LCR Honda MotoGP’s Stefan Bradl earned his first ever premier-class pole position at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, putting in a 1’21.176 on his penultimate rotation. Bradl edged out Repsol Honda’s Marc Marquez by 0.017 seconds. Rounding out the front row will be Go & Fun Honda Gresini’s Alvaro Bautista, who was third-fastest, just one-tenth off the lead pace set by the German rider.
The qualifying day started with Q1, which saw Marquez’s teammate, Dani Pedrosa, fighting for a bid to Q2. Pedrosa took to the track mid-session and quickly posted the top time. He was joined by Power Electronics Aspar’s Randy de Puniet, who placed second-fastest and also received a pass to the second qualifying session.
Marquez was the fastest rider on track entering the battle for pole position, and he was quick to assume the position during Q2 as well. Bradl, Yamaha Factory Racing’s Valentino Rossi and his teammate Jorge Lorenzo were all fast too, each getting into the top-three at times during the initial stages of the session. Marquez put in his best time of the day with nine minutes remaining, but was kept from a final attempt to improve on the lap time due to a crash during the final minutes when he lost grip and slid into the gravel, unharmed. Bradl and Bautista posted their fastest times after Marquez had returned to the pits for the day, making for an all Honda front row.
Rossi heads up the second row followed by Monster Yamaha Tech 3’s Cal Crutchlow in fifth and Lorenzo in sixth. Crutchlow lost nearly half the session due to an issue with the electronics on his bike, which kept him from posting a lap time until the final minutes of the session. He came out guns blazing though and quickly put himself in contention for the front row. Lorenzo, too, overcame the difficulty of riding with his injured shoulder to earn a competitive placement on the grid for Sunday’s race.
Pedrosa leads the third row, followed by Ducati’s Andrea Dovizioso in eighth and Crutchlow’s teammate, Bradley Smith, in ninth. Dovi’s teammate, Nicky Hayden, rounds out the top-10 followed by the fastest CRT rider, Aleix Espargaro of Power Electronics Aspar.
MotoGP Laguna Seca Qualifying Results 2013:
1. Stefan Bradl (Honda) 1’21.176
2. Marc Marquez (Honda) 1’21.193
3. Alvaro Bautista (Honda) 1’21.373
4. Valentino Rossi (Yamaha) 1’21.418
5. Cal Crutchlow (Yamaha) 1’21.420
6. Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha) 1’21.453
7. Dani Pedrosa (Honda) 1’21.728
8. Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati) 1’22.026
9. Bradley Smith (Yamaha) 1’22.075
10. Nicky Hayden (Ducati) 1’22.090
11. Aleix Espargaro (ART) 1’22.099
12. Randy de Puniet (ART) 1’22.694
13. Hector Barbera (FTR) 1’22.808
14. Alex de Angelis (Ducati) 1’23.253
15. Colin Edwards (FTR-Kawasaki) 1’23.272
16. Danilo Petrucci (Ioda-Suter) 1’23.323
17. Claudio Corti (FTR-Kawasaki) 1’23.616
18. Yonny Hernandez (ART) 1’23.875
19. Karel Abraham (ART) 1’23.919
20. Michael Laverty (PBM) 1’23.987
21. Hiroshi Aoyama (FTR) 1’24.235
22. Bryan Staring (FTR-Honda) 1’24.756
23. Lukas Pesek (Ioda-Suter) 1’24.809