Repsol Honda’s Dani Pedrosa picked up his first pole position of the year on Saturday at the Gran Premio Monster Energy de Catalunya. This is significant not only because Pedrosa’s last pole position also occurred at last year’s MotoGP at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, but also because his performance put an end to teammate Marc Marquez’s perfect streak of pole positions this year.
"I am very happy to have taken pole position today, in front of my family and the home fans,” said Spaniard Pedrosa. “I am also delighted that, for the first time this year, I felt good on the bike in qualifying. I'll try and get a good start from pole position tomorrow, I am sure that it will be very hot and we will have to manage the tires well during the race, but we will try to doas well as possible!"
In the weekend’s first free practice session, Pedrosa set a somewhat conservative pace but improved upon it throughout the remaining three sessions. By the end of qualifying, Pedrosa had posted a 1:40.985 lap time that was just .092 of a second off the pole record he set at the Catalunya MotoGP a year ago. This is Pedrosa’s 27th career pole position.
Meanwhile, Repsol Honda teammate and fellow countryman Marquez had been enjoying a solid weekend, posting fast laps in the practice sessions and early qualifying. But with just one minute remaining in the days’ final qualifying session, Marquez made a mistake and crashed, thus ending his run of six out of six pole positions this season. Marquez will start from the third spot on the grid in Sunday’s race, thanks to a fastest lap time of 1:41.135
"Today I made the first mistake of the season,” said Marquez. “So I need to apologize to the team because it was my fault. The strategy we had set out was coming together perfectly, but when riding with the last tire I braked too late. I knew it was my last attempt, so I tried to go into the corner anyway.
“That was not the best choice,” continued Marquez. “I should have written off the lap, but these things happen when you are riding at home; you always try to give a little bit extra. We know for tomorrow that there is no more room for improvement on that corner and that we have a good setup with which to fight for the win."
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