Red Bull Grand Prix of The Americas, qualifying roundup: MotoGP, Moto, Moto3
Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) has taken a scorching pole position for the Red Bull Grand Prix of the Americas, putting in another signature stunner at COTA as he pulled out an ace on his final lap to take it back from key rival Maverick Viñales (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP). Viñales’ teammate Valentino Rossi was another on a late charge, shooting up into third to complete an incredible front row.
Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda Team) heads up the second row at a venue that has seen him on the podium twice, with Johann Zarco (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) once again top rookie in another impressive performance to line up P5.
Jorge Lorenzo (Ducati Team) progressed from Q1 in Austin for the first time since moving to the Borgo Panigale factory, and the five-time World Champion had an impressive Q2 session – lining up in P6 on the second row, just out-qualifying teammate Andrea Dovizioso.
Jonas Folger (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) looks to keep his points lead in the fight for Rookie of the Year from P8, with Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda) just behind in ninth after a crash. Compatriot Scott Redding (Octo Pramac Racing) completes the top ten.
There were also crashes for Jack Miller (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS) and Andrea Iannone (Team Suzuki Ecstar) in the session, with the two men set to line up in P11 and P12 respectively.
From Q1 laptimes, the top fifteen is completed by Danilo Petrucci (Octo Pramac Racing) and Reale Avintia Racing duo Loris Baz and Hector Barbera.
Viñales vs Marquez vs Viñales vs Marquez…qualifying at COTA should whet appetites well for Sunday’s 14:00 (GMT -5) race, with the two men seemingly set for a showdown.
Franco Morbidelli (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS) took an impressive pole position at the Circuit of the Americas, as he looks to win his third race in a row and grow his points lead at the front. Mattia Pasini (Italtrans Racing Team) took a mighty P2 behind the Italian, with Alex Marquez (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) completing the front row – seeming a big threat on race pace despite a low drama lowside.
Takaaki Nakagami (Idemitsu Honda Team Asia) heads up Row 2 from fellow Championship hopeful Tom Lüthi (CarXpert Interwetten), with second Swiss rider Dominique Aegerter impressing for Kiefer Racing to line up in P6.
Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM Ajo) starts from seventh, ahead of Xavier Simeon (Tasca Racing Scuderia Moto2) and Dynavolt Intact GP’s Sandro Cortese.
KTM Moto2™ test rider Ricky Cardus (Red Bull KTM Ajo) had a stunning session as he rides in place of injured Brad Binder, completing the top ten.
Marcel Schrötter (Dynavolt Intact GP), Xavi Vierge (Tech 3 Racing), top rookie Jorge Navarro (Federal Oil Gresini Moto2), Lorenzo Baldassarri (Forward Racing Team) and second rookie Francesco Bagnaia (Sky Racing Team VR46) locked out eleventh to fifteenth.
Moto2™ go racing at 12:20 local time (GMT -5) on Sunday, with Morbidelli looking for three in a row and Marquez aiming high to make amends for Argentina.
Friday at COTA was impressive for sophomore Aron Canet (Estrella Galicia 0,0) as he seemed in a league of his own – and the Spaniard stunned the field again on Saturday as he smashed the lap record in qualifying by seven tenths, taking his second career pole by almost a second.
Championship leader Joan Mir (Leopard Racing) left it late but made it count, shooting up into second in the last few minutes of the session and ready to start the Red Bull Grand Prix of the Americas from the middle of the front row – with last year’s winner at COTA Romano Fenati (Marinelli Rivacold Snipers) another big hitter in P3.
Sky Racing Team VR46 rider Nicolo Bulega heads the second row as he aims to score some big points in the US of A after leaving Argentina empty handed, with Del Conca Gresini Moto3 duo Jorge Martin and Fabio Di Giannantonio in fifth and sixth.
Seventh is Canet’s teammate Enea Bastianini, who has shown much improved pace in Texas so far, with the 2016 Championship just ahead of countryman Niccolo Antonelli (Red Bull KTM Ajo) and British Talent Team rider John McPhee.
Bo Bendsneyder (Red Bull KTM Ajo) completes the top ten despite a crash, with Darryn Binder (Platinum Bay Real Estate) just missing out in eleventh. The top rookie on the grid is Tony Arbolino (SIC58 Squadra Corse) in twelfth after a stunning session for the Italian, with RBA BOE Racing Team duo Juanfran Guevara and Gabriel Rodrigo in tight formation behind. Philipp Oettl (Südmetall Schedl GP Racing) locks out the top fifteen.
Engines fire up at 11:00 local time (GMT -5) for the Moto3™ race, as Canet aims for his first win – and Mir for his third in a row.