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The 1’46 club

The 1’46 club

Both Marc Marquez and Jorge Lorenzo set Aragon alight during Qualifying, but who has the edge over race distance?

“A 46 is unbelievable at this track and this is because the bikes are every year faster and faster and the level of the rider is so high now. It’s so hard to beat Marquez in a single lap, he’s very explosive and today’s the same,” said Jorge Lorenzo after Q2 at the Gran Premio Movistar de Aragon. On multiple occasions throughout his career Marquez has made a habit of pulling fans to the edge of their seats with dramatic do-or-die laps in Qualifying, Aragon no exception. Marquez plunged into the 1’46s with Jorge Lorenzo not far behind on his Movistar Yamaha.

Ultra smooth and consistent Lorenzo may be less explosive than Marquez over a single lap, but often Lorenzo will have the edge on race pace. FP4 is used as a benchmark for race pace, the session doesn’t count towards Q2 and it’s usually held at a similar time to Sunday’s MotoGP™ World Championship race. With riders not pushing for a single flying lap and conditions relatively similar to what race day should hold, it offers great insight as to what to expect when explosive Marquez and flowing Lorenzo clash on Sunday.

Lorenzo ended FP4 in second with a best time of 1’48.074s, his first flying lap of the session. This was followed by five laps in the mid to low 1’48s before a return to the pits. His second and final run of the session produced another four mid to low 1’48s. The Aragon GP is scheduled to take place over 23 laps, running at least nine of those laps in the mid 1’48s, especially after one his famous starts, should give Lorenzo a handy edge.

In the same session Marquez was able to produce four laps in the low 1’48s with two in the mid range. His pace doesn’t appear quite as consistent or as long lasting as Lorenzo’s, but his fast laps were quicker than Lorenzo’s times from the session. On just his first flying lap of Qualifying Marquez broke the pole record, suggesting that he was holding at least a little something in reserve in previous sessions.

If Lorenzo can make one of his trademark flying starts then, on paper, it’s advantage Lorenzo over Marquez. But, as in the last two rounds, weather can be as big a factor as the riders themselves. In FP4 Valentino Rossi was sixth, a fastest time of 1’48.673 and his pace sporadic at best and around 0.2s off of Lorenzo and Marquez on average. However, the cooler morning conditions seemed to suit the Italian much better.

FP3 had Rossi finish in third, Lorenzo fourth. The pace of all three was much closer in the morning session, each setting multiple laps in the mid to high 1’48s before dipping to a 1’47 for their final flying lap. If conditions are cooler for Sunday’s race, the fighting at the front looks set to be much closer and more heated.

There’s also Dani Pedrosa to consider, 2015 has been yet another year ruined by injury for the Repsol Honda rider, but he seems to have found his form again in Aragon. Three times Pedrosa has stood on the Aragon podium, including a win in 2012 and his history in the premier class proves he’s always a threat for the podium, if not the victory.

Record breaking 1’46 laps are impressive, but pole doesn’t matter if you’re only fast for a single lap.

MotoGP, 2015, GRAN PREMIO MOVISTAR DE ARAGÓN, Q2, Andrea Iannone, Dani Pedrosa, Valentino Rossi, Marc Marquez, Jorge Lorenzo, Pol Espargaro, Ducati Team, Movistar Yamaha MotoGP, Monster Yamaha Tech 3, Repsol Honda Team

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