Bradl denies Marquez Laguna pole

Bradl denies Marquez Laguna pole


Bradl denies Marquez Laguna pole


Stefan Bradl claimed a surprising MotoGP pole at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca after Marc Marquez blew his chances with a crash.

Marquez had looked set to dominate qualifying, having been quickest in practice sessions two, three and four, and with main rivals Jorge Lorenzo and Dani Pedrosa nursing injuries.

Championship leader Marquez duly commenced Q2 with two laps half a second clear of the pack. But while trying to improve further, he slid into a low-side crash at Turn 6.

Until the final minute, it appeared that Marquez’s 1m21.193s might still hold for pole. That was until Bradl launched his LCR Honda to the top with a lap 0.017 second faster than the man he beat to the 2011 Moto2 title, giving the German his first MotoGP pole.

It was an all-Honda front row, with Alvaro Bautista’s thrid place for Gresini almost as big a surprise as Bradl’s pole given the Spaniard’s recent difficulties. Valentino Rossi was the fastest Yamaha in fourth.

Cal Crutchlow had a troubled session, crashing in practice four just before qualifying then losing half of Q2 to a sensor problem on his Tech 3 Yamaha. The Briton salvaged fifth with one of the few flying laps he managed.

Lorenzo challenged for a front row spot despite his injuries, but ultimately had to settle for sixth. That was just one place ahead of Pedrosa, who made short work of getting through Q1 to the pole shootout having sat out practices one and three to avoid straining his damaged shoulder.

Andrea Dovizioso was top Ducati in eighth, followed by Bradley Smith, Nicky Hayden and CRT pacesetter Aleix Espargaro. The latter’s Aspar teammate Randy de Puniet reached Q2 but crashed at Turn 3 before he could set a time.

Pramac’s stand-in rider Alex de Angelis will start 14th for his MotoGP comeback.

Only 23 bikes will contest the race as American wild card Blake Young and his Attack team had to withdraw following Young’s destructive crash on Friday afternoon.

Pos  Rider             Team/Bike             Time       Gap 1.  Stefan Bradl      LCR Honda             1m21.176s 2.  Marc Marquez      Honda                 1m21.193s  +0.017s 3.  Alvaro Bautista   Gresini Honda         1m21.373s  +0.197s 4.  Valentino Rossi   Yamaha                1m21.418s  +0.242s 5.  Cal Crutchlow     Tech 3 Yamaha         1m21.420s  +0.244s 6.  Jorge Lorenzo     Yamaha                1m21.453s  +0.277s 7.  Dani Pedrosa      Honda                 1m21.728s  +0.552s 8.  Andrea Dovizioso  Ducati                1m22.026s  +0.850s 9.  Bradley Smith     Tech 3 Yamaha         1m22.075s  +0.899s10.  Nicky Hayden      Ducati                1m22.090s  +0.914s11.  Aleix Espargaro   Aspar Aprilia         1m22.099s  +0.923s12.  Randy de Puniet   Aspar Aprilia13.  Hector Barbera    Avintia FTR-Kawasaki  1m22.808s  Q114.  Alex de Angelis   Pramac Ducati         1m23.253s  Q115.  Colin Edwards     Forward FTR-Kawasaki  1m23.272s  Q116.  Danilo Petrucci   Ioda-Suter-BMW        1m23.323s  Q117.  Claudio Corti     Forward FTR-Kawasaki  1m23.616s  Q118.  Yonny Hernandez   PBM Aprilia           1m23.875s  Q119.  Karel Abraham     Cardion Aprilia       1m23.919s  Q120.  Michael Laverty   PBM-Aprilia           1m23.987s  Q121.  Hiroshi Aoyama    Avintia FTR-Kawasaki  1m24.235s  Q122.  Bryan Staring     Gresini FTR-Honda     1m24.756s  Q123.  Lukas Pesek       Ioda-Suter-BMW        1m24.809s  Q1