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Qualifying Indianapolis Grand Prix, USA
Posted by: newsla on Aug 10, 2014 - 06:32 AM
Qualifying Indianapolis Grand Prix, USA

Weather: Dry
Temperature: Air 27 degrees C / Track 35 degrees C


Repsol Honda RC213V rider Marc Marquez put himself in pole position for the eighth time of the year at the iconic Indianapolis circuit today, making the perfect start to the second half of a season in which he has won all nine races so far.


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The 21-year-old Spanish star from Cervera, inland from Barcelona, is poised for the attempt at making it ten wins out of ten races tomorrow. The defending champion won the Indianapolis race last year, and also for the previous two years in Moto2.

This season, he has triumphed in a wide variety of conditions – not only wet and dry races, but also a bike-change race and at the last round with a start from pit lane.

Marquez has explained that the overall championship score is more important to him than winning every race of the season, but the target is within his reach at the revised IMS infield circuit. The former 125cc and Moto2 World Champion has already broken all the “youngest-ever” records when he won the premier class title at the first attempt last year.

Team-mate Dani Pedrosa, also a former Indianapolis pole starter and race winner, was out of luck in a final scramble with exceptionally close qualifying times – the top ten within the same second. The second Repsol Honda RC213V rider seemed set for the front row again, but was dropped to eighth by a matter of tenths in a frantic finish.

A third-row start means he will be relying more than usual on his famed fast-starting technique.

Pedrosa has twice given Honda a one-two finish this year, most recently at the last round in Germany; and last year also at Indianapolis. The 28-year-old Spaniard, from Sabadell on the outskirts of Barcelona, suffered arm-pump problems that required surgery at the start of the European season. But the former 125cc and double 250cc World Champion has come back strongly to reassert his position and regain second place overall in the championship standings.

German LCR Honda RC213V rider Stefan Bradl qualified tenth, at the head of the fourth row, after setting fastest time in combined free practice. Bradl is intent on bouncing back from a disappointing home GP, where a failed tyre gamble dropped him out of the points.

Briton Scott Redding (GO&FUN Gresini Honda RCV1000R) won through to the “senior” Q2 qualifying session for the first time, and secured a best-yet eleventh grid position, two tenths behind the satellite RC213V machine. The youngest-ever GP winner, in his first MotoGP season, rides one of four of the new production-racer RCV1000R Hondas, built for the “Open” class and using control electronic software supplied by the organisers. This is the best-yet qualifying position for the machine, a close replica of the factory RCV213V.

Redding’s senior GO&FUN Gresini Honda RCV213R team-mate, Spanish former 125cc champion Alvaro Bautista, qualified a courageous 14th, after suffering a bruising and spectacular high-side crash in free practice.

With 2006 World Champion Nicky Hayden out for at least two races following wrist surgery, British Superbike and former 125cc GP rider Leon Camier made an impressive debut in MotoGP, riding the American’s Drive M7 Aspar Honda RCV1000R. In his first time on the bike and at the circuit, Camier gained speed every session, to qualify a respectable 16th.

This put him two slots ahead of his erstwhile Drive M7 Aspar Honda team-mate Hiroshi Aoyama, with the former 250cc World Champion qualified 18th.

Czech rider Karel Abraham (AB Cardion Motoracing Honda RCV1000R) qualified 21st on the fourth of the new-this-year production-racers.

The middleweight Moto2 class is exclusively Honda powered, with the organisers providing all competitors with identical race-tuned Honda CBR600 engines fitted to individual prototype chassis to ensure evenly matched and reliable racing.

Title leader Tito Rabat (Marc VDS Racing Team Kalex), winner of four races so far, was a high-profile victim of conditions that saw a number of crashes in qualifying. He was unhurt, but unable to rejoin to try to improve on his second place overall. Rabat has been on pole for six of ten races so far this year, and on the front row for all but one of them.

His slip left Marc VDS Racing Team Kalex team-mate Mika Kallio impregnable for his second pole position of the season. The seasoned Finnish racer is Rabat’s closest rival for the championship, closing to within 19 points when he added another second place to his pair of race wins at the last round in Germany, where Rabat was fourth.

First-time race winner in Germany was Swiss rider Dominique Aegerter (Technomag carXpert Suter), whose run of improving form continued after the summer break, as he qualified third. This will be his third consecutive front-row start, including a maiden pole position at the German GP.

AirAsia Caterham Caterham-Suter rider Johann Zarco heads the second row, from veteran Simone Corsi (NGM Forward Racing Kalex) and reigning Moto3 champion Maverick Vinales (Paginas Amarillas HP 40 Kalex). Vinales, one of several promising class rookies up from Moto3, has made a blazing class debut, taking his first win at only the second round, and lying a strong third overall.

Japan’s Takaaki Nakagami (Idemitsu Honda Team Asia Kalex), back at a track where last year he led for much of the race, heads the third row; from former Moto3 champion Sandro Cortese (Dynavolt Intact GP Kalex) and former 125cc champion Thomas Luthi (Interwetten Paddock Moto2 Suter).

Reigning World 600 Supersport champion Sam Lowes (Speed Up) completes the top ten, continuing his impressive debut grand prix season.

In Moto3 Honda is up against rival manufacturers, and the new NSF250RW claimed two out of three front-row grid positions, with all six Hondas in the top 15 for another promising race. Times were typically close for the class, the first 17 within one second.

While Jack Miller (KTM) took pole, SaxoPrint-RTG Honda rider Efren Vazquez lapped within less than a tenth of a second to claim second place; while Honda’s two-race winner Alex Marquez (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Honda) was one thousandth of a second slower in third place, to complete the front row of the grid.

The next best Honda was SaxoPrint-RTG Honda’s John McPhee, who placed seventh to equal his best qualifying yet. With a lap record in his pocket at an earlier race, the Scottish teenager was a career-best seventh at the last round.

Alexis Masbou (Ongetta-Rivacold Honda), on the podium in Germany, pushed through to 11th-fastest after losing time with a spill early in the session. Second Estrella Galicia 0,0 rider Alex Rins was 12th, with Zulfahmi Khairuddin (Ongetta-AirAsia Honda) a close 15th, on row five.

Tomorrow’s race is the tenth of 18 rounds, marking the start of an intensive second half of the 2014 season, which resumes in Europe one week later at Brno, for the Czech Republic GP.

Honda MotoGP rider quotes

Marc Marquez, Repsol Honda: 2nd, 1m 31.619s
“I am happy to have taken this pole position, because it is important to start well after the summer break. The fundamental thing is that we have a good pace for tomorrow. The tyre choice tomorrow will also be important, especially with the rear. We will see what the temperature is like and, from there, decide which compound to use. I am happy with how I am feeling, and we will try to give 100 percent, as always.”

Dani Pedrosa, Repsol Honda: 8th, 1m 32.331s
“In qualifying I wasn’t able to improve my best time with my second tyre, because I couldn’t do it on the three attempts I had at a hot lap. When you don’t improve on this second run, you are always going to have people move ahead of you on the grid. The times are very close and unfortunately for us we had a bad qualifying session. In any case, I will work with the team tonight and tomorrow morning to try to find a faster pace for the race, and look for a little more rear grip.”

Stefan Bradl, LCR Honda MotoGP: 10th, 1m 32.514
“Well… strange day for us. P1 in the morning session and P10 in the qualifying which is not what we were expecting considering our pace. Unfortunately I was not able to put a good lap together with many riders, including myself, waiting too much for the right timing. I also made some small mistakes in my flying lap and finally I dropped back quickly. In the meantime we have worked a lot on our race pace, with the tendency going to the hard rear tyre which is maybe some advantage for us compared to the Open bikes. I hope we will be able to overtake some guys already at the start and then we can have a good go with the guys in the front. It’s a bit difficult to predict anything because of the mix of the riders: for example sometimes the Ducati guys are in the front and sometimes in the back.”

Scott Redding, GO&FUN Honda Gresini: 11th, 1m 32.714s
“I’ve been feeling really good since the beginning of the weekend, and today it was really nice to get to the Qualifying 2 session for the first time this year. I’m happy also because in Q2 I improved my lap time again. Today I was able to push hard all the time, so I’m looking forward to tomorrow’s race; we’re just struggling a little bit with front grip: after five or six laps, even if you can’t see tyre wear, you feel less grip and less confidence, so we will work tonight to find something to fix it. For the race we will use the medium rear tyre, because after one or two laps the softer one drops a lot; however, even with the medium compound my lap times are good and I don’t feel a big difference, so I’m confident. We will see how it goes tomorrow.”

Alvaro Bautista, GO&FUN Honda Gresini: 14th, 1m 33.294s
“Luckily I’m feeling okay now, but this morning’s crash was really scary; I had a high side and I think I have been flying for several seconds… However, like I said I’m physically fit, I’m just disappointed because the feeling with the bike is not the best. We have been struggling a lot with rear grip and this is the cause of the crash I had in FP3. In this condition I cannot ride properly, because if I try to go a little bit faster I risk to crash, as happened this morning. This is frustrating. For sure tomorrow we will face a tough race, but we will try our best, as always.”

Leon Camier, Drive M7 Aspar Honda: 16th, 1m 33.747s
“I’m really happy today because we made a big step forward and I really enjoyed myself on the bike. We made a clear plan yesterday, which was to make the bike as easy for me to ride as possible. Everything is new to me so I have to learn as much as I possibly can this weekend. You can tell that this is an experienced team because they are able to help me go faster every time I go out, and make the bike more and more comfortable for me to ride, Thanks to the hard work of the mechanics I am adapting quite quickly to the bike but I still have a lot to learn, such as the limits of the tyres and the suspension. We performed well today but the hardest part is still to come. Sometimes when you start out from scratch it is easy to make quick progress but you get to a certain point and things slow down. Anyway, I am really looking forward to tomorrow. It’s too soon to predict a result, the goal for me is to get some more laps under my belt and learn as much as I can. I am sure that in the race I’ll learn more than the rest of the weekend put together.”

Hiroshi Aoyama, Drive M7 Aspar Honda: 18th, 1m 33.948s
“I felt comfortable on the bike this morning but in the afternoon my feeling changed and I wasn’t confident for qualifying. We struggled for traction. I couldn’t get the bike to turn and that limited us. With no feeling for the bike I couldn’t ride it with conviction and we have qualified further back than we would like. We have to look at the positives, we still have a session to improve the set-up tomorrow and iron out the problems that we had today.”

Karel Abraham, Cardion AB Motoracing Honda: 21st, 1m 34.369s
“Today’s practice and qualifying was really a mess for me – and I don’t really understand why. I pushed really hard: perhaps that is the problem, I am trying too hard and it’s not coming to the point where I need it. The problem is with the front. We are working on it, tomorrow we will try something crazy in the warm-up to see if it works. Once we fix this problem, we can go fast again.”

Moto2 Rider quotes

Mika Kallio, Marc VDS Racing Team: 1st, 1m 36.883s
“Today was perfect because I didn’t expect to be challenging for the pole position on a track where I’ve never had really good results. But this year I have been much more competitive and I am happy with my preparation for tomorrow because my race pace is not too bad. We just need to see the conditions because the new surface is coming better each day and maybe tomorrow the lap times will be even faster. This can have an impact on the setting of the machine, so we need to pay attention to that. I also need to say a big thanks to the Marc VDS Racing Team for the work they did. Yesterday was very difficult and I wasn’t even in the top ten, and now I am starting from pole position. So they deserve a lot of credit and I am looking forward to a good battle with Tito.”

Tito Rabat, Marc VDS Racing Team: 2nd, 1m 37.056s
“It was not an easy qualifying session, so I am happy to be starting on the front row with Mika. I have been happy with the performance of the tyres on the new asphalt all weekend, but a bit like in Assen, the tyres didn’t work as well as we anticipated in qualifying. I am confident we can find a solution but the big crash at the end finished my session. Thankfully I am not injured and I am confident I can challenge for the win tomorrow.”

Dominique Aegerter, Technomag carXpert Suter: 3rd, 1m 37.209s
“I tried to get a good lap time and get pole position, but Kallio was too fast. He found some special extra grip … I don’t know how. But I am very constant, and my pace is quite good. We need a good start, stay at the front, fight with the fast riders … then check how the weather is, and how the tyres are lasting for 26 laps. We will see tomorrow.”

Honda Moto3 Rider quotes

Efren Vazquez, SaxoPrint-RTG Honda: 2nd, 1m 40.807
“A very good session. I concentrated to give 100 percent, and finally got good confidence with the bike, a good lap time, and a good place for tomorrow. It will be a hard race for the tyres, but I did a lot of laps with a used tyre and I have a good rhythm. You have to understand it is a long race, and keep a little bit of physical condition and tyre condition for the end.”

Alex Marquez, Estrella Galicia 0,0 Honda Team: 3rd, 1m 40.808
“I think we should be optimistic for tomorrow, because all day long we have taken small steps forward in the qualifying session and we were fighting for pole position from the outset. Finally it eluded us and we start from third. Everything is very tight, so the first few laps of the race tomorrow – and the last few ones – will be very important. On the opening laps we will try to escape in a small group, and on the final laps we will have to make sure our tyres are in good shape; the new asphalt seems to degrade the rubber a lot. We must be vigilant from the start and very focused.”

John McPhee, SaxoPrint-RTG Honda: 7th, 1m 41.283s
“Overall I’m happy. I matched my personal best in qualifying, and this is a nice feeling. All weekend the bike’s been really good: the set-up, and the engine is really strong. For the race if we can get a nice clean start and get away in the first few laps then, because of the strong engine, things will come to my benefit. It’s going to a fun race.”

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