NICKY HAYDEN BATTLES THROUGH PAIN TO TAKE THIRTEENTH PLACE ON THE GRID
DRIVE M7 Aspar rider narrowly misses out on Q2 as team-mate Hiroshi Aoyama qualifies seventeenth
Jorge Lorenzo set the pace in this morning's MotoGP free practice but the double World Champion had no answer for the reigning title holder Marc Márquez this afternoon, as the Catalan pulled seven tenths from his sleeve to smash the previous pole record at Le Mans with a stunning lap of 1'32.042. Whilst Marquez looks like he could well pull another escape job at the front there is a wide open battle for the podium behind him with no fewer than eight riders separated by just three tenths of a second. Joining Márquez on the front row are Pol Espargaró and Andrea Dovizioso, representing all three 'official' factories in MotoGP (Honda, Yamaha and Ducati).
DRIVE M7 Aspar rider Nicky Hayden showed great courage today, as he has all weekend, to fight through the pain of his injured right wrist to clock his best lap in Q1, a 1'33.859 almost seeing him through to Q2 but falling short by just 0.036 seconds. As such the American heads up the fifth row tomorrow in thirteenth place and he is determined to battle through the pain again in what promises to be a long and difficult race. His team-mate Hiroshi Aoyama starts from four places further back, the Japanese happy to have improved his set-up and pace during today's two track sessions.
13th Nicky Hayden 1.33.859: “To be honest my wrist is still very painful but I tried to give my best in qualifying. I want to thank all the staff at the Clinica Mobile for the work they are doing to limit the pain. We have improved the set-up of the bike today but unfortunately not as much as we had hoped to. We lost some valuable time working on one of the bikes trying to fix something that we still need to get to the bottom of. Anyway, the lap time in qualifying was good. I made a little mistake in the chicane that possibly cost me a place in Q2, which is a shame because the extra track time would have been useful to test one more tyre option for the race. It will be a tough race tomorrow but we are ready to fight for the best possible result.”
17th Hiroshi Aoyama 1.34.457: “We improved the handling of the bike in the slow corners today. We worked hard and the outcome was very productive, which we can see in the lap times. In qualifying when we put the soft tyre in to push for a fast time I made a little mistake in the chicane on what was my best lap. It is a shame but we have to be satisfied that our performance has improved and we are quite well prepared for the race. I think we have a consistent rhythm, even on the hard tyre and I hope we can have a good race tomorrow.”