Marc Marquez will start from pole position for the Catalan MotoGP after qualifying fastest around the revised Spanish circuit.
The Honda rider was more than half a second clear of his nearest rival around the Formula One configuration, a mid-event revision following the practice death of Luis Salom.
Such was Marquez’s pace that his fastest three efforts would have all secured pole position ahead of Jorge Lorenzo, the Yamaha rider critical of the changes to the circuit.
Both Lorenzo and team-mate Valentino Rossi criticised the changes, despite Rossi having been part of the Safety Commission hearing which approved them.
MotoGP has elected to use both parts of the revised Formula One configuration, including the tighter hairpin at Turn 10 and the chicane at Turn 12.
According to the Yamaha rider, the first of those changes was unnecessary, and has hindered his performance.
“I don’t understand why they modify another corner, where nothing happened,” quizzed Rossi.
“Turn 10 you don’t have to change. The run-off area is not a lot, but it’s like this at a minimum of 20 or 30 corners during the season.”
It was a view shared by Lorenzo, though not by pole sitter Marquez who believes changes in the name of safety should be the priority.
“Last year I went wide there, I use banking on the gravel to try to stop, because the wall was [so close] already,” he reasoned.
“If nothing happened, we don’t need to change anything, but it’s better to change before the accident. We did it for that reason - and everybody who was there agreed.”
Lorenzo ended the session second fastest ahead of Dani Pedrosa with Rossi only fifth best.
Hector Barbera was the leading Ducati in fourth and Maverick Vinales the lead Suzuki in sixth.
Jack Miller qualified 19th on the satellite Honda, 2.4 seconds adrift of Marquez on the factory machine.
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