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Breaking the unbreakable

Breaking the unbreakable

For only the fourth time this year the MotoGP™ pole position record remained unbeaten.

The 2015 season has been one of the most competitive in World Championship history. Four riders are all in with a realistic chance of a race win at almost every round and there’s a handful more riders in the mix for the remaining podium steps. Perhaps even more competitive than the races has been the Qualifying sessions with six different riders having started from pole position this year.

Both the factory Ducati bikes of Andrea Iannone and Andrea Dovizioso have access to the soft tyre, each rider claiming a pole thanks to them. The Team Suzuki Ecstar riders also have access to the soft compound and Aleix Espargaro has used it on multiple occasions to qualify well, including a stunning pole at the Catalan GP. A softer tyre will offer more grip than one of a harder compound, but will usually lose its grip faster. Luckily in Qualifying you only need to produce one fast lap.

What is even more impressive is the number of times the pole position record has been beaten this year. Indianapolis is just the fourth occasion in which the record has not been bettered; at six of the other rounds riders have flown during QP. In years past records would be broken on occasion, maybe three or four times throughout the year but in 2015 the inverse is true.

With the field so close all riders in the MotoGP™ class have to push harder than ever, this in conjunction with continual development by Bridgestone is producing some of the fastest laps we have ever seen. The track temperature at Indianapolis this year was around ten Celsius higher than in 2014, making the track record near impossible to beat. High temperatures help to improve grip, but too high a temperature and tracks will often adopt a ‘greasy’ nature, causing tyres to slide around.

Qualifying for Le Mans in 2015 saw a ground temperature of just 17ºC as opposed to the 43ºC ground temperature of 2014 when the record was set. Much like in Indianapolis, weather played perhaps the greatest role in saving the pole position record.

The longest lasting pole record is from 2008 at the Qatar GP. Back in 2008 one lap special qualifying tyres were still being produced in the midst of the tyre war between Michelin and Bridgestone, enabling even the 800cc MotoGP™ machines to produce one lap magic. Argentina and Le Mans are the only two other tracks with pole records still standing and both belong to Marc Marquez from 2014. Both these races were earlier in the year and had Marquez on the somewhat troublesome 2015 Honda frame, potentially limiting his performance.

No doubt the trend of falling pole records will continue as the battle for the 2015 MotoGP™ World Championship continues to heat up. To be the best you have to beat the best and currently the level in MotoGP™ is being pushed to its highest ever.


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