The verdict is in: Ducati is back as a world championship contender and Marc Marquez’ lack of speed this season is no fluke. Andrea Iannone set a new pole position lap record for a motorcycle at the Mugello circuit, and will start first for tomorrow’s race. Yamaha’s resurgent Jorge Lorenzo is second, while Iannone’s teammate Andrea Dovizioso is third. Meanwhile defending champion Marc Marquez could only manage 13th, behind privateers, rookies and all of teh current championship front runners.
Ducati clearly has developed the GP15 into a machine that is not only fast but flexible, with nearly all riders on the Italian bikes performing well. Michele Pirro, a wild card entry, managed to place 6th fastest, and will start on the second row ahead of seasoned veterans from Yamaha Tech 3 and of course, Marquez.
The defending world champion struggled all through free practice and complained that his Repsol Honda was difficult to keep under control accelerating out of corners. A new, longer swingarm and other set up changes seemed to have harmed him more than helped, although his teammate Dani Pedrosa, still recovering from arm pump surgery, did manage to qualify 7th. Valentino Rossi, who has not been a strong qualifier in many years, was just behind and will join him on the third row.
Another surprise performance came from both Suzuki ECSTAR team riders, with Aleix Espargaro in 5th just behind Cal Crutchlow, and Maverick Viñales 9th fastest. Considering this is Suzuki’s debut season after many years out of the competition, the all new GSX-RR is proving to be reliable and very quick.
The race begins at 2pm local time.
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|1||Andrea IANNONE||Ducati Team||Ducati||349.5||1’46.489||–|
|2||Jorge LORENZO||Movistar Yamaha MotoGP||Yamaha||338.8||1’46.584||0.095|
|3||Andrea DOVIZIOSO||Ducati Team||Ducati||346.3||1’46.610||0.121|
|4||Cal CRUTCHLOW||CWM LCR Honda||Honda||345.8||1’46.657||0.168|
|5||Aleix ESPARGARO||Team SUZUKI ECSTAR||Suzuki||332.6||1’46.854||0.365|
|6||Michele PIRRO||Ducati Team||Ducati||349.1||1’46.870||0.381|
|7||Dani PEDROSA||Repsol Honda Team||Honda||343.6||1’46.875||0.386|
|8||Valentino ROSSI||Movistar Yamaha MotoGP||Yamaha||343.7||1’46.923||0.434|
|9||Maverick VIÑALES||Team SUZUKI ECSTAR||Suzuki||335.9||1’46.934||0.445|
|10||Pol ESPARGARO||Monster Yamaha Tech 3||Yamaha||341.4||1’47.050||0.561|
|11||Bradley SMITH||Monster Yamaha Tech 3||Yamaha||344.2||1’47.090||0.601|
|12||Yonny HERNANDEZ||Octo Pramac Racing||Ducati||346.8||1’47.423||0.934|