di San Marino e della Riviera di Rimini today. Maverick Viñales secured his 12th premier class pole position, breaking the previous All Time Lap Record by 0.218s. Valentino Rossi also put in a strong bid for the front row but came just short. He rounds out an all-Yamaha top-4 lockout, the Japanese manufacturer‘s first ever in a MotoGP qualifying session.

Viñales was the first rider to head out on track for the 15-minute shoot-out. His opening lap, a 1‘32.130s, immediately put him at the top of the standings, but the competition was fierce, and the times were dropping fast. However, the Spaniard had a strategy in place.

He rushed back to pit lane with the plan to swap bikes two times during Q2 in order to get in as many laps on fresh tyres as possible. Thanks to this, Top Gun was the only rider out on track already on his second run when the other riders were in pit lane for their stop. This gave him the clear space to set another provisional P1 lap, a 1‘31.787s, but there was still more to come.

The number-12 rider visited pit lane for the second time, with a little over three minutes remaining, to switch bikes again. He had time for just one more try and set an astonishing lap record of 1‘31.411s, earning himself pole position with a 0.312s advantage over second place.

Rossi had topped the FP3 session in the morning and was determined to put in a top result again in Q2. He briefly went pole with his second flying lap, clocking a 1‘31.877s, but was pushed back to second place by 0.086s shortly after, and he returned to the pits for a fresh rear tyre with seven and a half minutes left.

When he re-entered the track, he had time for three more hot laps but wasn‘t able to further improve. Yet the local hero‘s earlier fastest lap was quick enough for him to remain in fourth place, 0.466s from first. The result earned Yamaha its first ever top-4 lockout in a MotoGP qualifying session.

MASSIMO MEREGALLI

TEAM DIRECTOR

That pole lap by Maverick was unbelievable. He planned on doing three time attacks, swapping bikes twice, and I was a bit worried at first. Sometimes you need a little time getting used to a bike when you jump from one straight onto the other, but he did a great job – very impressive! Valentino has been strong all day too, and he is really in the mix at the front, as are all the Yamahas. We witnessed a bit of history being made today, because this is Yamaha’s first top-4 lockout in a MotoGP qualifying session. After two bad weekends in Austria, here the situation is completely different, and the contrast makes the excitement even bigger. We are looking forward to a good race tomorrow.

 

Maverick Vinales (12). Photo courtesy Monster Energy Yamaha.
Maverick Vinales (12). Photo courtesy Monster Energy Yamaha.

 

MAVERICK VIÑALES

I‘m really happy because that lap was amazing! Not just because it gave me pole position, but more so because of the time itself. When I saw 1‘31.4s I thought “This is a good lap time!”. We knew our potential and took everything we had, and we made a really good lap. Honestly, I‘m quite happy and impressed that at the end of the day we were so fast. Breaking the lap record was really hard for me. This morning we were still riding 1‘31.9s. We weren‘t completely sure what we would be able to do in the afternoon, but I felt so good, especially in FP4 on the hard tyre. For tomorrow, we don‘t know what will happen, but today and also on Friday we were strong, so tomorrow we are going to try to be strong again. I will push from the beginning. For sure, the race will be very long and tough, so we‘re going to try to be smart, and then we‘ll see what we can do.

 

Valentino Rossi (46). Photo courtesy Monster Energy Yamaha.
Valentino Rossi (46). Photo courtesy Monster Energy Yamaha.

 

VALENTINO ROSSI

My day was good. This morning was fantastic for me, because to finish FP3 in P1 is always a great feeling in Misano. Also, I had a good pace, and I felt good with the bike. Here at this track the Yamaha is very competitive, very strong. We need to come back at the top, to fight for top positions, because the two weekends in Austria were very difficult to manage. This afternoon we tried some different things. I was not fantastic, and everybody has big doubts about the tyres, both front and rear, because the choice is very open. So, we have to see, we have to fix some things. It‘s a shame about the front row, but starting from the fourth position is still good, and our pace is not so bad. It looks like the Yamahas have a very good pace. The battle will be hard as always, because especially Maverick, but also Quartararo and Franco, have been riding very well since Friday morning, so I think that we will have to start well, have to improve for tomorrow and try to fight for the podium.

 

 

 

More, from a press release issued by KTM Factory Racing:

FOURTH ROW FOR ESPARGARO & OLIVEIRA AFTER SAN MARINO MOTOGP™ QUALIFIER

MotoGP 2020 – Round 06, Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli (San Marino, Italy)

Pol Espargaro will set off from 11th position on the grid at the Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli and came through Q2 Qualification just ahead of fellow Red Bull KTM racer Miguel Oliveira in 12th for what will be the sixth round of 2020 MotoGP on Sunday.

 

Espargaro and Styrian GP winner Oliveira make the Q1 cut to Q2 but Espargaro crashes in fast lap attempt

Brad Binder and Iker Lecuona to occupy 16th and 18th grid positions respectively

Three KTM RC4s in the top seven of Moto3 with Andrea Migno in 4th

The first of nine MotoGP rounds in the next eleven weeks began with a sunny Qualification session at the Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli. The Gran Premio Lenovo di San Marino e della Riviera di Rimini represents the opening event of two back-to-back races at the resurfaced but bumpy eastern Italian venue.

After setting decent pace through Free Practice Espargaro made a mistake in FP3 that meant he had to head into Q1 early Saturday afternoon. The Spaniard emerged as the fastest rider with his KTM RC16 in the session but was then limited with tire choice for Q2. A fall at Turn 15 ended his push for the first two rows. Teammate Brad Binder enjoyed a much faster pace compared to his test appearance at Misano in June but the South African still needed to work on optimum race bike set-up and did not make the Q2 selection.

Red Bull KTM Tech3 duo Miguel Oliveira and Iker Lecuona both caught the eye during Friday and Saturday. The Portuguese slotted behind Espargaro in Q1 and also classified on his brandmates rear wheel at the second attempt in Q2. Lecuona reached as high as 4th fastest in FP2 on Friday but an error in FP3 proved costly and he couldn’t find the same speed through Q1.

The MotoGP race consists of 27 laps of the 4.2km layout at 14.00 CET on Sunday.

 

Pol Espargaro (44). Photo courtesy KTM.
Pol Espargaro (44). Photo courtesy KTM.

 

Pol Espargaro: “The same thing: when you know you have to go to Q1 then you don’t have any tyres for Q2. I was in Q2 with a used Front, with nine laps on it already, and a new rear. I was coming around for a similar fast lap-time for the second row but I lost the front. Our problem started in FP3 where I made a mistake. It’s been a little tougher than usual to focus this weekend so far and it cost me to go to the Q2. We would have been on the second row with our Q1 lap-time but it didn’t happen again. We’ll try again tomorrow.”

 

Brad Binder (33). Photo courtesy KTM.
Brad Binder (33). Photo courtesy KTM.

 

Brad Binder: “Difficult day today. We tried a lot with the set-up and found some things that improved the feeling but in some areas we did not quite get everything together as I would have like for qualifying. The good thing is that I have a very clear idea of what I want tomorrow. I think we can try it in Warm-up. It wasn’t a great qualifying but I know we can be better in the race for sure.”

Miguel Oliveira: “It was a good day of work today. We didn’t manage to do a decent time attack in FP3, so we had to go through Q1. We got through, which was nice. Then in Qualifying 2, I had only one soft tire, so I waited until the end to go out. I pushed, did my two good laps, which were close to my personal best, but not enough to be closer to the front, at least in the second or third row. The race is tomorrow, anyway, so hopefully we can have a good start to fight for the top positions.”

Iker Lecuona: “Today has been a really difficult day for me. In FP3 I started with used tires and did a long run to check the pace for the race. This pleased me a lot because I managed to go fast with used tires. Later when I wanted to push for a lap time in order to go direct to a Q2 spot, I crashed and then I went out with the second bike but I couldn’t do anything to improve. In Qualifying, I felt good with the bike. I pushed a lot, therefore I don’t understand, why the lap time was just not coming. I need to check the data to understand this. The important day is tomorrow. I have a good pace for the race, so I stay optimistic.”

 

 

 

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

TAKA ON THE FIFTH ROW AT MISANO
 

Takaaki Nakagami will start the San Marino Grand Prix from the fifth row of the grid as the MotoGP class prepare for the first race of a double-header at Misano. The LCR Honda IDEMITSU rider narrowly failed to come through a competitive Q1 session and had to settle for 14th position overall, leaving himself with work to do in Sunday’s main event.

Sitting in 12th place overnight, the Japanese star broke into the top 10 in FP3 but was edged out towards the end of the session as he finished in 14th. Having posted the 11th fastest time in FP4, Taka battled hard in Q1 and saved his best lap until last. But it was only good enough for fourth spot as the KTM duo of Pol Espargaro and Miguel Oliveira progressed to Q2.

 

Takaaki Nakagami (30). Photo courtesy LCR Honda.
Takaaki Nakagami (30). Photo courtesy LCR Honda.

 

Takaaki Nakagami – 14th

(1’32.382)

“We’re still not really competitive and the weekend has been a bit of a struggle so far. The lap times are so tight, I just missed the top 10 in FP3 this morning and we lost a lot of time yesterday on the set-up of the bike. But in FP3 today we definitely improved the bike, it was much more consistent. In Q1 I missed out by two tenths, but we did our best, of course. The lap times are so tight, so we’ll just forget today and will try to take another step tomorrow. It will be difficult in the race because we’re not in a good position on the starting grid, but 27 laps will be a long race and you never know about tyre life, so we have a chance. We’ll do our best and something around the top eight will be good.”

 

 

 

More, from a press release issued by Ducati:

Andrea Dovizioso will start from the third row of the grid in the Lenovo Grand Prix of San Marino and the Rimini Riviera scheduled for tomorrow in Misano Adriatico. Danilo Petrucci ends the day with the fifteenth time

The Ducati Team riders Andrea Dovizioso and Danilo Petrucci will start from the third and fifth rows of the grid respectively in the Lenovo Grand Prix of San Marino and the Rimini Riviera, that will be held tomorrow on a 27-lap distance at Misano World Circuit “Marco Simoncelli”.

After having gained direct access to Q2, finishing 10th in FP3 this morning, Andrea Dovizioso had to settle in ninth place (1:32.184) in the official qualifying. At the end of the day, however, the rider from Forlì has declared to be satisfied with the work done together with his team as he was finally able to find a good feeling with his Ducati Desmosedici GP20 bike.

Danilo Petrucci, who was 15th at the end of this morning’s third free practice session, had to take part, therefore, in Q1 where he wasn’t able to do a clean lap in the last minutes available, finishing fifth in 1:32.418. Tomorrow, Petrucci will start then from the fifth row of the grid, from the fifteenth position.

 

Andrea Dovizioso (04). Photo courtesy Ducati.
Andrea Dovizioso (04). Photo courtesy Ducati.

 

Andrea Dovizioso (#04 Ducati Team) – 1:32.184 (9th)

“I’m happy because we were finally able to improve my feeling with the bike and today we got closer to the front riders. Unfortunately, we couldn’t do better than the ninth place in qualifying; our goal today was to finish at least in the second row because here in Misano the start is short and quite narrow. Now we will try to take another step forward in tomorrow morning’s warm-up. The goal for the race tomorrow will be fighting in the top five positions.”

 

Danilo Petrucci (9). Photo courtesy Ducati.
Danilo Petrucci (9). Photo courtesy Ducati.

 

Danilo Petrucci (#9 Ducati Team) – 1:32.418 (15th)

“Definitely this was not the position I expected to get today in qualifying. The gaps are always very narrow, but unfortunately, I failed to set a good lap time. In the second lap available with the new tyre, I made several mistakes that didn’t allow me to improve. My pace for the race is more consistent, but it will be crucial to be able to start well to be able to stay hooked immediately to the front and have the chance to get a good result”.

Tomorrow at 9:20 AM, the Ducati Team riders will take to the track for the last twenty minutes of Warm Up before the race that will start at 2:00 PM local time.

 

 

 

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

THE ESPONSORAMA RACING COMPLETES A GOOD QUALIFYING IN MISANO

Espononsorama Racing completed the qualifying session for the San Marino Grand Prix at the Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli with Johann Zarco and Tito Rabat in 10th and 17th position respectively.

Thanks to good free practices, Johann Zarco has been able to directly access Q2. Despite a small crash during FP4, the team has done a great job in getting the bike ready for qualifying. The French rider scored a 1’32.218, a time that allowed him to finish in a worked TOP-10.

Tito Rabat despite taking a step forward in the qualifying has not managed to overcome the cut of Q1. In his last attempt, the Spanish rider made a mistake in the first corner after losing control of the rear of his Ducati and, as a result, was unable to improve his final time of 1’32.791.

Tomorrow at 14:00 the San Marino Grand Prix race will start, where Esponosorama Racing will fight from the first lap to keep scoring important points for the championship.

 

Johann Zarco (5). Photo courtesy Avintia Esponsorama Racing.
Johann Zarco (5). Photo courtesy Avintia Esponsorama Racing.

 

JOHANN ZARCO – P10 (1’32.218)

“I want to be on the top 6, because be on the two first rows are very important for the race, but I had a freaky afternoon. During the FP4, first I had a technic problem, and then I had a crash ant it was a problem because this was the bike with I had to do the qualifying. The team did an amazing job because they change a lot of things in a short time and the bike was ready to the qualifying. It was very import because a top10 is better than a last position. I think I could be fighting for the top8 with the group in tomorrow’s race”

TITO RABAT – P17 (1’32.791)

“It was a good day, in FP4 I really enjoyed myself, I understood things about the bike. In qualifying, in the second start, I was overconfident with the rear wheel. I think it’s not a problem with the tire, but if we find the solution it will help me to have feeling in the first laps of the race and to have a good race”.

 

 

 

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

INJURED CRUTCHLOW FORCED TO WITHDRAW IN MISANO

Cal Crutchlow will take no further part in this weekend’s San Marino Grand Prix after being declared unfit to race due to his arm injury. The LCR Honda CASTROL rider is suffering from secondary side effects, with his right forearm not having healed as hoped following further surgery after last month’s Styrian GP.

The Briton was able to compete on Friday and produced some positive moments, including finishing eighth in FP1. However, his arm was severely swollen after the free practice sessions with fluid once again building up in the affected area. Having consulted with doctors on Saturday morning, it was decided he would withdraw from both this and next weekend’s races in Misano, with the aim of returning in Barcelona in a fortnight.

 

Cal Crutchlow. Photo courtesy LCR Honda.
Cal Crutchlow. Photo courtesy LCR Honda.

 

Cal Crutchlow – DNS

“After yesterday I actually felt quite good riding the bike, I had no particular pain in my arm. But unfortunately the arm was swollen after riding and the fluid build-up was a lot after the session so the doctors reviewed it this morning and declared me unfit to ride, with the reason being the risk of infection with the hole being open in my arm. You can see the muscle and touch the muscle through it and the fluid build-up is not coming out, we don’t want to start draining the arm all the time because I’ll be draining it all day. So along with Alberto (Puig) and Lucio (Cecchinello) the decision was made and I think the correct decision to rest and try to see whether we can come back in Barcelona in two weeks’ time.”

Lucio Cecchinello

“Obviously, we’re sad Cal won’t be able to compete here at Misano this weekend and next. On the other hand, we fully understand the priority to preserve at the best our rider’s health therefore we agree with the decision of the MotoGP Medical Director, Doctor Angel Charte to let Cal’s arm rest properly for the next two weeks. We hope to be back on track with Cal in two weeks at the Catalunya Grand Prix.”

 

 

 

More, from a press release issued by Pramac Racing:

San Marino GP – Jack e Pecco tomorrow will start from the second row

 

Jack Miller (43). Photo courtesy Pramac Racing.
Jack Miller (43). Photo courtesy Pramac Racing.

 

Qualifying Day at the Grand Prix of San Marino. Pramac Racing’s riders Jack Miller and Pecco Bagnaia finished respectively in … and …. position. Jack Miller started the day in a positive way, he reached the fourth position in the FP3, which allowed him the direct access in Q2, unfortunately two minutes before the end a crash did not allow him to complete the last lap. The Australian rider’s feeling with his Ducati Desmosedici Gp is excellent and even in the Q2 Jack pushes with conviction by setting a time of 1:32.052 in the second run which allows him to start in P5. Pecco Bagnaia did a good start too, on the last lap of the FP3 he conquered an excellent P7 which gave him direct access in Q2. The Italian rider confirms himself in Q2 and after a good first run, he made his best time in the second time attack with the time of 1:32.054 that is worth the sixth position.

Pecco Bagnaia

I’m happy for today. My goal was the top10 and tomorrow I will start from the second row and this is an important step for us. Yesterday I didn’t push at my maximum to understand my feeling, instead today I just thought about riding and I focused on it, carefree about my leg I’m confident for tomorrow, the only question will be the 26 laps of the race, because these days I never did a long run, but I’m feel ready.

Jack Miller

Not a bad day, I was fast since this morning ,during the FP3 I had a small crashed but I’m ok. I did a decent lap on the qualifying and tomorrow I will start from the second row, so I’ m happy, I did my best and tried to be fast as possible. I’m confident for tomorrow and we will do our best like always

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