More, from a press release issued by Dorna:
Quartararo vs Viñales vs Marquez: the three-way fight for pole in Jerez
A tenth and a half separate the front row as qualifying sets us up for a stunner on Sunday
Saturday, 18 July 2020
Fabio Quartararo (Petronas Yamaha SRT) won a stunning three-way fight for supremacy in qualifying at the Gran Premio Red Bull de España, the Frenchman coming out on top to beat Maverick Viñales (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) and Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) to the first pole of the year. Quartararo left it late to depose Viñales, with Marquez then saying he played the risk vs reward game on his final lap… but did he?
Marquez was the first man to attack the 55-degree track temperature, but his opening lap was marred by running wide at the Dani Pedrosa corner. Francesco Bagnaia (Pramac Racing), though, made no mistake on his first flyer, the Italian going provisional P1 before Quartararo slammed in a 1:37.064. Spurred on by his opening lap mistake, the number 93 of Marquez wasn’t hanging about on his second lap and then snatched P1 from Quartararo with a 1:37.006. The Frenchman bit back immediately with the first sub 1:37 lap of Q2 though – a 1:36.993.
Jerez then fell silent as the MotoGP™ riders pitted for fresh tyres, tension and anticipation peaking ahead of the final five minutes of the first premier class qualifying session of 2020. We’ve missed the rumble of the MotoGP™ thoroughbred machines rolling out of pitlane, but we’ve missed the intense battle for pole position even more – and that’s exactly what we go at the Circuito de Jerez-Angel Nieto.
Out before his rivals on run number two, Marquez was on song and posted a 1:36.877 to depose Quartararo from P1 as the duo duelled for pole. Another Yamaha was looking deadly too – Viñales – and despite being nearly two tenths shy of Marquez’ time coming into the last split, the number 12 had a mega final sector and demoted Marquez to take over in provisional pole. There were two men left: Quartararo was setting red splits on his final run, and so was Bagnaia.
In the meantime, there was fast crashes for Jack Miller (Pramac Racing) and Alex Rins (Team Suzuki Ecstar) – the fastest man in Q1 – at Turn 11, with Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team) also going down at Turn 2 to add some more drama. Sadly, the crash resulted in injury for Rins and he’s now unfit for the weekend with a dislocated shoulder.
Back on track, Bagnaia took the chequered flag in P4 to improve his time but not position, nevertheless stunning on his run, before Quartararo showed he was the king of qualifying in Jerez for the second year in a row. ‘El Diablo’ was 0.194 under through the third split and pretty much held it to the line to lay down the gauntlet, taking the maiden MotoGP™ pole position of 2020. Viñales made it a Yamaha 1-2 – just as it was last year – ahead of Marquez.
Bagnaia continued his good weekend form into Saturday afternoon to earn his best-ever MotoGP™ qualifying result in P4, and the Italian will start one place ahead of teammate Miller after the Australians crashed on a provisional pole lap. Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda Castrol) starts P6.
After graduating from Q1, Pol Espargaro (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) takes P7 on the grid as the leading KTM rider – the Spaniard finishing 0.788 from pole – and Dovizioso had to settle for P8 after his lowside at Turn 2. Rins qualified ninth but will miss the race, with Franco Morbidelli (Petronas Yamaha SRT), Valentino Rossi (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) and Team Suzuki Ecstar’s Joan Mir therefore moving up a place.
What a battle in the opening MotoGP™ Q2 of the season. Quartararo vs Viñales vs Marc Marquez off the front row is going to be a fascinating start to the race on Sunday afternoon too, with the leading Ducatis of Bagnaia and Miller eyeing up the holeshot from 4th and 5th. It’s all set up to be a stunner, and you can watch it all unfold on Sunday at 14:00 local time (GMT+2)!
Fabio Quartararo: “It was just switching off your mind on the last lap! I didn’t feel that was the perfect lap, I made a mistake, someone crashed at 11 so I was more careful. When I saw 36.7 I knew it was a good lap, but here we don’t have screens on the track so I didn’t know if I was first or second, but when I saw the guys outside the garages I knew I was on pole. We’ve worked well in FP4, the pace is good. Marc has unbelievable pace and tomorrow morning we’ll try to make something more, but we’re ready to fight.”
Martin secures maiden Moto2™ pole
The Spaniard proves untouchable, ahead of Navarro and a return to the front row for Lowes
Jorge Martin (Red Bull KTM Ajo) stole the show in Moto2™ qualifying at the Gran Premio Red Bull de España, the Spaniard setting a 1:47.384 on his second flying lap to eventually beat Jorge Navarro (HDR Heidrun Speed Up) to pole position by 0.181 seconds. On his return from injury, Sam Lowes (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) claims P3 and a front row start in Jerez – a venue the Brit has ruled before.
Martin was straight out in Q2 to almost immediately got down to the low 1:41s, with that eventual pole position time coming on only his second flying lap. It wasn’t such a good start for Q1 graduate Fabio Di Giannantonio (HDR Heidrun Speed Up), however, as the Italian tucked the front at Turn 2, with his bike then catching fire in the gravel. Fellow Q1 graduates Xavi Vierge (Petronas Sprinta Racing), Hafizh Syahrin (Inde Aspar Team Moto2) and Joe Roberts (Tennor American Racing) soldiered on.
Meanwhile at the top, Martin stood firm, with Lowes able to slot into second but still a number of tenths in arrears. The Sky Racing Team VR46 bikes of Luca Marini and Marco Bezzecchi were working in tandem to try and reel in Martin’s advantage too, but despite the duo continually slamming in personal bests, that three-tenth gap couldn’t be eaten into. It looked like Martin’s time was safe with the temperatures rising all the time, but Navarro was then looking good on a personal best. The polesitter from 2019 couldn’t quite repeat his feat in 2020, but he did displace Lowes from P2 to go 0.181 off Martin and split the two men at the top.
Lowes improved his time although his position remained the same, and P3 for the number 22 is a great way to kick off his 2020 campaign after missing the Qatar GP. Can he challenge for the win on Sunday? And speaking of, the Sky VR46 duo have looked stellar all weekend. Friday pacesetter Marini will lead teammate Bezzecchi off the line in P4 and P5, with rookie Aron Canet (Inde Aspar Team Moto2) sitting just behind the two Italians on Row 2 after he moved up the timesheets on Saturday.
Jerez lap record holder Marcel Schrötter (Liqui Moly Intact GP) couldn’t repeat his form from FP3 and will launch from the front the third row, although the German rider was just 0.019 off the second. Championship leader Tetsuta Nagashima (Red Bull KTM Ajo), meanwhile, finished half a second off teammate Martin and will aim to keep his advantage in the overall standings from P8. Vierge came through Q1 to take ninth, just ahead of 2018 and 2019 Spanish GP race winner Lorenzo Baldassarri (FlexBox HP 40), who rounds out the top ten. Can the Italian repeat his feat from the previous two years?
Enea Bastianini (Italtrans Racing Team), Remy Gardner (ONEXOX TKKR SAG Team), Edgar Pons (Federal Oil Gresini Moto2), Hector Garzo (Flexbox HP 40) and Syahrin round out the top fifteen on the grid.
Martin was untouchable in qualifying, but the race is a different story and the grid behind him packed with challengers looking to strike back on Sunday. Who can handle the heat best at 12:20 local time (GMT+2)? Tune in to find out!
Jorge Martin: “This is another step in my career! I’ve been waiting for this moment for a year and a half. Today I didn’t think it was my day because in the warm temperatures yesterday it was difficult, but we did an incredible job and the team worked so well, with such a stable bike and lots of confidence in the front. I’m really happy and I think tomorrow in the cooler temperatures I will be faster and hopefully i I can battle for the race.”
Suzuki smashes lap record for second 2020 pole
Four months later, the Japanese rider once again gears up to begin the Moto3™ race from pole
SIC58 Squadra Corse’s Tatsuki Suzuki secured back-to-back pole positions in the Moto3™ class after obliterating the outright lap record at the Gran Premio Red Bull de España on Saturday. With a minute remaining and with clear track ahead, the Japanese star put his head down and grabbed his second pole of 2020, four months after his first at the Grand Prix of Qatar. Andrea Migno (Sky Racing Team VR46) put in a last minute dash to take second, with John McPhee (Petronas Sprinta Racing) taking third after he tagged on to Suzuki on the polesitter’s last lap. The Scot has had pace all weekend, however.
The scorching sun in Jerez didn’t deter the Moto3™ field from lighting up the timesheets, and in Q1 it was Romano Fenati (Sterilgarda Max Racing Team) heading the field for Husqvarna, the Italian moving through to Q2 alongside Niccolo Antonelli (SIC58 Squadra Corse), Tony Arbolino (Rivacold Snipers Team) and Ai Ogura (Honda Team Asia). Then it was time to reset again and get ready to fight it out for the first pole since March. Ultimately that would see Suzuki break the lap record, but the timesheets tight behind the Japanese rider – just as we like it.
Fronting Row 2 of the grid is Red Bull KTM Ajo’s Raul Fernandez who, despite seemingly complaining of front-end feel halfway through Q2, found some pace to go fourth and back up his impressive form in the weekend so far. He’ll be joined on the second row by Migno’s Sky Racing Team VR46 teammate Celestino Vietti and Kömmerling Gresini Moto3 rookie Jeremy Alcoba, who put in a sensational performance to turn the tables on experienced teammate Gabriel Rodrigo, who topped the timesheets on Friday.
Moto3™ World Championship leader Albert Arenas (Gaviota Aspar Team Moto3) will try to defend his five point lead from seventh on the grid, with veteran Romano Fenati making good on his Q1 promise and taking P8. Free Practice pacesetter Gabriel Rodrigo will start ninth but could be one to watch after his speed on Friday, with Tony Arbolino completing the top ten after an improved session for the Italian after he had been forced to head through Q1.
Jaume Masia (Leopard Racing) was P11 and ahead of 2019 winner Niccolo Antonelli (SIC58 Squadra Corse), with Kaito Toba (Red Bull KTM Ajo), Filip Salac (Rivacold Snipers Team) and Ai Ogura (Honda Team Asia) – Qatar podium finisher – rounding out the fastest fifteen.
Valencia 2019 winner Sergio Garcia (Estrella Galicia 0,0), meanwhile, could be one to watch. He starts last after a difficult session and having mis-timed his second run, and he’ll be trying to slice through the pack. No one has won from pole in Moto3™ at Jerez, but someone has won from the back as Brad Binder destroyed the field in 2016!
All that remains now is to race, with Moto3™ sure to put on an incredible show at the Circuito de Jerez-Angel Nieto. Tune in from 11:00 (GMT +2) for their return to competition.
Tatsuki Suzuki: “I was struggling a little bit from FP1 because after the crash in the test I lost a bit of confidence on my bike and I was struggling a bit with my riding. But after, I started to work hard with my team and this morning we made a small step on the bike and I got a good feeling. So in Q2, from the first lap I did a 45.7 and I was quite happy about that. But I wasn’t t sure if it was enough for pole. So I tried to improve more at the end, and I went three tenths faster so I was quite happy!”
More, from a press release issued by Red Bull KTM Tech3:
Red Bull KTM Tech3 duo launches off from row six and eight in Jerez
Following some decent work for the first race of the MotoGP World Championship 2020, Red Bull KTM Tech3’s Miguel Oliveira and Iker Lecuona faced a tough Qualifying session in the scorching heat of Andalusia this afternoon.
Although Oliveira managed to up his pace by more than half a second compared to Friday, he ended up seventh in Q1, which means he will start the Gran Premio Red Bull de España at 14:00 local time tomorrow from the sixth row of the grid. At the same time, MotoGP rookie Lecuona struggled to do a fast lap in the short hot Qualifying. The youngest rider of the field will have to start the opening GP of his first premier class year from row eight on the grid.
“This morning it was quite hard to find the pace for one fast lap. We struggled again to find grip. In FP4 this afternoon we finally managed to do a step forward and planned to make the best possible in Qualifying. I think I would need a bit more time with the configuration of this bike. But in the end, we made a step forward, so this is important. Our pace is quite strong. Tomorrow it’s going to be a long and hard race, so we keep our minds positive and hopefully on a good strategy for Sunday.”
“For sure it wasn’t an easy day for me. All throughout the day, I was struggling with the bike and couldn’t find my good feeling from yesterday. In the morning, I tried to improve my lap time, but it didn’t work out, so it wasn’t very positive. FP4 was not bad, I worked a little bit more for the race, changed something on the bike, although I’m not completely sure, if I like it or not. The first run of the Qualifying was a disaster, so I came back to the garage quite quickly, but still, I couldn’t find that great sensations I had on Friday. I’m obviously not happy, but we will see what we can change for tomorrow.”
More, from a press press release issued by Repsol Honda:
Marc Marquez conquers the Jerez heat for front row start
The first MotoGP Qualifying session of 2020 was characterised by blazing temperatures and scorching lap times, Marc Marquez earning a front row while Alex Marquez learned from his first MotoGP Qualifying session.
Action continued uninterrupted at the Gran Premio Red Bull de España on Saturday as the 2020 MotoGP World Championship grid faced an intense day of qualifying for the first time this season. Despite ever-rising track temperatures, the MotoGP field were pushing lap record times as they battled for the first pole of the season.
World Champion Marc Marquez had a productive morning aboard his Repsol Honda RC213V, improving his time from Friday by three tenths. A lap of 1’37.029 comfortably took the 2019 Spanish GP race winner through to Q2. After demonstrating supreme pace in Free Practice 4, Marc turned his attentions to the first push for pole of the year. Despite the hotter temperatures, lap records were smashed as Marc battled for pole. His best time of 1’36.862 was under the 2019 pole record and will see him line up on the outside of the front row as he aims to continue his uninterrupted run of 16 top-two finishes in the premier class.
Dropping half a second off his best time from Friday, Alex Marquez ended Free Practice 3 feeling positive. Finishing the session just 0.955s off first placed Quartararo yet showing down in 20th on the combined timesheets demonstrated how excruciating close the MotoGP field is at the Circuito de Jerez – Angel Nieto. A 1’38.256 in Qualifying, the hotter conditions costing him half a second, will see Alex line up as the second fastest rookie for his MotoGP debut.
The Repsol Honda Team will have 20 minutes of morning Warm Up ahead of Sunday’s 25-lap Gran Premio Red Bull de España. With the race commencing at 14:00 Local Time, conditions are set to be physically demanding for all competitors but both Repsol Honda Team riders are physically prepared after intense training during the break.
“It was tough! The lap time with this high temperature was very good. I knew even before we left the garage that my target was to try and be on the front row because for some reason Yamaha and Suzuki over one lap are very strong with the new tyre. But we have been working for race distance and in FP4 tyre life and our pace was very good. This is the main focus for tomorrow.”
“The strategy today was to improve, and we made steps in both the morning and in the afternoon. Unfortunately, I am struggling more in the hot conditions than I was expecting but in the morning we were fast. Everything is so close in MotoGP. Every day I am on the bike I want to improve and learn new things; tomorrow will be a good opportunity to do this. The goal is to finish the race but still to push as hard as possible. We saw many positives today but there’s still some room to push a little more.”
More, from a press release issued by Aprilia Gresini Racing:
FIFTH AND SIXTH ROW FOR THE APRILIAS IN THE JEREZ QUALIFIERS
ALEIX AND BRADLEY STRUGGLE ON THE FAST LAP BUT DEMONSTRATE GOOD PACE
Intense work continues in the garage for Aprilia, busy with a new bike that demonstrates extremely positive characteristics but requires some fine tuning, especially when it comes to adapting to the various conditions. For example, although performance on used tyres satisfies both Aleix and Bradley, exploiting the bike’s raw power for time attacks is proving to be a bit more complicated.
This is a characteristic that came out once again in today’s qualifiers, with both riders competing in Q1 with similar performance. Aleix stopped the clock at 1’37.940 and Bradley finished 26 thousandths behind him, also the victim of a harmless, yet spectacular crash on turn 2 toward the end of the session. Because of Rins’ injury which will cause him to miss the GP, Espargaró will start on the fifth row in a race that promises to be extremely heated, and not only because of the asphalt temperature. Sixth row for Smith.
“I must say that the weekend isn’t going too badly, but not as well as I expected after the tests on Wednesday. I wasn’t fast enough today in qualifying, although I still have a good pace over the long distance. I gave it my all on the flying lap, but with the new tyre I wasn’t able to achieve my goal of 37.5. The race tomorrow will be the most difficult session of the weekend from every point of view. We’ll see how the RS-GP reacts.”
“I’m rather pleased with the improvements today, despite the crash on turn 2 during qualifying. We have some work to do. The gap behind Q2 is still too wide. As I said yesterday, our pace is better than our position on the grid reflects, although tomorrow the conditions will be different. It seems like our tyre wear is a bit lower than average, so we will probably be able to maintain higher speeds in the second half of the race. In any case, it won’t be a simple Sunday.”
More, from a press release issued by Monster Energy Yamaha:
VIÑALES TAKES SECOND IN SEARING SPANISH GP QUALIFYING SESSION
Jerez de la Frontera (Spain), 18th July 2020
GRAND PRIX OF SPAIN
Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP‘s Maverick Viñales and Valentino Rossi both opted for the soft-soft tyre combination for the Q2 session at the Circuito de Jerez-Ángel Nieto (Spain). Viñales was very close to claiming the first MotoGP pole position of 2020, with a phenomenal last sector on his fastest lap, taking 2nd place in the end. Rossi made an improvement in the afternoon heat and ended the session in 11th place.
Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP‘s Maverick Viñales put in a strong bid for today‘s pole position in qualifying at the Circuito de Jerez-Ángel Nieto (Spain). He looked to have it in the bag, but ultimately he had to settle for 2nd place. Valentino Rossi improved his feeling in the sweltering Andalusian heat today, but during the Q2 session he was unable to put in the hot lap he had in mind. He will start the Gran Premio de España from 11th position on the grid.
Viñales waited for the majority of the riders to make their way out on track before he stepped aboard his YZR-M1. But when he did, he went straight down to business, setting a provisional second fastest time. Riding with the soft-soft option, tyre degradation prevented him from bettering this lap on his next try, and he headed straight back to the pits.
With four and a half minutes on the clock, Top Gun was back on his way. He was currently ranking fourth, just off the front row, which fueled the local hero‘s determination even more. Thanks to his strong desire to make his fans watching from their homes proud, he set two red sectors and a personal best in the tricky third sector. The Spaniard had to push 100% and clocked a strong 1‘36.844s for provisional pole, by 0.018s. It looked like it was all done and dusted, but after the chequered flag had already come out, the Factory Yamaha rider was pushed back to second. He missed out on pole by 0.139s.
Rossi was one of the first riders to storm out of the pit lane exit, ready for action on the baking hot Jerez track. His first attempt put him temporarily in sixth place. Unable to improve on his next try, he headed back to the box with more than seven minutes remaining.
One and a half minutes later the Doctor started his second run. He was holding tenth place but felt there was more in it for him today after the improvements he had made in this morning‘s FP3. He then clocked a 1‘37.741s for eighth place, but with the majority of the riders putting in their final hot laps, the Italian began to drop back down the order again. He kept pushing until the very end but wasn‘t able to make strides. He ended the session in eleventh place, 1.036s from pole.
It‘s been a mixed experience. Maverick seems incredibly comfortable, even in this exceptional heat. In the morning he couldn‘t use his preferred bike, but that didn‘t slow him down. He has been so fast all weekend, and his pace keeps getting stronger and stronger, so we are looking forward to seeing him fight in the race. Valentino made a step today. He improved in the morning and that helped him get into the top 10 in FP3. In FP4, when both riders worked on the tyre spec, Vale just needed a couple of tenths, so there is definite progress made in the hot afternoon conditions. But unfortunately, Q2 didn‘t go as he wanted. We need to keep working. There are areas where we know we can improve, and we will not rest until the start of tomorrow‘s race to make sure we‘re in the best shape we can possibly be.
I feel really good, honestly. I think we improved the bike quite a lot, especially in the hot conditions. We worked on it during Q1, so it seems that we found something there – that will be very important for tomorrow. But anyway, I‘m so happy and so excited to start the race, because in FP4 I felt incredibly good, and I felt I was hitting good lap times. I can‘t wait for tomorrow!
The Saturday made a big difference. Yesterday I didn‘t feel well with the balance of the bike, but today we improved. When you look at the data, Maverick and Fabio are strong everywhere. Usually Maverick is also very fast in braking. It looks like he is able to stop the bike a bit better than me, so this is the main issue at the moment. We improved a lot compared to yesterday, but we need more. We‘ll keep working to try to make another step, but now the top-3 guys are very strong and in Yamaha‘s case, Maverick and Fabio are riding very fast.
More, from a press release issued by Ducati:
Third-row start for Andrea Dovizioso, eighth in the Spanish Grand Prix qualifying in Jerez. Danilo Petrucci, fourteenth, will start from the fifth row
Andrea Dovizioso will start from the third row of the grid in the first Grand Prix of the 2020 MotoGP season, scheduled for tomorrow at 2:00 PM at the Andalusian circuit of Jerez de la Frontera. The Ducati Team rider, who had managed to enter Q2 directly, thanks to the tenth time obtained in the last minutes of FP3 in the morning, qualified eighth thanks to the fastest lap in 1:37.535.
It was a more difficult day for his teammate Danilo Petrucci, who is still suffering from neck pain after his crash on Wednesday in the pre-race test. The rider from Terni managed to find a good feeling with his Desmosedici GP today but, in FP3 this morning, he couldn’t go beyond the thirteenth position. Forced to take part in Q1 this afternoon, Danilo finished with the fourth time in 1:37.423, missing the chance to go through to Q2 and, therefore, he will start from the fifth row in tomorrow’s race.
Andrea Dovizioso (#04 Ducati Team) – 1:37.535 (8th)
“Today it has been difficult for me to stay in the top positions both in FP3 and the qualifying. It’s a pity because I hoped to start from the first or second row in the race; instead, we will start from the eighth position, from the third row. We have a good race pace, but at the moment I am still not fully satisfied with my feeling with the bike. We are working on it and hope to be able to improve it in time for tomorrow. It will be important to stay at the front immediately, and I am sure we have the potential to do a good race.”
Danilo Petrucci (#9 Ducati Team) – 1:37.423 (14th)
“It was a pretty difficult day. Unfortunately, I struggled a lot to sleep yesterday because of the neck pain, and the painkillers are debilitating me a lot. Despite this, I am glad to have been able to regain the feeling with the bike and that we have made progress compared to yesterday. My time in qualifying was good and, if I could get straight into Q2, with that time, I would have got the fifth place on the grid. Now we have to focus on tomorrow’s race. It won’t be easy for me, but I am sure we have the potential to do well. I hope that I will feel physically better tomorrow!”
The Ducati Team riders will be back out on track tomorrow, Sunday, 19th July, at 9:20 AM local time for twenty minutes of Warm Up ahead of the race that will start at 2:00 PM local time, on a 25-lap distance.
More, from a press release issued by LCR Castrol:
SECOND ROW FOR CRUTCHLOW AT SEASON-OPENER IN SPAIN
18 July 2020| Spanish GP Qualifying
Cal Crutchlow took an excellent second row start in the first qualifying session of the delayed and truncated 2020 MotoGP World Championship at the Jerez circuit in Spain. The LCR Honda Castrol man will start Sunday’s 25-lap race from sixth on the grid after a hard-fought lap in scorching conditions during qualifying.
The British rider has been on form all weekend, regularly finishing amongst the top positions on board his factory Honda RC213V, and will be hopeful of challenging for the podium in the gruelling race.
The event is set to be brutal affair with temperatures soaring in the Spanish summer sun, and the Sunday’s first of 13 provisional rounds starts at 2pm local time (GMT+2).
Cal Crutchlow – 6th
“Today was a positive enough day to finish in the top six and be on the second row for the first race of the season tomorrow in Jerez. I don’t feel particularly fantastic with the bike at the moment, however, and I need to improve for the race. In the hotter conditions the package isn’t quite working exactly how I would like, and I think we can make it a bit better on Sunday.
We worked hard and did a good job during qualifying. I made a couple of mistakes on my fast lap and think I could have gone a bit faster, but I don’t think I would have made the front row anyway. It’s a great job by the whole LCR Honda Castrol Team in difficult circumstances, and I look forward to finally getting in 25 laps of race action.”
More, from a press release issued by PETRONAS Yamaha SRT:
First 2020 MotoGP pole position for Fabio Quartararo
Fabio Quartararo gets his championship campaign started in perfect style with pole position for the first race of the year; Franco Morbidelli to start ninth
Fabio Quartararo has kicked off the Gran Premio de España in the best possible way after breaking the all time lap record on the way to claiming his seventh pole position, and his third pole in a row. Fellow PETRONAS Yamaha SRT rider Franco Morbidelli will start the first MotoGP race of the year from ninth.
Quartararo may have had a mixed Friday at Circuito de Jerez – Angel Nieto, but it’s been the perfect Saturday for the Frenchman. Fabio broke his own all-time lap record during FP3 and was one of only three riders to lap within the 1min 36secs. Qualifying saw him hold the top spot for the majority of the session, before he was knocked down to third in the closing stages. His final flying lap of 1min 36.705secs saw him regain pole and set a further all-time record, for the second time in one day.
Team-mate Morbidelli started the day well, finishing both of the MotoGP practice sessions within the top-seven and securing a direct pass to the second qualifying session. However, the changing track conditions gave the Italian rider some difficulties in the afternoon, as he worked to adapt to the rising temperatures. In the end, Franco’s fastest time aboard his Yamaha YZR-M1, 1min 37.674secs, was enough to place him tenth. However, he will start the race from ninth due to Alex Rins being declared unfit to race following a crash in qualifying.
Fabio and Franco’s Warm Up session will commence at 9.20am local time (3.20pm MYT), with the first MotoGP race of the 2020 season due to start at 2pm local time (8pm MYT).
Today was a really great day. Yesterday was the toughest FP1 of my career, then FP2 the feeling was better and then FP3 this morning was the first time attack lap since pre-season in Qatar. Of course it is a great feeling to be pole, especially after such a long time with no race, but this is only Saturday. We need to do the same on Sunday! We will obviously try our best, we have a good pace and we will try to get the best possible result tomorrow. We know we are strong and tyre life is good, but our rivals are also very strong. I’m focusing on the job that I need to do and hopefully we will be able to fight for the victory. I’m not obsessing over a first MotoGP win though, our goal tomorrow is to be on the podium. We have 13 races in a short space of time so we need consistent results.
I think we achieved the maximum we could today as I didn’t have the right feeling in qualifying. It was fine in the practice sessions this morning, but not qualifying. It happens from time to time with the changing track conditions, different tyres, things like this that the feeling changes between sessions. The important thing is that the pace is good for the race and we know what progress we need to make tomorrow. There were some front-end issues, which meant I couldn’t push in some areas of the track, but I think we will be fine tomorrow and I am happy with where we are.
More, from a press release issued by LCR Honda Idemitsu:
NAKAGAMI QUALIFIES ON FIFTH ROW FOR OPENING RACE OF 2020
18 July 2020| Spanish GP Qualifying
The first qualifying session of the delayed and truncated 2020 MotoGP World Championship saw LCR Honda Idemitsu’s Takaaki Nakagami qualify on the fifth row of the grid for Sunday’s 25-lap race. The Japanese rider pushed hard in the sweltering conditions to progress through to the qualifying final, but in the end missed out by less than two-tenths of a second.
Nakagami’s qualifying lap time in the Q1 session would actually have been good enough for a second row start in Q2, but with only two spots up for grabs in the preliminary qualifier, Taka had to settle for 15th. Hopes are still high, however, for some forward progress in the race, with Nakagami having shown decent pace on old tyres in free practice this weekend.
The race will be a brutal affair with temperatures soaring in the Spanish summer sunshine, and the first of 13 provisional rounds starts at 2pm local time (GMT+2).
Takaaki Nakagami – 15th
“It’s a case of mixed emotions because I’m obviously disappointed about our result today. P15 is not really our position, we should be a lot further forward, but this weekend the lap times are so tight between everyone in every session.
Our potential in FP4, which is race time, is not so bad with used tyres. This is really positive for tomorrow and the race. We have to improve our qualifying laps a little bit. Q1 was really tight but that lap time in Q2 would have been good enough for fifth or sixth position. That is positive for us.
MotoGP is so tight this year, if you lose one-tenth you drop three or four positions. You have to always be perfect. We remain positive about tomorrow, and look forward to starting the season.”
More, from a press release issued by Red Bull KTM:
ESPARGARO CHARGES TO 7TH THROUGH FIRST HOT JEREZ QUALIFIER
MotoGP 2020 – Round 01, Circuito de Jerez–Angel Nieto (ESP)
A Q2 appearance and a third row slot for the first round of 2020 MotoGP represented a bright start to the season for Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Pol Espargaro. The Circuito de Jerez-Angel Nieto fried in midsummer temperatures but the 29-year old was able to take his KTM RC16 to within 0.7 of a second of Pole Position for the Gran Premio Red Bull de España.
Jerez boiled in July sunshine and with track temperatures that reached the mid-50s for the first Qualification run of the delayed 2020 campaign. Espargaro missed the direct cut to the Q2 session by fractions of a second but edged his way through Q1 with a confident time attack with his KTM RC16. His last push of the day delivered the lap that would guarantee KTM’s slot at the peak of the third row. Espargaro was just four-hundredths of a second from 6th place.
Teammate Brad Binder made considerable improvements to his feeling in the braking zones around Jerez’s compact 4.4km layout. The South African rookie almost squeezed through Q1 but was content with 13th; and is elevated to 12th on the grid and the last slot of the fourth row due to Alex Rins’ non-participation on Sunday.
Red Bull KTM Tech3 duo Miguel Oliveira and Iker Lecuona ranked 17th and 22nd respectively as the first Saturday challenge of 2020 – and the first of two weekends back-to-back at Jerez – drew to a close. Both will also shuffle forwards one position for the opening race of the term.
Pol Espargaro: “It was better than what we expected We missed everything today by milliseconds, but I think we must be happy. We were a bit worried because these high temperatures are very tricky for us. I think the bike is turning a bit better and for whatever reason this tire is adapting a bit more to our bike. The race pace especially is quite consistent and doesn’t drop as much as last year with these hot temperatures. For tomorrow’s race let’s see with the asphalt after the Moto2 race and the temperatures together with the different rubber. I will need to risk a little in the beginning, but we are in a good position to be in the second group.”
Brad Binder: “To be completely honest it has been better than what I could have asked for. If I think where I started at the end of last year – or even the beginning of this one – then I think to be 12th in Jerez with the lap-time we did we have to be happy. We made a huge step in reducing mistakes. Also, with the bike’s performance in the braking zones, especially in the heat and with general comfort just by making the front a bit harder. I need to be realistic, for my first grand prix we are learning a lot and still have a hell of a lot to learn. I realize that every time I go out. I think there is margin there and opportunities for us to make good steps forward. Tomorrow will be part of that learning curve for sure.”
Miguel Oliveira: “This morning it was quite hard to find the pace for one fast lap. We struggled again to find grip. I think I would need a bit more time with the configuration of this bike. But in the end, we made a step forward, so this is important. Our pace is quite strong. Tomorrow it’s going to be a long and hard race, so we keep our minds positive.”
Iker Lecuona: “For sure it wasn’t an easy day for me. I was struggling with the bike and couldn’t find my good feeling from yesterday. FP4 was not bad, I worked a little bit more for the race. The first run of Qualifying was tricky, so I came back to the garage quite quickly, but still, I couldn’t find that great sensation I had on Friday. I’m obviously not happy but we will see what we can change for tomorrow.”
Moto2 & Moto3
Red Bull KTM Ajo’s Jorge Martin flew to his first ever Pole Position in the Moto2 category in what is just his second term in the class. The Spaniard is seven positions (and just half a second) ahead of teammate and Grand Prix of Qatar winner Tetsuta Nagashima.
In Moto3 SKY Racing Team VR46’s Andrea Migno maintained his decent pace from practice and captured 2nd position on the grid. The experienced Italian was the first of three KTM RC4 riders in the top five with Red Bull KTM Ajo’s Raul Fernandez in 4th spot and Celestino Vietti a tenth of a second behind.
Races: July 19th, 2020 – Moto3 11.00 | Moto2 12.20 | MotoGP 14.00 CET
More, from a press release issued by Pramac Racing:
Spanish GP – Pramac Racing Team: Top Five after a fantastic qualifying session. Pecco P4 and Jack P5
Pramac Racing Team conquers the top five after a fantastic qualifying session. The two Pramac Racing riders will start tomorrow from the second row. Pecco Bagnaia had an extraordinary qualifying session, his best time of 1’36.955 (+0.250 from the leader) on the seventh lap as let him to achieve the 4th position. A very positive day for the Italian rider. Jack Miller had a very incisive pace all day, starting from the FP3 this morning. During the Q2 on lap 3 he set his best time of 1’37.453 (+0.748 from the leader). Unfortunately, during the final time attack a crash without consequences didn’t allow him to finish the Q2 in the best way. The Australian rider will start tomorrow in 5th position.
This weekend we had a different strategy and it worked. I didn’t expect that we could go under the 1:37 with the heat. Tomorrow during the race it will be very important to make a good start and preserve a good race pace. I’m very happy, I can ride as I want, I feel good with my bike, my team and Ducati and I have to thanks them for the confidence and the great work that they made in these months.
I’m happy for today, second row is a good result. I’m disappointed for the crash, but I was trying my maximum to try to improve the position. The track is quite tricky, the temperature is probably the biggest problem and we have to pay attention in the race tomorrow because I think the pace will not be incredibly fast and we have to manage the tires.