MUGELLO, Italy – official series release — Ducati photo —
It was a day of contrasts at the Italian Grand Prix as Ducati Team’s Andrea Iannone set the Italian fans at the Autodromo del Mugello ablaze with excitement — claiming his first career MotoGP pole position in near perfect conditions.
Countering that height of emotion was drama involving reigning MotoGP World Champion Marc Marquez, as he failed to make it through to Q2 for the first time in his career and will start Sunday’s race from the head of the fifth row in thirteenth.
Iannone, riding with a fractured humerus sustained during a testing crash at the Tuscany Circuit, took advantage of the softer option tire available to Ducati to set a track-record lap of 1:46.489, nearly seven-tenths quicker than Dani Pedrosa’s pole record from 2013.
“I am very pleased with how things went today,” Iannone said. “For sure in my condition this result was in no way expected, but in the end my team and I did a great job and we managed to improve. The only problem I have at the moment is my shoulder condition, because it needs more time to get back to 100 percent. Tomorrow will be a tough race but I will not give in.”
Marquez struggled throughout the day, getting caught out in FP3 and finishing down in eleventh on the combined timesheets. It was only the second time the Spaniard has failed to automatically qualify for Q2, the first being at Mugello in 2013.
A crash in FP4 only compounded matters and as Marquez attempted to make it through from Q1 he set a time good enough for second on the timesheets with 2 minutes to go in the session. Thinking that the job was done, it was then that disaster struck for him and his team. Yonny Hernandez, on the Octo Pramac Racing Ducati, displaced him in the final seconds, securing the Colombian’s advance to Q2 at Marquez’s expense.
The outcome means that Marquez will have to start Sunday’s race from the fifth row in 13th, his worst ever MotoGP qualifying performance.
“We can’t be happy about today, because this was the worst qualifying result that we have had in MotoGP,” Marquez said. “Starting in the morning, we didn’t use the new tire and that took us into Q1 – in which we had a problem that prevented us from progressing to Q2. Nevertheless, I think we have a good pace for tomorrow, although it is clear that starting from so far back we will suffer a lot.”
Movistar Yamaha’s Jorge Lorenzo was only 0.095 seconds behind Dovizioso in Q2 and will start from second on the grid, followed by Iannone’s Ducati teammate Andrea Dovizioso.
Ducati is searching for their first win since Casey Stoner’s victory in Australia in 2010.
CWM LCR Honda’s Cal Crutchlow won the battle of the satellite riders and will start fourth as the fastest Honda on the grid, with Team Suzuki Ecstar’s Aleix Espargaro rounding out the fast five.
Ducati test rider Michele Pirro, Repsol Honda’s Dani Pedrosa, nine-time world champion Valentino Rossi, Team Suzuki Ecstar’s Maverick Viñales and Monster Yamaha Tech 3’s Pol Espargaro rounded out the top ten.
CREDIT: MotoGP Championship