Like the proverbial bad penny, Marc Marquez popped up once again in qualifying for this weekend’s Italian MotoGP race in Mugello, Tuscany to take his seventh consecutive pole position and his sixth of the 2014 season.
Marquez had been outclassed by team-mate Dani Pedrosa during FP3 and FP4, but hit back with a stunning opening lap in Q2 that left his rivals scrambling to recover. In the end Pedrosa could not even make the front row, ending up 4th behind Jorge Lorenzo and the impressive Andrea Iannone, who planted his Pramac Ducati 2nd behind Marquez after picking up a slipstream from Valentino Rossi.
Rossi was a disappointing 10th, only 0.5 off Marquez but the field was so tightly bunched it proved enough to give his hopes of a podium on Sunday a severe beating.
Pol Espargaro did enough on his first lap to secure 5th place, but it was a ‘what might have been’ for the Spaniard after he crashed on his outlap before his second run and was left sprawled in the gravel. Cal Crutchlow out-qualified Ducati team-mate Andrea Dovizioso for the first time this year, starting 6th with Yamaha Tech 3 man Bradley Smith separating them both in the starting order.
Stefan Bradl was 9th, with Alvaro Bautista and Aleix Espargaro advancing from Q1 to round out the top twelve in 11th and 12th positions.
Q1 saw Scott Redding impress as he set 4th fastest time, while Yonny Hernandez came close to breaking into the Q2 slots only to be denied by Bautista and Espargaro late on.