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.
|Out of Q2|