Second fastest was reigning world champ Jorge Lorenzo who also put in a flyer late in the session bumping Cal Crutchlow into fourth position by just one hundredth of a second.
“I am a little bit disappointed not to be on front row because I’ve been inside the top three for most of the weekend,” said the Monster Tech 3 rider who will be taking Nicky Hayden’s seat at Ducati next year. “The positive point though is I am much stronger than in the past here at Indianapolis and I am looking forward to the race.”
Sandwiched between the two is Dani Pedrosa who made his final hot lap as the time on the clock dwindled.
Some of the credit for the riders improved pace goes to the improved track surface and the revised compound formulas of the spec- Bridgestone Battlax racing slicks. While most riders made use of the extra grip Stefan Bradl struggled with a pair of crashes, one during final practice and one during qualifying. The German rider walked away from both crashes however he will have lots of ground to make up during tomorrow’s 28-lap race having to start from the third row.
Alvaro Bautista will line up on Row 2 next to Crutchlow and Nicky Hayden who out-qualified his teammate Andrea Dovizioso who starts Sunday’s race from the fourth row.
“All in all, I’m satisfied,” said Hayden, who will be parting ways with the Ducati Corse squad at the end of the season.” Sixth on the grid isn’t a bad result, and my fast lap was the best I’ve been able to do this weekend. We made some changes for FP4 but they didn’t work so well, so I wasn’t too calm between sessions, but as soon as I went out for Q2, I felt a lot better. We’ve got a couple ideas for tomorrow to smooth it out over the bumps and help it to change directions better.”
Nine-time MotoGP champ Valentino Rossi was off pace with a lap time of 1’39.356 slotting him into ninth position, just ahead of Dovizioso.
“I’m disappointed because in the practice we weren’t fantastic but better than we were this afternoon,” shared Rossi, who won the inaugural race here five years ago. “Unfortunately in the 15 minutes of the qualifying practice the other guys were able to improve more. Especially they are able to improve in braking and corner entry. Anyway, we have to look forward and try to improve tomorrow. My pace is nothing fantastic but it’s better than 9th position so I have to try to recover some positions and make a good race.”
Colin Edwards was the fastest CRT machine qualifying 12th at 1’40.372 with Aleix Espargaro unable to qualify due to a vicious crash in the final practice.
Ben Spies who returned to action this weekend after extensive shoulder rehabilitation also missed qualifying due to a high side crash during practice. Spies separated his shoulder in the accident and will be out for another few weeks.
MotoGP Saturday Qualifying Results:
1. Marc Marquez (Honda) 1’37.958
2. Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha) 1’38.471
3. Dani Pedrosa (Honda) 1’38.485
4. Cal Crutchlow (Yamaha) 1’38.502
5. Alvaro Bautista (Honda) 1’38.872
6. Nicky Hayden (Ducati) 1’39.142
7. Bradley Smith (Yamaha) 1’39.255
8. Stefan Bradl (Honda) 1’39.313
9. Valentino Rossi (Yamaha) 1’39.356
10. Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati) 1’39.556
11. Andrea Iannone (Ducati) 1’40.042
12. Colin Edwards (FTR – Kawasaki) 1’40.372