In conditions much improved over the previous day, Repsol Honda’s Marc Marquez scored his sixth consecutive pole position of the 2014 MotoGP season at Mugello. Joining the defending champion on the front row of the grid are Pramac Racing’s Andrea Iannone and Movistar Yamaha’s Jorge Lorenzo in second and third, respectively.
From his first flying lap on, Marquez commanded the top-spot on the timesheet. Late in the session his lap time approached the pole record set by teammate Dani Pedrosa during last year’s stop at the Italian circuit, but never bettered it. Pedrosa, on the other hand, struggled with suspension issues early in Q2 and was forced to make adjustments mid-session. After the fix he was able to push up to fourth on the grid.
Tech 3 Yamaha’s Pol Espargaro finished in fifth, a fortunate outcome for the Spaniard following a late session crash on an out lap that left him unable to push for a better result.
“I am pretty happy with P5 but at the same time I think we were a little lucky that nobody beat my lap time after I fell off,” explained Espargaro. “With regards to fall it was a rookie crash as I was too keen to get going and ride fast a bit too fast on the new tires which were cold. I pushed a little to warm them up but then fell at the fast corner.”
Ducati’s Cal Crutchlow rounds out the second row in sixth. Espargaro’s teammate, Bradley Smith, finished in seventh ahead of Crutchlow’s teammate, Andrea Dovizioso, in eighth. LCR Honda MotoGP’s Stefan Bradl took ninth-place followed by local hero Valentino Rossi of Movistar Yamaha in 10th. Rossi’s disappointing grid position comes as a result of a mid-session pit decision which cost him valuable time and negatively affected the feel of his machine.
“We made a big mistake in the qualifying, we decided to change the front tire at the same time as the second rear. It was the wrong decision, I felt really bad with the softer front and I was unable to improve my lap time. It's a great shame, because I had a good potential and could have started on the front, my pace is good and I feel good with the bike, but it’s like this.”
American rider Nicky Hayden of Drive M7 Aspar decided before the start of morning practice on Saturday to withdraw from the round due to wrist pain and swelling. Hayden is scheduled to undergo surgery two days after the Mugello Grand Prix.
“My wrist isn't getting any better so as hard a decision as it is to take the best thing for me is to listen to the doctors and skip this race,” said Hayden. “We need to stop thinking about riding and start thinking about a plan for the operation next week and my subsequent recovery. Mugello is a fast and physical circuit at the best of times but with the pain and loss of strength in my right hand it was getting really difficult to brake properly and it was risky to continue.”
MotoGP Mugello Qualifying Results 2014
1. Marc Marquez (Honda) 1’47.270
2. Andrea Iannone (Ducati) 1’47.450
3. Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha) 1’47.521
4. Dani Pedrosa (Honda) 1’47.584
5. Pol Espargaro (Yamaha) 1’47.612
6. Cal Crutchlow (Ducati) 1’47.659
7. Bradley Smith (Yamaha) 1’47.681
8. Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati) 1’47.754
9. Stefan Bradl (Honda) 1’47.765
10. Valentino Rossi (Yamaha) 1’47.791
11. Alvaro Bautista (Honda) 1’48.132
12. Aleix Espargaro (Forward-Yamaha) 1’48.218
13. Yonny Hernandez (Ducati) 1’48.722
14. Scott Redding (Honda) 1’48.754
15. Michele Pirro (Ducati) 1’48.794
16. Karel Abraham (Honda) 1’48.894
17. Hiroshi Aoyama (Honda) 1’49.505
18. Colin Edwards (Forward-Yamaha) 1’49.780
19. Hector Barbera (Avintia) 1’49.932
20. Michael Laverty (PBM) 1’50.505
21. Mike di Meglio (Avintia) 1’50.515
22. Broc Parkes (PBM) 1’50.875
23. Michel Fabrizio (ART) 1’53.116