From 12:00 to 18:00, 113 guests hailing from Spain, Portugal, the UK, France and Germany were treated to a truly unforgettable day as they went backstage at MotoGP™. Many got autographs from their favourite riders and got to see their heroes up close and personal before the race weekend begins, as well as seeing how the paddock really works.
It’s not just the premier class category taking full advantage of the new surface though, with Moto2™ and Moto3™ riders all going under the previous best ever laps in their respective classes. In Moto2™, just like in MotoGP™, the top 16 riders in qualifying went under Lorenzo Baldassarri’s 2018 pole time. Plus, the middleweight poleman Jorge Navarro (HDR Heidrun Speed Up) is now in the history books as the fastest ever Moto2™ rider around the Circuito de Jerez – Angel Nieto, thanks to his Q2 lap.
The previous rule against participating in the Moto3™ World Championship until the age of 16 had been repealed for the winner of the then-national crown, so for 2015 – aged just 15 – Quartararo joined teammate Jorge Navarro in the Estrella Galicia 0,0 Honda team. Impressing from the start, Quartararo was on the podium in just his second race. He repeated that in
Objetivo cumplido, primera línea! P.3 ✊🏼
Goal achieved, first row! P.3
Source: Marc Márquez on Facebook
Row four is a real blockbuster line-up with three of the pre-season title favoruites holding tenth to twelfth places on the grid. Red Bull KTM Ajo’s Brad Binder took tenth after making it through from Q1, followed by Federal Oil Gresini Moto2’s Sam Lowes and fellow Q1 graduate, Xavi Vierge (EG 0,0 Marc VDS).
At this point, Marquez was gearing up for his third run. A tenth down in the first sector wasn’t what he was looking for and, in true 93 fashion, he was on ragged edge – but this proved costly. Out of shape at Pedrosa Corner and a huge front end slide at Turn 7 ended his pole position hopes, handing Quartararo his maiden MotoGP™ P1 grid slot start, four years on from his maiden Grand Prix pole at Jerez, as Petronas Yamaha SRT take a sensational Spanish GP qualifying 1-2. The last time that happened? Sete Gibernau and Marco Melandri at the 2005 Chinese GP.
Rossi’s factory Yamaha teammate Maverick Viñales finished Q1 quickest meaning he’ll join the rookie Italian in Q2. Rossi will have to start Sunday’s race from 13th on the grid, whilst COTA podium finisher Jack Miller (Pramac Racing) will join Rossi on row five after the Australian failed to qualify inside the top five for the first time this season, down in 15th on the grid following a crash late in the session.
After a crash in FP3 this morning, LCR Honda Castrol’s Cal Crutchlow bounced back to go third quickest and just over a tenth adrift of his fellow Honda rider. Petronas Yamaha SRT’s Fabio Quartararo continues to impress to end the session fourth overall, just over a quarter of a second away from top spot.
Cool conditions remained for Moto3™ qualifying and it was Suzuki and teammate Niccolo Antonelli who set the early pace in Q2, the latter sitting top of the tree by 0.164. After initially slotting himself into third, Vietti then stuck in another fast lap to go provisional pole by 0.037, with his teammate Dennis Foggia sticking it in third as the SKY Racing Team VR46 duo worked in tandem – Aron Canet (Sterilgarda Max Racing Team) stalked them to go from P10 to P6.
Source: Marc Márquez on Facebook