Rain dampens Repsol Honda Team’s qualifying hopes

A trying day on the Italian coast for Pol Espargaro and Stefan Bradl as changeable conditions robbed both riders of a final flying lap in Q1.

Promising conditions and promising pace buoyed the Repsol Honda Team as Saturday’s action at the San Marino Grand Prix began. Pol Espargaro was looking especially strong in the morning session as he found another 0.3s to end FP3 in ninth. A crash at Turn 15 late in that same session meant the #44 was unable to crack the combined top ten and once again had to participate in Q1. Rain would ruin Espargaro’s chances of improving on his second run and he will therefore start in 19th.

Like his Repsol Honda Team teammate, Stefan Bradl authored further improvements in Free Practice 3 as he went another half a second quicker. With a best time of 1’32.838 before the rain arrived, Bradl will start just behind Espargaro in 20th place for Sunday’s 27-lap race. Bradl’s aim is again to make up positions and return to battling for the points, with a mixed forecast ahead there are still several unknowns for when the lights go out at 14:00 Local Time.

Marc Marquez made a welcome return to the Repsol Honda Team box in Misano, listening in during debriefs and working with Bradl and Espargaro to understand where the RC213V currently is. The eight-time World Champion was declared fit by MotoGP and circuit medical staff.

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