2014 Le Mans MotoGP FP2 Results: Marquez Tops Tight Contest

Marc Marquez topped the field in Friday's second MotoGP qualifying session but only by a hair's breadth. Marquez's 1'33.452 at the Le Mans circuit left him only seven-thousandths clear of Andrea Iannone who put in a blistering lap toward the end of the afternoon session. Alvaro Bautista finished his day another two-tenths back. Bradley Smith (4th) saved his best for last and jumped several places in the order on his final lap.

Dani Pedrosa also set his fast time late in the session but was dropped into fifth after the late runs of Iannone and Smith. Stefan Bradl, still recovering from arm-pump surgery last week, managed sixth just in front of Jorge Lorenzo. Andrea Dovizioso ended the session six-tenths from the leader, followed closely by Aleix Espargaro. An improved final lap allowed Valentino Rossi to climb into 10th from 11th.

The FP2 session, in warming tempertures, took on a frenzy and pace typically associated with FP3. The reason? The third free practice -- the session that typically sets the field for the first and second qualifying practices --  is likely to happen in colder tempertures predicted for Saturday morning. So riders' fastest times from FP2 might be faster than those in FP3.  In other words, the top ten riders from FP2 might end up as the riders on the grid for Saturday's second qualifying practice which will determine the front of the grid.


Pos. No. Rider Bike Time Diff. / Prev.
1 93 Marc MARQUEZ Honda 1'33.452  
2 29 Andrea IANNONE Ducati 1'33.459 0.007 / 0.007
3 19 Alvaro BAUTISTA Honda 1'33.668 0.216 / 0.209
4 38 Bradley SMITH Yamaha 1'33.920 0.468 / 0.252
5 26 Dani PEDROSA Honda 1'33.942 0.490 / 0.022
6 6 Stefan BRADL Honda 1'34.040 0.588 / 0.098
7 99 Jorge LORENZO Yamaha 1'34.054 0.602 / 0.014
8 4 Andrea DOVIZIOSO Ducati 1'34.117 0.665 / 0.063
9 41 Aleix ESPARGARO Forward Yamaha 1'34.134 0.682 / 0.017
10 46 Valentino ROSSI Yamaha 1'34.498 1.046 / 0.364
11 44 Pol ESPARGARO Yamaha 1'34.506 1.054 / 0.008
12 68 Yonny HERNANDEZ Ducati 1'34.877 1.425 / 0.371
13 35 Cal CRUTCHLOW Ducati 1'34.907 1.455 / 0.030
14 69 Nicky HAYDEN Honda 1'34.961 1.509 / 0.054
15 5 Colin EDWARDS Forward Yamaha 1'35.089 1.637 / 0.128
16 7 Hiroshi AOYAMA Honda 1'35.229 1.777 / 0.140
17 45 Scott REDDING Honda 1'35.424 1.972 / 0.195
18 17 Karel ABRAHAM Honda 1'35.818 2.366 / 0.394
19 8 Hector BARBERA Avintia 1'36.418 2.966 / 0.600
20 63 Mike DI MEGLIO Avintia 1'36.612 3.160 / 0.194
21 70 Michael LAVERTY PBM 1'36.742 3.290 / 0.130
22 23 Broc PARKES PBM 1'37.136 3.684 / 0.394


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These times are not all that impressive. I was digging back into the archives and the 2004 times...10 years ago, the pole position was by Sete on the 990 Honda and he did a 1:33.425. Hayden did a 133.966.

Why didn't Honda just resurrect the OLD 990 for the customer group? Hayden would have the potential to be right up there in the top 6. I know that tires have changed and rules, but heck Marquez isn't any faster than what the old guys were doing back in the day.

1. You're comparing Friday practice to qualifying. Wait for tomorrow.

2. They had qualifying tires back then.

3. They didn't have 20 litre fuel limit back then. Especially relevant on a stop and go track with hard acceleration and therefore high fuel usage.

I believe there have also been a few minor alterations to the circuit. They've added hard runoff at a couple of turns, but also squared them off a lot more. 

I was wondering if the V5 was legal. Wasn't sure.The fuel is not an issue with an open bike. Tires are definitely a big difference, but then I'm sure given the extra testing, they could get the base they need. All Hypothetical of course, but I don't see a 10 year old bike as being that far off, especially since it didn't have advanced electronics as we are seeing now.

Instead of taking a look at just one circuit, do a comparison between all the tracks existing both back then and now. You will notice that pole position times and fastest lap times have fallen by 2-3 seconds on an average between the 2004 and the 2013 season.

That's true.

Of course, teams do race simulations during FP, and I'm willing to bet, without looking at past data, don't push as hard doing fast laps in FP as they do in QP.

At the end of the day, you can't compare FP to QP.

Now... what was LAST year's QP times compared to 990 ? Without bothering to look at the weather on the days:

Gib '04 : 133.425
Ros '05 : 133.226
Ped '06 : 133.990 (fitting)
MM '13 : 133.187

Question is... how much time does a qualifying tire get you?

Also noteworthy... they had 1 hour (or was it 45 minutes) for QP then... 15 minutes now.

Fuel limits only matter during the race. If anything, a factory option bike should be in full fuel slurping mode during Q. While going for race setup, they would wisely lean it out so the rider knows what to expect. Fp1, fp2 & fp3? I expect a lot of pollution.

As I understand it, they spend a lot of time during FP with the bikes running in race mode, when working on race set up. If they need to set a time to get straight through to Q2, they may turn up the wick. But it is only in qualifying that the bikes run in full fuel-guzzling mode.

So, half a second to pedrosa and Lorenzo, a second ahead of Rossi. All those in between don't really mean much, do they, as they're unlikely to be up at the front on Sunday. Looks like it could be another non-race.

If you mean don't read too much into this, you're probably right. On race day I suspect there will be distance between the top 4 and the rest, unless any of them goes titsup.

We're only going to get a race to the finish for 1st (there will be races further down of course) if anyone can match MM, not looking likely right now, but you never know......

yes, as I read the timesheets the excellent performance of the second-pack chaps is good for headlines on a friday but the gap from marquez to the aliens is the one that matters. However a lot can change on saturdays, sometimes even sundays too!

I was hoping that Cal Crutchlow could notch a win before switching to Ducati because I didn't figure he'd have much of a chance afterwards. Looking at his position next to Hayden in practice (albeit with Cal riding with an injured hand) I wonder how the person to replace Hayden with Crutchlow now feels? Did they think he was going to better Hayden's efforts or results? Did they think he was going to be as polite to Ducati in the press when things didn't go according to plan?

As both a Crutchlow and Hayden fan, it saddens me to see both so far down the order given their talent level. They both deserve better.

If the torpedo doesn't take out a few on the first lap, and if none of the Ducati's bin it early on, we could be in for a great race, albeit for the second and third steps on the podium. :)