2015 Barcelona MotoGP Qualifying Result: Facing Fresh Faces With Strategy

Results and summary of qualifying for the MotoGP class at Barcelona:

Aleix Espargaro has translated the pace he had in practice into a pole position at Barcelona, his second ever in MotoGP, and the first earned purely on merit. The Suzuki rider used the uprated GSX-RR and the soft tire to maximum effect, fending off a fast and smart challenge from Jorge Lorenzo to take top spot in qualifying.

Jorge Lorenzo had been saving tires during practice for a three-run strategy at Barcelona, knowing that he had to try to face down a lot of riders with soft tires. He went out early, came in after a single lap, swapped bikes, went out again, and repeated the entire process a second time after that. The strategy nearly paid off, but not quite: Lorenzo found himself a tenth short of pole position, despite lapping under the pole record. Lorenzo finds himself with two Suzukis ahead of him, Maverick Viñales posting an impressive last lap to grab second on the grid, and putting the two Suzukis in the top two slots.

Marc Marquez will head up the second row of the grid. The Repsol Honda rider was the first man to break the old pole record, but was unable to hold off the Suzuki onslaught. Andrea Dovizioso also tried and came up short, ending qualifying in 5th, ahead of Dani Pedrosa. Pedrosa looked capable of improving, but on his second run he ran into Yonny Hernandez, and had to pull up short.

Valentino Rossi will once again be forced to start from the third row, the Movistar Yamaha rider qualifying in 7th, ahead of the Tech 3 bike of Bradley Smith. Cal Crutchlow sits in 9th on the LCR Honda, the Englishman coming close to a front row start, but crashing in Turn 10 when he was on his last very fast lap, just a few hundredths off the time of Espargaro.

Results:

Pos No. Rider Bike Time Diff Diff Previous
1 41 Aleix Espargaro Suzuki 1'40.546    
2 25 Maverick Viñales Suzuki 1'40.629 0.083 0.083
3 99 Jorge Lorenzo Yamaha 1'40.646 0.100 0.017
4 93 Marc Marquez Honda 1'40.754 0.208 0.108
5 4 Andrea Dovizioso Ducati 1'40.907 0.361 0.153
6 26 Dani Pedrosa Honda 1'40.928 0.382 0.021
7 46 Valentino Rossi Yamaha 1'41.058 0.512 0.130
8 38 Bradley Smith Yamaha 1'41.068 0.522 0.010
9 35 Cal Crutchlow Honda 1'41.195 0.649 0.127
10 68 Yonny Hernandez Ducati 1'41.333 0.787 0.138
11 44 Pol Espargaro Yamaha 1'41.385 0.839 0.052
12 29 Andrea Iannone Ducati 1'41.524 0.978 0.139
Through to Q2  
  26 Dani Pedrosa Honda 1'41.188    
  29 Andrea Iannone Ducati 1'41.688 0.500 0.500
13 8 Hector Barbera Ducati 1'42.003 0.815 0.315
14 45 Scott Redding Honda 1'42.029 0.841 0.026
15 6 Stefan Bradl Yamaha Forward 1'42.053 0.865 0.024
16 9 Danilo Petrucci Ducati 1'42.155 0.967 0.102
17 63 Mike Di Meglio Ducati 1'42.273 1.085 0.118
18 69 Nicky Hayden Honda 1'42.485 1.297 0.212
19 76 Loris Baz Yamaha Forward 1'42.592 1.404 0.107
20 19 Alvaro Bautista Aprilia 1'42.600 1.412 0.008
21 43 Jack Miller Honda 1'42.928 1.740 0.328
22 50 Eugene Laverty Honda 1'42.971 1.783 0.043
23 15 Alex De Angelis ART 1'43.601 2.413 0.630
24 33 Marco Melandri Aprilia 1'44.345 3.157 0.744
  17 Karel Abraham Honda      

 

Round Number: 
7
2015
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Comments

An amazing result from Suzuki. I'm an unabashed fan of both the management and the riders. If anybody had told me they would capture the top 2 spots on the grid, barely a third of the way through the season, an eye roll would have been my only response.

"...but was unable to hold off the Suzuki onslaught" were not words I expected to read this season. Bravo, Aleix and Maverick!

I recall thinking during last years silly season, is that really a good thing being signed by Suzuki? Sounded like being sentenced to ride a Ducati GP 11, 12, 13, .... Look at them now. Hats off! Woohoo!!!

Never been a fan of Suzuki but was I clapping and yelling at the TV when they brought it home in the top 2 spots. Super excited to see Yamaha and Honda are not the only boys in town anymore. Can't wait for Aprilia to join the mix. MV Agusta........calling your name

If Lorenzo can pull off one of his hero starts and get in front of those Suzukis, it's game over at the first corner.

Actually Márquez, 4th, has a better grid slot than Lorenzo. If he gets into turn one just outside Lorenzo (assuming the two Suzis are out gunned as I believe they should be on the long run down to #1), he will be sitting pretty for turn two. As far as face goes, Jorge has been faster and faster longer, but Marquez will want to get Jorge into a battle for obvious reasons. If Marquez gets the lead early it will be interesting to see if Jorge decided to shadow him and wait to see if he slows at half distance. If Jorge gets the early lead, he´ll try his usual disappearing act.

We studied the starts in Tele5 today and of the four starts Jorge made, 2 were bad. Marc had one wild one with the front pawing the are and the bike wandering from side to side. Rossi´s starts were good…he´s been starting well, but it hash´t shown up much because he´s usually on the third row.

Watch Marc tomorrow on the start. Will he split the Suzukis, run to in inside of Maverick or have one of his bad starts and dig himself a hole?

Dennis how many bikes can you see converging at T1? All the way back to row 3 is smoking fast, and I am waiting for Pedrosa to find his starts again.

2015 is a GEM of a season. 4 manufacturers on closer pace, tire compounds within a tighter range, strategies appearing, Yamahas carving a race line, several alternate lines being used, and Marquez making new ones. Every lap.

Hoping we see anyone but 99 leading into T2. And fairings with foreign paint on them. And leathers with neighboring rubber upon them. And everyone arriving at the last sector upright. And my Guiness still in my glass unlike that one T1 beer-splosion race a few seasons ago. The bumps at Catalunya can make for surprises.

Suzuki!
Not just A.Espargaro but Maverick too. We are witness to greatness arising. That kid is RIGHT NOW becoming what isn't ordinarily possible. And so is the Suzuki. The distance between a second off the pace and the front is monumental. Heroic. And seemingly impossible via conventional consciousness. Similar to the gap to traverse between knowing how to ride a motorcycle and able to race one. Or able to race one versus able to race at the International level. All of life compressed into the sliver of tire patch against the pliable envelope of the possible.

This bit won't earn stars, but perhaps the underlying current of the new Era of rules that Dorna has pulled off are inseparable from the wave A.Espargaro and Vinales are riding. And it is similarly amazing in a sense. It wasn't seemingly possible until someone gave it gas while out of shape with eyes through the apex to the drive out.

Concerns...Iannone? Is he feeling a bit out of sorts physically? Or did he just have a "normal human" Q while a surge of record breakers transcended that? Any ideas?

Crutchlow's ankle...his words at one point recently indicated serious injury. "All of the (tendons) were broken." Is that factual? If so how can the ankle be bearing race forces? He was on amazing pace when he went down. I did not see it, did he take a beating there or no?

I am in disbelief at having THIS sort of discussion now about the Suzuki. Which open team is going to become the Suzuki satellite team? And will it be 2016? If the price is right these 2015 bikes will look like a good option. All those customer Honda contracts are coming to an end at once. Aspar could aspire to a step up, could there be a financial interest in doing so? Avintia - there won't be GP15's available for them and they could get interested in Satellite status, but then again they are enjoying some good results with the aged Ducatis. But with Open configuration. How will they look as an option with the new rules relatively? And what of the other Open Honda customers? And Forward Racing could want a Satellite chance impossible with Tech 3 established. If you listen for it there is a "WHOOSH" sound to be heard by half the grid drawing them to cue up pen in hand for a Satellite team contract.

I lied. One more thought. The Michelins are coming. The "smash the front tire" Honda approach to the apex does not have a future. The developmental trajectory they took towards over riding the front is passing with the Bridgestones. Yamaha and Suzuki have Michelin bikes. The Aprilia, having developed from the Pirelli friendly chassis (also a "feel" and more even front-rear bias tire) may have an easier engineering task. The 2015 Honda and the Michelins are a match made in gravel traps.

You've just opened a can of worms with this one Motoshrink. I think the 2016 season could throw a spanner in the development work so far done by HRC. Is HRC time of dominance at the top ticking? I was not old enough to watch moto gp when all the factories were running their own tyres but from what I've read, Michelin was Ducati focused and had a really good rear tyre?

Also, registering on this site is the best decision i've ever made! I started reading Dave's article's last year and I like the honest and open approach he takes towards motogp and the 'lower' classes. Keep writing Dave! I really enjoy your articles. Sorry about my English as well, its not really my first language :)

Ducati only went with Michelin tires for their first two seasons (03,04), after that they went to Bridgestone.

Honda will engineer and spend their way throu the transistion. And will have 2-3 chassis arriving at each test.

Im not conviced that the Yamaha will adapt that quickly (well for Lorenzo anyway). Lorenzo style is based around the balanace of grip between the front and rear (keeping everything at an optimial amount), but that balance is going to shift with the Michelin so they will need to adjust the weight of the bike to componsate. In general thou, I suspect the more nuetral bikes and riders to have the early advantage (Suzuki, Rossi, Pedrosa, maybe Dovi).

Soft tire working better for Suzuki than for Ducati.....or did Ducati lose the soft tire already?

Anyway, I think everyone his happy for Brivio and A. Espargaro. Aleix is a try-er. He reminds me a lot of Hayden. 110% all the time. Consistency is never really there, but when it's on, people can appreciate his talent and motivation.

Unfortunately Polish TV has decided that we don't need to see qualifying or support classes and the motogp race can wait for later in the evening. I'm pissed off, you all make sure you enjoy the races for me.
Forza suzuki of course! I only wish Alex and Maverick play smart and don't throw it all down the drain for the sake of leading two corners.

No great fan of Suzuki and never have been, but this is great. Hearkening back to an earlier thread about HRC , Yamaha, Ducati and riders and their input propelling development and engineers and manager's not comitting and blah.
Did Suzuki listen to good old Randy de Puniet? Combination of the two or what.
This start is going to be a one to behold. I hope it does not end up in tears for a bunch of riders as it did back in 2006 into the first turn.

Thing is Marc has a pair of very powerfull bikes next to him. Dovi's Duck and Dani's famous starts of yore may well come to the fore on the other HRC bike even though he is on the inside. He has no title potential to lose right now. Suzuki to get swamped into turn 1 I guess.
Reaction to the lights is as ever crucial.
No broomsticks cleaning grid slots please!

Thing is Marc has a pair of very powerfull bikes next to him. Dovi's Duck and Dani's famous starts of yore may well come to the fore on the other HRC bike even though he is on the inside. He has no title potential to lose right now. Suzuki to get swamped into turn 1 I guess.
Reaction to the lights is as ever crucial.
No broomsticks cleaning grid slots please!

I have half an eye on the Le Mans 24 hour. Much more fascinating than another 4 wheel sport! Open engine options, mixed tire manufacturers, real open competition.
Prototype... Yeah!