MONTEREY, Calif. – Germany’s Stefan Bradl earned his first MotoGP pole position on Saturday for the Red Bull U.S. Grand Prix at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.
The LCR Honda MotoGP rider will start alongside Repsol Honda Team’s Marc Marquez and GO&FUN Honda Gresini’s Alvaro Bautista. Jorge Lorenzo and Dani Pedrosa qualified sixth and seventh, respectively.
Courtesy of a 1:21.176 lap time, Bradl becomes the first ever German to clinch pole in the premier class of the World Championship. Not only is he the second rider to clinch a maiden pole this season, but he has also become the first ever rider to achieve the qualifying top spot at Laguna Seca aboard a satellite machine.
Marquez – whose challenge ended with a crash at Turn 6, four minutes before the chequered flag came out – was 17 thousandths of a second slower on his first weekend at the Californian circuit, having topped three or the four practice sessions, while Bautista starts on the front row for the first time since taking pole position at Silverstone last year. Row two is headed up by Yamaha Factory Racing’s Valentino Rossi, ahead of Monster Yamaha Tech 3’s Cal Crutchlow who appeared late in Q2 on his second bike, having crashed his first at Turn 3 during final practice.
Rossi’s teammate Lorenzo, still suffering from a broken and very painful left collarbone and who missed last weekend’s German Grand Prix, will set off from sixth place and the back of the second row. Repsol Honda’s Dani Pedrosa was also absent from the Sachsenring race as well as free practices one and three here; he – similarly suffering with his left collarbone – will head up Row 3, having moved into the shootout from Q1 for the first time, ahead of Ducati Team’s Andrea Dovizioso who moved ahead of Tech 3’s Bradley Smith late in Q2.
Americans Nicky Hayden and Colin Edwards will start tenth and 15th for their respective Ducati Team and NGM Mobile Forward Racing outfits, but compatriot and wildcard entrant Blake Young has withdrawn from the event after damaging his sole Attack Performance Racing APR frame in a crash on Friday.