Record breaker Márquez storms to maiden Moto2 pole
Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS rider Álex Márquez produced a breathtaking record lap of the 4.4km Jerez circuit in Spain to claim his first pole position in the Moto2 World Championship.
Confidence was sky high that the 21-year-old could clinch his first Moto2 pole position in front of a massive sun-drenched crowd when he completed his domination of practice by heading this morning’s FP3.
That confidence was well placed as Márquez made a spectacular start to the 45-minute qualifying session, with his third lap a stunning 1’42.080 putting him top of the timesheets with a pace that wasn’t to be bettered for the remainder of the session.
That breathless lap of 1’42.080 smashed the outright lap record set by Sam Lowes in last season's qualifying by close to 0.4s and secured Márquez his fourth career pole position and first since the 2014 Australian Moto3 round at Phillip Island.
Closest challenger to Márquez was his Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS colleague Franco Morbidelli. The Italian, who is chasing a fourth consecutive victory in tomorrow’s 25-lap race, was also able to lap comfortably inside the 2016 lap record but his brilliant effort of 1’42.126 was just 0.046s away from securing him a third pole position in the opening four races.
Today’s 1-2 from Márquez and Morbidelli continued their incredible qualifying record in 2017, as both have not yet started a race so far this season off the front row of the grid.
Álex Márquez: 1st – 1’42.080
“I am really happy to take my first pole position in Moto2 and to do it in front of my home crowd with a record lap makes it feel that little bit extra special. But we must keep our feet firmly on the ground because the race is tomorrow and that is the most important part. I was always confident I could get pole after being so strong in practice and I was happy to go out and deliver when it counted. I’ve been fast in all conditions this weekend and I am now really looking forward to the race. It will be tough to manage the bike and the tyres in the heat but I feel prepared and ready to fight at the front.”
Franco Morbidelli: 2nd – 1’42.126
“I am really happy with my lap time in qualifying because it was under the old pole record. But unfortunately, on this occasion it was not quite enough to take pole position. It is still important to be on the front row again and I know have a strong pace for the race that gives me another good opportunity to battle for the win. We need to be smart because it will be a long and tough battle with hotter weather predicted tomorrow, but I feel ready to put on a good show.”
Michael Bartholemy: Team Principal
“I am really happy to see Álex and Franco take a 1-2 for us on the grid today. It is the second time Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS has done that in 2017 and that is a great accomplishment in such a competitive class like Moto2. This time around it was Álex’s turn to take pole position and I think we can say he deserved it. He’s been super strong in every session and in all conditions and it is the icing on the cake for him to break the pole record by quite a big margin. Franco is also looking very strong and he has good pace for the race. We got our tactics spot on today to make the lap time very early in the session and if I am being honest it is a long time since I’ve felt so confident about our chances in the race tomorrow. It is the dream of any team to have two riders being so strong and competitive and fighting for pole position and the win in every race. Thankfully we are living that dream right now and hopefully it continues.”