MotoGP Round 15 qualifying: Rossi breaks even on pole positions.

Valentino Rossi (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) “pulled a rabbit from the hat” as he takes the 64th pole position of his career in a session that saw the top 3 setting a blistering pace.

An eventful Saturday started off when Free Practice 3 saw Jorge Lorenzo (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) become the third rider to be airborne this weekend, sustaining a Massive highside at turn 2. This saw the Reigning world champion being transferred from the gravel bed to the hospital bed for a precautionary scan. Lorenzo, in typical Lorenzo fashion bounced back with a P2 in free practice 4 and regaining confidence for the all-important Q2 session.

Aprilia almost does a double entry into Q2:

Qualifying 1 saw the two factory Aprilia’s of Alvaro Bautista and Stefan Bradl trade positions at the top of the timing sheets, beating riders to the likes of Eugene Laverty (Aspar Ducati) and Bradley Smith (Monster Yamaha Tech3). Aprilia almost sealed a 1-2 in Q1 until Stefan Bradl crashed out on his final flying lap at T11 (He was 4 tenths of a second faster when this happened), prompting Octo Pramac Yakhnich’s Scott Redding to snatch P2 from Bradl and get into Q2.

Qualifying 2: A train of three aiming the top 3:

Qualifying 2 began in typical Marquez style as he laid down a very fast benchmarker – a 1’44.617 on his very first flying lap before improving to a 1’44.134. This pace seemed impossible to beat at the halfway stage after Valentino Rossi, Jorge Lorenzo, Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati team) and Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda) ’s efforts ended up trailing the raging Spaniard by atleast a tenth of a second.

The second run saw Rossi trailing Suzuki’s Maverick Vinales, and Marc Marquez trailing Valentino Rossi in their out laps. Rossi and Marquez traded fastest sectors through Sector 2 and three before Marquez’s error at T11 cost him a shot at challenging Rossi’s 1’43.954, the fastest lap of the weekend.

Row 2 comprises of Andrea Dovizioso, Cal Crutchlow and Aleix Espargaro on the Factory Suzuki, the Aprilia bound man pipping his teammate for the first time this season. Andrea Iannone’s replacement Hector Barbers will start from P8 after an impressive performance aboard the Desmosedici GP16. Alvaro Bautista’s Q2 came to an abrupt end as he crashed his only Aprilia RS-GP on his out lap, sitting out of the session as his #1 machine was also damaged in a crash.


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