Repsol Honda Team rider Pol Espargaró was less than half a second away from making it into Q2 in the first qualifying session at the Circuito de Jerez-Ángel Nieto.
Espargaró, who was unhurt in a small crash during FP4 at the fast Turn 7, set a best time of 1:37.407, which puts him thirteenth on the grid.
Marc Márquez qualified just behind his teammate, also just over half a second off the time required to make the cut for Q2. The Repsol Honda Team rider also fell at Turn 7, going down in FP3 and being taken to Jerez Hospital for a check-up.
Once declared fit to take part in the rest of the day, Márquez went into Q1. He was unable to qualify for Q2 and set a fastest lap of 1:37.489. He will be fourteenth at the start of the Spanish GP.
The premier class race takes place at 2pm CEST on Sunday.
“It was a very fast and hard fall at Turn 7, we knew that the first crash of the season would come but I chose maybe one of the worst corners to have this first crash. When you push for a fast lap, you don’t think about the risks and after being conservative yesterday, today was about attacking. The impact against the air fence was at a very high speed and thanks to the air fence I am here. I went to the hospital just for some further checks to be sure of my condition and it was all clear. This crash impacted my Qualifying, it made me choose the soft front to feel a bit safer, but this was the wrong choice because the limit throughout qualifying was the front. It’s a shame because I was feeling strong and today was the first day I had really started to feel the bike.”
“After the fall at Turn 7 I am fortunately fine. It was a fast crash, and it didn’t leave us in the best situation for Qualifying. In FP4 we made some changes, and everything was going very well, I was feeling confident, and the bike was working well. I got a little over excited and crashed but I was only 0.050s off a spot in Q2. If you look at our ideal time, we are second in the session but that’s how it is. We keep working for the race and I am feeling strong for tomorrow, much better than what I was expecting the last few days.”