MotoGP 2021
Round 12

Espargaro Scores Superb First MotoGP Pole With Honda

gb Silverstone Circuit

Pol Espargaro (Repsol Honda Team Honda RC213V) rode a stunningly fast qualifying session aboard his RC213V at Silverstone today to achieve his first pole position with Honda.

Espargaro Scores Superb First MotoGP Pole With Honda

Meanwhile team-mate Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team Honda RC213V) was less than two tenths of a second off pole and only 0.161 seconds away from a front-row, putting Honda's six-times MotoGP World Champion in the middle of the second row for tomorrow's British Grand Prix.

First and fifth fastest is the Repsol Honda Team's best joint qualifying performance of 2021, although this isn't the first time that Espargaro has scored a Silverstone pole position with Honda power. In 2012 he started the Honda CBR600-powered Moto2 race from pole, going on to win the race.

Espargaro hasn't had the easiest of starts to his first season with Honda and came here from two difficult races in Austria, but this afternoon's performance suggests something of the breakthrough for the hugely determined 30-year-old Spaniard, who excels around this super-challenging, high-speed circuit.

Today's weather conditions were cool and cloudy, which Espargaro admitted were an advantage. He is able to find better grip from a cooler track, with allows him to enter and exit corners faster, using the extra grip to use the rear brake deep into corners and apply throttle at high lean angles.

Marquez once again proved his remarkable bravery and resilience, following a very fast crash towards the end of yesterday morning's FP1 session. The 28-year-old Spaniard fell entering Turn Two at 274kmh/170mph. Although battered and bruised he suffered no serious injuries, largely thanks to the impressive protection offered by modern riding equipment. He later received treatment for a minor eye issue caused by dirt getting inside his helmet as he tumbled through the trackside grass.

Marquez, who finished a close second here in 2019, the last British GP, made a hugely impressive recovery today, completing FP3 tenth fastest and then improving to fourth in FP4. In qualifying he battled for a front-row start, missing out by a fraction of a second.

The 2013, 2014, 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019 MotoGP king will continue to receive physiotherapy in the lead up to the race, to make sure he's in the best possible shape for 20 laps of one of MotoGP's most demanding layouts.

Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda IDEMITSU Honda RC213V) will start the race from the fifth row of the grid after struggling to find the speed he needs around this complex circuit.

The 29-year-old from Chiba's target had been to better his 12th fastest performance from the opening three practice sessions. However, it wasn't to be, partly through no fault of his own because perhaps his best lap was ruined when another rider fell ahead of him, bringing out the yellow warning flags, which forced him to slow down and lose that lap.

Team-mate Alex Marquez (LCR Honda CASTROL Honda RC213V) had two tumbles yesterday in the cool conditions that have caught out several riders – including his older brother – with cold tyres. Those crashes dented the confidence of the 25-year-old Spaniard, who came here on a high following two strong results at Austria's Red Bull Ring.

In this afternoon's qualifying sessions the younger Marquez secured a sixth-row start, with his best lap just a fraction of a second slower than Nakagami's. This is his first visit to Silverstone aboard a MotoGP bike, so he has had plenty to learn and will continue learning during tomorrow's race.

Tomorrow's MotoGP race will start one hour earlier than the usual local time: 13:00 instead of 14:00, to give the race its usual starting time in Europe and elsewhere. After the race is over the paddock will pack up and return to mainland Europe for the Aragon and San Marino GPs on 12th and 19th September.

Pol Espargaro
Pol Espargaro 44
Repsol Honda Team
Incredible. Just incredible. I almost can't believe it. We arrived here in Silverstone after two really difficult weekends in Austria and this gave me a lot of motivation, a lot of fire to push this weekend. I have been feeling so good this weekend with the bike, the track, the grip and I am so pleased we were able to make the most of it today. I want to say a huge thank you to the Repsol Honda Team, to Alberto Puig, to Takeo [Yokoyama], to [Tetsuhiro] Kuwata-san. All of them have helped me so much and continued to work 100% behind me no matter what. We have kept working all this time and we will keep working, but I just want to enjoy this moment for now.

Marc Márquez
Marc Márquez 93
Repsol Honda Team
My eye today is much better; it was not a big problem, but it was disturbing me a lot yesterday. My body still had some pain today after the 270km/h crash. I think our qualifying was strong today since normally I feel some limitations there and we have achieved our goal of the second row. Let's see what's possible tomorrow in the race because the bike has been working well here since FP1. If we can continue in this direction we can have a good race and it's important to keep closing the distance to the top guys. Also congratulations to Pol and to Honda for the pole position.

Takaaki Nakagami
Takaaki Nakagami 30
So, it was a tough session again in qualifying, I gave it my best but I did not have enough speed and the lap time was not enough. I ended up in Q1 and then in P5, so that means P15 on the grid for tomorrow's race. We will try our best, we will try to make a good start and then 20 laps around here means we will have a lot of chance to make up places. So, I'll do my best and then let's see what happens in the race.

Alex Márquez
Alex Márquez 73
As we know, Silverstone is a difficult track to learn with a MotoGP bike. Today we made some changes to the set-up which were good and we made a lot of improvement in FP4 and FP3 also. We still have many things to improve, especially in the set-up area as I'm not comfortable, but that's how it is and we knew there would be weekends like this when I have to learn the track. Unfortunately, in the qualy (Q1) it was not my best performance. I made a mistake that lost us two or three tenths. But tomorrow we'll try to make a good start. We have Taka close to us as well, so we'll do our best and make the best result possible.

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