2016 Le Mans MotoGP Qualifying Practice Result: Lap Records Fall Again

Jorge Lorenzo has made a clear statement of intent at Le Mans, smashing the existing lap record to take pole at the French track by over four tenths of a second. The Movistar Yamaha rider once again found a clever way of creating space ahead of him, waiting until everyone else had departed pit lane before heading out for his own first run. The Spaniard was quickest on his first run, opening a gap of a couple of tenths, then pushed on his second run with a new rear tire, and smashed the existing pole record, while becoming the first ever motorcycle to lap the Le Mans Bugatti circuit in under 1'32.

Marc Marquez will start from the second position, after a late charge salvaged his qualifying and moved him up from the third row. Marquez had a tough first run, running wide on his second lap, but rectified the situation on his second run. Andrea Iannone will start from last place on the front row, the factory Ducati rider looking like the only man capable of challenging Lorenzo. Iannone's first flying lap put him within a couple of hundredths of the Movistar Yamaha, but he crashed on the outlap of his second run, a technical issue causing water to pour onto his rear tire, an issue similar to one suffered during the race by Andrea Dovizioso. Though Iannone get back out, he could not improve his time.

Pol Espargaro's strong weekend continues, the Monster Tech 3 Yamaha rider heading up the second row of the grid. Espargaro looked capable of getting onto the front row, but he could not quite match the pace of Iannone.  Andrea Dovizioso put the second Factory Ducati into fifth, and the middle of the second row, while Bradley Smith had his best qualifying of 2016 and will start from sixth. Smith appears to have turned the corner after a terrible start to his 2016 season.

Valentino Rossi had a terrible qualifying, getting stuck behind Maverick Viñales on his second run but unable to pass him. That meant Rossi missed out on the second row by just nine thousandths of a second, leaving him stuck in seventh, a tough spot to start from on a track which is hard to pass at. Maverick Viñales ended up eighth, a tenth off the pace of Rossi, and just ahead of Cal Crutchlow on the LCR Honda.


Pos No. Rider Bike Time Diff Diff Previous
1 99 Jorge Lorenzo Yamaha 1'31.975    
2 93 Marc Marquez Honda 1'32.416 0.441 0.441
3 29 Andrea Iannone Ducati 1'32.469 0.494 0.053
4 44 Pol Espargaro Yamaha 1'32.502 0.527 0.033
5 4 Andrea Dovizioso Ducati 1'32.587 0.612 0.085
6 38 Bradley Smith Yamaha 1'32.820 0.845 0.233
7 46 Valentino Rossi Yamaha 1'32.829 0.854 0.009
8 25 Maverick Viñales Suzuki 1'32.933 0.958 0.104
9 35 Cal Crutchlow Honda 1'32.963 0.988 0.030
10 9 Danilo Petrucci Ducati 1'33.102 1.127 0.139
11 26 Dani Pedrosa Honda 1'33.109 1.134 0.007
12 41 Aleix Espargaro Suzuki 1'33.115 1.140 0.006
Out of Q2
Pos No. Rider Bike Time Diff Diff Previous
Q2 41 Aleix Espargaro Suzuki 1'33.139    
Q2 9 Danilo Petrucci Ducati 1'33.199 0.060 0.060
13 8 Hector Barbera Ducati 1'33.291 0.152 0.092
14 45 Scott Redding Ducati 1'33.310 0.171 0.019
15 68 Yonny Hernandez Ducati 1'33.360 0.221 0.050
16 50 Eugene Laverty Ducati 1'33.452 0.313 0.092
17 6 Stefan Bradl Aprilia 1'34.003 0.864 0.551
18 43 Jack Miller Honda 1'34.049 0.910 0.046
19 19 Alvaro Bautista Aprilia 1'34.333 1.194 0.284
20 53 Tito Rabat Honda 1'34.348 1.209 0.015
21 76 Loris Baz Ducati 1'34.455 1.316 0.107


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Let's wait for David's summary before passing judgement as it sounds like Rossie got messed up and he's looked reasonably strong throughout on race pace. Pedrosa back in 11th though looks worrying for Rossi's future teammate. I wonder how longingly he's looking at the Yamahas these days!?!?

... that I'm wrong about the repercussions of starting from 7th at Le Mans, but not as much as I hope Iannone gets a great start and slows up Jorge ;)

Let's wait for David's summary before passing judgement as it sounds like Rossie got messed up and he's looked reasonably strong throughout on race pace. Pedrosa back in 11th though looks worrying for Rossi's future teammate. I wonder how longingly he's looking at the Yamahas these days!?!?

Congrats Jorge and Michelin. New rear tire that takes a step back towards flex is working. For the Ducati too. Good fast response from Michelin.

With second and third Hondas so far back it sure displays how well Marquez is doing. And helps us have a very competitive season - I believe he is the best rider out there by quite a margin.

Iannone is back. With BIG wings eh? Hoping he is focused and motivated to keep his mind on what is happening on the track. Pol Espargaro looks such. Perhaps a bit like Toni Elias used to often be - contract time leads to great results. Not to take away from his accomplishment, but waiting to see if this is just a blip.

Not worried about Rossi who will make quick work of row 2 riders to join Marquez and Iannone. Le Mans has a layout that does not seem to favor any one bike. At first glance it looks point and shoot. At second look it is a 250 carving track. At closer look it forces aggressive clever fighting for position favoring the bold and no one manufacturer.

Bon apetite.

Petrucci 10th, ahead of Pedrosa. Forget the Andreas, what about Danilo on the GP17?

Why does Rossi insist on following Maverick in qualifying lately. Jerez was the exception and he put it on pole. I think he will be strong in the race but I wish he would start qualifying alone. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE get Pedrosa off that Honda. I really hope he's able to switch to Yamaha. 

I hope dat Viñales will make a decision quickly now that it seems certain that Pedrosa goes to Yamaha, because I think his concentration on the actual racing is affected right now. And it would be nice if he stays at Suzuki. That would be good for his reputation as well, I think. Showing some loyalty to a factory that gave you a chance in MotoGP (and that is on its way towards the front) will do your name no harm at all. And he can be the hero that brings Suzuki podium finishes or even wins; at Yamaha he would be almost obliged to do so.

Still, of course ultimately he wants to be world champion and therefore wants to be on the best bike he can get, but I'd say he has the time to give Suzuki at least one more year.

Is there any chatter about the MarcVDS seats? At the moment it seems like Tito is only learning very slowly, whilst Miller isn't improving. Do HRC have much more patience? Will HRC insist on different staff?

So far it looks like the only non-Repsol Honda likely to be in the top ten is Crutchlow. How times have changed!

I always secretly hoped they'd automatically have a place for him considering he stuck with them. 

That actually seems like forever ago now that it's hard to remember him on that bike. 

Elephant in the room or the factory Yamaha garage at least is the rather dramatic turnaround from Jerez thanks to a huge change in the tyres, not to mention the most vocal critic of the tyres in Jerez was a certain Factory Yamaha rider who is doing very well this week. And it was only on Friday that Rossi was asked if Michelin was supplying special tyres for him, I'd say on current evidence that question needs to be asked of his teamate :) 

My only hope is for a compromise and a settling of this issue very soon, I also believe that the main problems causing the forced changes due to safety were because of one manufacturer and on their old models being supplied to satelite teams-maybe a restriction in age of model needs to be looked at so we don't see two of three year old designs on track causing havoc for Michelin. 

I can't recall in the Bridgestone era if they had to deal with no less than three types of Ducati on track from three seperate seasons.

... was called Scott Redding. It was so bad, he had to be forced to talk to us by his team. Like everyone else on the grid, he had horrendous wheelspin, but it was much worse for him. He left the test early on Monday, because they could find no solution to the wheelspin. 

The new tires solve the vast majority of his problems. Not just his, but everyone's. Bradley Smith and Andrea Iannone both said they were a big step forward in terms of traction.

Yes, Jorge Lorenzo complained about the tires a lot at Jerez. But he still finished second. Scott Redding finished dead last, for the first time in his racing career. To say that Michelin made tires especially for Lorenzo is to miss the point by a couple of light years. As with all tire conspiracies since the introduction of the spec tire, the conspiracy tends to exist only in the jaundiced eye of the beholder.

I know almost everyone complained, some more than others, and some of the more vocal complaints came from riders like Lorenzo who had very little to be unhappy about compared to others after scoring second place. My dig was moreso at the needing to find an anomiliy to explain Rossi winning these days by many, instead of just the fact that he was the fastest on the day because he was the better rider not because of x, y and z.

If Lorenzo runs away with it today at Le mans, will questions arise that it was mainly due to the tires, and the changes made between rounds? Most likely-which is why I would like to see the supply more settled very soon, although it looks like rain so that will flip everything on its head! 

Seems we have some cross-posts better placed on an X-Files site...... :-)

There are no conspiracies here.

New supplier, evolving carcass and construction methods, and compounds to boot.  You can find plenty of permutations there, round by round, without looking for conspiracies  :-)

As for Jorge complaining the loudest.  No, just the most reported.  What, and how much gets printed, is largely out of his control.

Bring on today's race, for a further serve of random permutations, I suspect.

BTW, is it true Ducati are going to mount a NASCAR wing on the back of the Ducati for better traction in the sweepers???

Jeez, can we get rid of those wings!   Starting to look like those ugly cars going around in the German Touring car series.