Marc Marquez continues Moto2 pole run despite Le Mans crash
Marc Marquez claimed his third consecutive Moto2 pole position despite falling as rain effectively brought qualifying at Le Mans to an early conclusion
The Spaniard, yet to start lower than second in 2012, rose to the top almost immediately after the session began, and soon dropped down to a 1m37.710s.
Fifteen minutes into the session he lost the front at Turn 8, sliding into the gravel, but was able to rejoin with help from marshals and returned to the pits for repairs.
With Marquez in the pits the session seemed to be building to a final shoot-out, especially when Paddock Suter's Thomas Luthi - the only other rider to have been on pole this year - got to within 0.029 seconds of Marquez.
Any prospect of a final flurry was spoiled however as rain fell with five minutes of the session remaining, effectively freezing the order and handing Marquez his third pole in the opening four races.
"It was so difficult - we knew at the end of practice it might start raining so we tried to push in the beginning," Marquez said. "When I crashed I braked too late, tried to go in anyway but it was too hard. I have a good feeling after going out again, and lapping well, so I think I can do a good race."
Luthi ended second, ahead of Marquez's nearest championship challenger Pol Espargaro (Pons Kalex) and Scott Redding (Marc VDS Kalex), the latter of whom also fell in the final minute.
Redding's stable-mate Mika Kallio was another to have a moment as conditions around the French circuit remained tricky, but he did enough to end sixth fastest behind Andrea Iannone (Speed Master).
Forward Suter's Alex de Angelis claimed seventh ahead of Johann Zarco (JIR Motobi) and Claudio Corti (Italtrans Kalex), with the latter pair finishing just over one second down on Marquez's best.
Toni Elias (Aspar Suter), a Moto2 racewinner at Le Mans in 2010, rounded out the top 10.
Pos Rider Team/Bike Time Gap 1. Marc Marquez Monlau Suter 1m37.710s 2. Thomas Luthi Paddock Suter 1m37.739s + 0.029s 3. Pol Espargaro Pons Kalex 1m38.190s + 0.480s 4. Scott Redding Marc VDS Kalex 1m38.369s + 0.659s 5. Mika Kallio Marc VDS Kalex 1m38.399s + 0.689s 6. Andrea Iannone Speed Master Speed Up 1m38.574s + 0.864s 7. Alex de Angelis Forward Suter 1m38.662s + 0.952s 8. Johann Zarco JIR Motobi 1m38.752s + 1.042s 9. Claudio Corti Italtrans Kalex 1m38.795s + 1.085s 10. Toni Elias Aspar Suter 1m38.826s + 1.116s 11. Julian Simon Avintia FTR 1m38.827s + 1.117s 12. Dominique Aegerter Technomag-CIP Suter 1m38.863s + 1.153s 13. Randy Krummenacher Switzerland Kalex 1m38.880s + 1.170s 14. Simone Corsi Ioda FTR 1m38.961s + 1.251s 15. Ricard Cardus Arguinano AJR 1m39.061s + 1.351s 16. Axel Pons Pons Kalex 1m39.105s + 1.395s 17. Nicolas Terol Aspar Suter 1m39.229s + 1.519s 18. Esteve Rabat Pons Kalex 1m39.258s + 1.548s 19. Bradley Smith Tech 3 1m39.301s + 1.591s 20. Yuki Takahashi Forward Suter 1m39.315s + 1.605s 21. Xavier Simeon Tech 3 1m39.353s + 1.643s 22. Roberto Rolfo Technomag-CIP Suter 1m39.414s + 1.704s 23. Mike di Meglio Speed Master Speed Up 1m39.520s + 1.810s 24. Gino Rea Gresini Moriwaki 1m39.796s + 2.086s 25. Takaaki Nakagami Italtrans Kalex 1m39.797s + 2.087s 26. Alexander Lundh MZ FTR 1m39.924s + 2.214s 27. Max Neukirchner Kiefer Kalex 1m40.120s + 2.410s 28. Anthony West QMMF Moriwaki 1m40.573s + 2.863s 29. Ratthapark Wilairot Gresini Moriwaki 1m40.784s + 3.074s 30. Angel Rodriguez SAG FTR 1m41.443s + 3.733s 31. Elena Rosell QMMF Moriwaki 1m41.634s + 3.924s 32. Marco Colandrea SAG FTR 1m42.182s + 4.472s
Marquez denies Espargaro in thrilling last-lap Estoril duel
Thomas Luthi takes wet Le Mans Moto2 win as pursuer Johann Zarco crashes