Márquez claims heroic home front row in Aragon
Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS rider Álex Márquez showed his determination and courage matches his talent after he rode to a stunning top three finish in an incredibly eventful Moto2 qualifying session in Motorland Aragon this afternoon.
Just 15 days after suffering a nasty left hip injury that ruled him out of the last round in Misano, Márquez defied the pain and discomfort to fire in a stunning lap of 1’53.807, which was only 0.071s away from securing him a third successive pole position on Spanish soil this season.
Inspired by a partisan home crowd, Márquez led the session for over 30 minutes before late drama and confusion eventually saw Miguel Oliveira take pole position ahead of the 21-lap race, which is the 14th round of this year’s World Championship battle.
World Championship leader Franco Morbidelli was caught up in a bizarre set of circumstances after the end of the 45-minute session. The Italian set the fourth quickest time in the session, with a 1’53.841 just 0.034s away from denying Márquez a front row start.
Morbidelli was then promoted to the front row when Oliveira’s pole time of 1’53.736 was cancelled for exceeding the track limit at turn 15. Morbidelli though was dropped back down to fourth position again when it became clear Oliveira’s quickest lap was legal and wrongly scrubbed off.
Disappointed to miss the front row for only the second time in 2017, Morbidelli is hoping he can improve rear grip in hot conditions to be more competitive in tomorrow’s race as he goes in search of an eighth win.
Álex Márquez: 3rd – 1’53.807
“I feel really good considering my physical condition and it is always a special feeling to take a front row in front of my home fans. I only did a few laps in FP2 yesterday and that strategy was perfect because it saved some strength for today. I knew it was going to be tough in qualifying but the support from my fans was unbelievable and this proved to be a massive boost and motivation for me. I know the race will be tough but I will keep my maximum focus to try and block out the pain. Last year I took my first Moto2 podium here in Aragon and the last two times we raced in Spain I have won. It will be difficult to make it three in a row but I will be giving my all to make it happen.”
Franco Morbidelli: 4th – 1’54.841
“I felt like qualifying went pretty well, even though I have to admit that we struggled a little bit for grip in the hotter conditions. It was tough to make a faster lap time because it seems this weekend that we don’t have the grip that we expected. We must understand how we can improve in that area but the times are very close and to be fourth is not a bad job at all. I would have liked to have been on the front row of the grid and it was a bit of a strange situation at the end with what happened with Oliveira, but I’m still confident that I have the pace to be able to fight for the podium tomorrow.”
Michael Bartholemy: Team Principal
“I must say huge congratulations to Álex to be on the front row of the grid. We know how bad his hip injury was and we also know how hard he has worked non-stop over the last two weeks to make sure he can ride here and be competitive. I think he got a great reward for his determination today and I really hope now he can be on the podium to finish the job off. He loves racing at this track and he loves racing in Spain, so I would say that would give him a good adrenaline boost for tomorrow. The situation with Franco was quite confusing and it’s a shame he isn’t starting on the front row. But he has demonstrated today that he has very good pace for the race and that is what really counts. The most important thing for Franco tomorrow is to finish to make sure we head to the crucial flyaway triple header leading the World Championship.”